Time Is Money — We Have 14 Ways to Save Both

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“Time is money.”

Benjamin Franklin wrote that in the 1700s, and it’s never been truer than today.

You better believe that time is money. As functioning adults, we’re always weighing the value of time versus money.

For instance, clipping coupons saves you money, but it takes time. A “FastPass” at Walt Disney World costs you extra money, but it saves you time waiting in lines for rides. And of course, there’s the biggest tradeoff of all: We spend so much time — so many of our waking hours — working to earn money.

So today, we’ve got a baker’s dozen of quick, smart tips for saving yourself time and money.

Save Yourself Time and Money

There are only so many hours in the day. Maximize them. You only have so much money. Optimize it.

1. Stop Deleting Your Emails

Whether you shop online or in the store, it’s easy to get all of your receipts dumped into your email. (We suggest maintaining a separate email address that exists just for this purpose.)

It turns out that the receipts in your emails could be a source of cash. But who has time to troll through their inbox looking for receipts? No thanks!

Our secret weapon here is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

2. Have a Bot Negotiate Your Cable Bill

Here’s another time- and money-saver. The price of internet — and cable, if you’re still into that kind of thing — certainly isn’t decreasing. If anything, prices are steadily climbing.

And if you’ve had to chat with a representative from your internet/cable company recently, you know how long you can sit on hold.

That’s why it’s time to call in a robot. The negotiation bot Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you. It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook or your email address. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s AI-powered system gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

3. Get Paid Earlier Than Your Co-workers

Group of coworkers going down the stairs
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Want to get a jump on payday? Let Chime be your secret weapon.

Unlike most financial institutions, this online bank account doesn’t wait until your pay date to give you access to your money. As soon as it receives notification of the transaction from your employer, it immediately posts those funds to your account.

That means you’ll get your paycheck early — like Samuel Demeny, who switched from Wells Fargo to Chime. He uses direct deposit. His company technically pays everyone on Fridays, but Chime gets him access to that cash two days earlier than his co-workers.

“The fact that I’m paid on Wednesday versus Friday… helps me budget before the weekend even starts,” Demeny told The Penny Hoarder.

Opening an account with Chime is free and only takes about five minutes.

4. Automate Bill Pay

Most bills are paid online now, reports the Credit Union Times. But you can take it a step further. Set it up so you’ll receive and pay all of your bills online through your bank. That simplifies things so you’ll never miss a payment.

Here’s how: Go to your bank’s online bill-pay feature. Enter all the companies that bill you, and the account numbers for each. Arrange to receive e-bills from whichever billers will do that.

You can also have your bank send digital payments to individuals (like a landlord).

Also, see whether your bank offers automatic savings transfers that will move money from your checking account to your savings account each month.

5. Save Money on Every Gallon Pumped — Automatically

Young woman refueling car with gasoline on the gas station
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If you’re a savvy saver, you probably already use GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest gas station in town. It’s an easy — and free — way to avoid overpaying.

But once you pull up to the pump, here’s something else you can do: Swipe your Pay with GasBuddy card to automatically save 10 cents per gallon on your first purchase (and 5 cents per gallon after that).

The free discount card is tied directly to your checking account. It works at 95% of gas stations throughout the country, so you don’t have to drive around town just to find “your” station. Plus, you don’t have to wait for a rebate — it’s immediate savings.

Simply and securely sign up through GasBuddy. Connect your bank account, enter your address, and GasBuddy will put a card in the mail.

6. Start Saving Without Trying

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?

Digit makes that possible. It helps you save money without spending any time budgeting.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $5 just for signing up! Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

If you need that money sooner than expected, you’ll always have access to it within one business day.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $2.99 per month afterward.

7. Invest Your Digital Change (and Get a $5 Bonus)

If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

You can start small and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.

Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you. The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think.

The app is $1 a month for balances under $1 million, and Penny Hoarders get a $5 bonus when you sign up.

8. Take a Picture of Your Receipt

woman going through wallet and receipts
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

You can save on groceries without taking the time to clip coupons. We know it sounds strange, but Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works:

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes. Bam. Cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

9. Get a Better Savings Account

There’s no law that requires you to bank the old-fashioned way — at a brick-and-mortar bank that requires you to drive across town. It’s time to move your money into the 21st century, and do your banking wherever you are.

An iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your Bank Account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.75% annual percentage yield. That’s nearly 30 times — repeat, 30 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Varo goes easy on the fees, too. As long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees.

10. Let Someone Else Watch Your 401(k)

If you’re like most people, you have no idea whether your 401(k) is on pace for your retirement or just sputtering along.

Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

After that, if you sign up, it’s just $10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get the first month free with the code PNNYHRD!

11. Believe in the Magic of Meal Planning

woman making avocado toast at home
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Meal preparation, or meal prep, is a popular cooking trend that is equal parts health- and money-conscious.

The core idea of meal prep is to plan for a set number of days (typically a week) by buying ingredients, cooking your meals or prepping your ingredients and storing them in your kitchen for easy access. In doing so, you can save time throughout the week, limit yourself to a set amount of food/calories — and save yourself some serious money.

Here’s how to make a money-saving meal plan that you’ll actually stick to.

Along the same lines, here’s The Penny Hoarder’s complete guide to meal planning.

12. Keep It Cookin’ All Day

Are you spending too much at restaurants or on delivery? We get it: You should probably stop dining out so much, but you’re also not in the mood to cook when you get home from work.

Get a slow cooker. They’re so easy to use that owning one will make you more likely to prepare meals at home.

“This fine 3- to 6-quart piece of stoneware revolutionized my meal planning and gave me valuable time back,” Penny Hoarder writer Stephanie Bolling advises in this roundup of cheap and tasty slow cooker recipes. “The high yield, low effort and cost make it a prime household staple for fellow Penny Hoarders.”

You can start the cooking process in the morning, so you won’t be overwhelmed and pressed for time when you come home from work in the evening.  

13. Find the Best Car Insurance for You

You know how there are eight different places in town that claim to make the best pizza? You know it can’t be true, right?

Well, maybe. It depends on what kind of pizza you like.

Car insurance is kind of like that. Every company claims to have the lowest rates, but what you really want to find is the best policy with the best prices for you. Insurify helps you do this — online.

If you want to find the best rate for you and your vehicle, you need to get specific. What kind of car do you drive? Where do you live? Insurify can use this information to show you what kind of discounts exist and offer tailor-made quotes.

At Insurify, you can get personalized quotes from national companies — including all the discounts you qualify for — in just two minutes. It’ll even keep tabs on the rates and send you an email to let you know when a better one is available.

OK, car insurance isn’t pizza, but you do want to find the one that works best for you.

14. Save on Home Insurance — Super Fast

Shop around for a better deal on home insurance! It’s easier than you think it is, and it’s way quicker, too. It’s easy to get a free quote and see whether you can get a better deal on home insurance, but few of us bother to do so.

We recommend the online insurance company Lemonade, where homeowners insurance starts at $25 a month. Instead of profiting extra when it doesn’t have to pay out claims, the company keeps a set 20% of your premium for itself, and 80% goes into a pool for paying claims and charity.

Lemonade sells homeowners insurance in Arizona, California, Connecticut Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, D.C.

Time, Money and Energy

To accomplish anything in this life, you need time, money and energy. We’ve talked about time and money, but energy is a different subject entirely.

To save energy, we recommend that you lie down on the couch and take a nap.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He recommends taking a nap.