Paycheck Chronicles

Saving Money or Saving Time?


As usual, the holiday season has been hectic here.  Parties, presents and putting up the Christmas tree have taken a chunk out of our usual schedule.  However, as I thought about yesterday, I wonder about some of the choices that I made regarding time and money.

Yesterday was supposed to be the last "getting things done" day, so that I could write all day today and then enjoy my family Wednesday and Thursday.  I did get many things done, but not all of them.  I ran all over town looking for the greatest bargains on a few last minute items.  I found a few, but not all.  I found some great sales and snagged a few fantastic bargains.  What I didn't do, however, was plan ahead.

I only had my debit card and some cash - cash that ran out before I got to the store that didn't take my debit card.  I didn't check the holiday hours on stores before I left, and found myself driving to a store that was already closed.  And in mid-day desperation, I decided that the best thing for dinner was to swing past the commissary for a big frozen entree (you know the one, it comes in a red box), a loaf of bread and some frozen vegetables.

I guess it could have been worse - I could have ordered take-out or had fast food.  Both of those choices would have been more expensive and less healthy.  Or, I could have planned better, passed up one or two of those bargains, and made an inexpensive, healthy dinner from scratch. As it was, my husband made two sides to go with our boxed dinner, so there was cooking involved anyway.  There was clearly enough time to prepare a proper dinner.  In my mind, however, I was too busy getting the best possible deal to make the time to plan for it.

I find that this happens to me a lot.  Where do you draw the line?  When you have 50 things on your to do list, does it make sense to add "stop at CVS for the 99 cent toothpaste" to the list?  What if that stop at CVS means that you end up spending more money some place else?  And it doesn't have to be an obvious connection - what if Tuesday's CVS stop means that you didn't get that extra load of laundry done, so you have to do the laundry on Wednesday when you were supposed to go grocery shopping, and then that means that you ended up stopping at the gas station for overpriced milk for Thursday's breakfast?

I'm curious how you balance the desire to save money with the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day.  What do you think?

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