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The Importance of Routines – Household Routines That Save You Money

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Life is busy, and we all have a lot on our minds. Routines reduce some of the brain load. Here are seven household routines that save you money.

Routines are powerful.

They’re boring, yes.

But they are POWERFUL for getting things done. On time. Without fuss. Without forgetting. And getting things done on time will save you money.

Our grandmothers knew how helpful household routines were, and while washing day may seem a bit passé, having regular times when you perform specific tasks reduces stress and helps you action what’s on your to-do list.

Many of us live hectic lives, juggling an ever-increasing number of balls in an ever-increasing crazy world. Having routines, systems, and checklists may seem a bit OTT, but they take some pressure off our busy brains.

Here are seven routines worth building to reduce stress and save money.

1. Automated Banking Routine

Automated banking is one of the easiest routines to implement because after setting it up, there is no work on your part! Savings happen routinely every payday without you having to do anything.

I go into detail about how to automate your finances in this article, but briefly, the idea is to create an automatic transfer every payday to put money into your savings account. Saving for upcoming bills, where you can, takes some of the pain out of paying the bills.

2. A Routine for Banking and Bill Payments

Forgetting to pay bills (different from not being able to pay) costs you in terms of late fees. And not paying your credit card off in time can cost you interest.

One way to avoid this is to automate bills (like savings) and set up direct debits (if this suits you). That way, you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

But if you don’t want to direct debit, then having a banking and bill payment routine will help you pay your bills on time.

As part of my weekly review (see below), I have a set time to go through our banking checklist. It covers things like reviewing our budget, paying bills, paying any money owing on the credit card, paying the kids their pocket money etc. Having a specific time and a checklist helps me not to miss anything.

I also use a calendar system to create bill reminders as a backup. I’ve been using this same system for over a decade, meaning some reminders have been running automatically for ten years. It’s been a pretty good return on investment of time, and it helps me track bill payments, past and future.

3. A Routine for Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

Hands down, meal planning, is one of the best ways to save money on groceries. But you need to carve out a few minutes each week to ensure it gets done.

There are many ways to make meal planning super quick and easy, which I share in free articles on the website and also in my book. I like to do it the day before I grocery shop so I don’t feel rushed. Sometimes I adjust the meal plan if I see good specials, or I buy specials for the following meal plan.

I also have a set time for grocery shopping: early Wednesday morning after the weekly specials come out. A regular shop means you shop once a week, saving time, saving petrol, and you don’t run out of ingredients.

I shop online, which is another way to save, and have a regular time (routine) when hubby can collect the groceries on the way home from work, again, saving money on petrol by batching car use.

4. A Routine for Meal Prep and Cooking

Preparing meals for the week, even if it’s just chopping vegetables, makes weekday cooking so much easier. This, in turn, means you’re eating at home more, avoiding takeaway, eating healthier and saving money.

Setting aside a regular time for meal prep ensures it gets done. It’s easiest if it happens after you’ve planned and grocery shopped.

When it comes to cooking, our routine includes which nights I cook, which nights my husband cooks, and increasingly as they get older, which nights the kids cook. Life is easier when the chores are shared, and there are no arguments about whose turn it is when you have set nights.

5. A Routine for Weekly and Daily Planning

A daily review of tomorrow’s schedule and to-do list and a weekly review of the same each week are short, five-minute routines that can save you a lot of stress, missed chores, as well as money.

For example, if next Thursday is super busy, you might want to prep an easy reheat meal for that day. Or, if you have a lot of errands, you can plan a time to get them all done at once or batch them with an appointment or regular car trip to reduce petrol costs. If you use your calendar to keep track of bills and maintenance tasks (see below), you can also check for upcoming chores.

Time blocking is an effective way to get stuff done. I don’t time block every moment, but I put in appointments, work, the kid’s activities, and essential routines like my bill-paying routine mentioned above.

If you make an appointment with someone, you make sure you get there on time. Scheduling tasks keeps you accountable to yourself, so things get done.

6. A Routine for Home Maintenance

Cleaning the shower, washing floors and carpets, clearing out gutters, getting a termite inspection…all of these non-glamorous chores help keep things in good condition so they last longer. I hate cleaning the Venetian blinds in the kitchen, but doing it often keeps them mould and rust-free.

I use a calendar to set reminders to do routine home maintenance. A free task manager like Todoist or Asana can help too.

7. Random Household Routines that Save You Money

Little routines throughout your day can have a significant impact on your budget.

In winter, we enjoy porridge for breakfast. Our routine is to add the oats and water to the rice cooker the night before. Then the first person up in the morning switches the rice cooker on. It does its thing, then sits on warm until we’re ready to eat.

A hearty breakfast ensures we don’t need to buy food out or snack during the morning.

You might create a similar routine with a coffee maker; some coffee machines even come with a timer. Having a regular coffee-making habit will save you money on takeaway coffee. Another option is a routine of prepping food the night before to throw into the slow cooker in the morning, so you have a meal to come home to every evening. Or you might have a routine of making lunches for work or the kids the night before, so you have something easy to grab in the morning when you’re rushed.

Regular decluttering and organising can help you avoid buying stuff you don’t need because you can’t find it. It will also help you eat through your pantry items before they go out of date.

Another routine might be going around the house just before bed to turn off and unplug appliances, so you’re not paying for standby electricity.

6. Routines that Keep You In Good Health

While not a ‘household’ routine, habits like getting plenty of sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can help make sure you’ve got the energy to keep up with your money-saving routines!

When we feel tired and run down, we look for shortcuts like takeaway food. These shortcuts not only cost money, but they can also make you even more tired and run down, creating a vicious cycle.

A good sleep routine with a mostly regular bedtime has been shown to improve sleep. Scheduling regular exercise means it’s more likely to happen. And meal planning and meal prepping can help you eat healthier consistently.

It’s not always easy to create and stick to healthy habits, but consistent routines can help. And when we’re healthy, we’re more likely to stick to all our other good habits.

Routines, systems, habits, checklists – these aren’t glamorous. They’re not TikTok worthy ‘hacks’. They are, however, time-tested and effective for getting things done.

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  1. I could’nt agree more, I sent The foxx to the shops the other day and crisps and chocolate plus a bottle of wine arrived home with him, oh boy did I complain after I had my share LOL

    1. LOL, I eat my fair share too.

  2. I think us blokes are getting a bad wrap I only get chocolate and ice cream when the boss tells me.

    As one of your issues was forgetting to defrost things here is a hint for fast defrosting meat:
    We have one of those George Foreman Grills. If you put a steak in the grill without the power on it will defrost in about 15-20 minutes. Much faster than leaving it on the counter, better job than the microwave and no cost.

    1. I’ve heard lots of good things about those grills, thanks for the tip – that is fast and convenient. We don’t have a microwave but I’ve used them in the past for defrosting – not really a fan either.

  3. For that, take the time to regularly review how you manage your money, where you are spending, and how better your income can be spent. When it comes to money, a little change can go a long way.