Prioritizing saves money and time
You’ve heard of work/life balance, right? Does it seem like a “nice idea” that you’ve read about or heard others talk about, but doesn’t quite describe your life? Do you feel like work and your family are in a never-ending coin toss to see who gets your time and full attention? Rest assured, you are not alone.
BMO recently conducted a poll, asking women about their successes and challenges in achieving this elusive work/life balance. Not surprisingly, the poll found that most women “struggle to find the optimal balance between their work and family lives.”
“People often look at work/life balance as a nice-to-have. It’s a must have,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. “I’ve got some news for you – you can save time and money if you simplify and focus on what’s really important in life.”
If your long hours are motivated by the need to earn money to buy “stuff”, you might be in a lose-lose situation. It’s time to re-evaluate – scaling back needless spending will demand less income, which in turn might free up some hours, allowing you to spend time with your family on things that have true value (but not a price tag).
Break it down
What’s important to you? Be specific (don’t say ‘time with family’ or ‘working towards a promotion’). List all the tasks associated with each, and how much time is directed towards each. This will help pinpoint areas that are way out of whack, and may be the source of your stress.
Write out a typical day, and the time associated with each task. Like a financial budget, you will be shocked at how you spend your time (and money).
Needs vs. Wants
If you scaled back on some of your extra spending, would it mean that you’ve got more time to spend with your family on a regular basis? Gives new meaning to that old saying ‘time is money’.
Back to Basics
You’ve got to re-define what “quality time” together means. If your family outings involve monster vacations and trips to the mall, it’s time to seek out alternatives that are more budget-friendly. Think picnics and trips to the playground rather than expensive dinners out and trips to the amusement park.
Learn to ask for help
Asking for help is hard. Understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and wisdom.
At home, make sure that you and your partner are sharing childcare and housework. At work, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks if it is appropriate.
Getting balanced means you’ll be better organized. Getting better organized means that you’ll be able to have more clarity. Having more clarity means you’ll be better able to identify, plan and achieve your goals, especially when it comes to your finances.
If you want to learn more about making responsible financial decisions, check out Consolidated Credit’s free Personal Finance educational section. If you’re struggling with debt, call one of our trained counsellors today at for a free debt analysis.