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6 Time Management Skills You Can Apply to Personal Finance

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There’s the old expression, “Time is money.” We want to be mindful of how we spend both. We even talk about time and money with many of the same terms: spend, save, invest, waste, budget, and manage, to name a few.

This got me thinking—what if we applied our time management practices to our personal finances? Here are six different time management skills that can be used to help understand spending, budgeting, payment automation, and overall financial health.



Your calendar, whether it’s on your phone or the wall, doesn’t lie about how you spend your time. If you look back at the past few months, you’ll see how you invested and prioritized your time. You might think you value your time in certain ways—time with family and friends, reading, learning new skills, and so forth—but your calendar and technology might say otherwise.

For instance, each week my iPhone tells me my average daily screen time. I don’t want to put the number in writing, but let’s just say it’s more than I thought, and a lot more than I would like.

You can perform the same kind of audit on your finances as you do on your calendar. Review your transactions over the last few months to see how you’re spending your money and what you’re prioritizing financially.

With a better understanding of how you’re really using your income, you can be more intentional with your budget moving forward. You can realign your spending with your financial goals, whether it’s setting money aside for retirement, dining out less, booking travel to see long-distance friends, or building your emergency fund.



How can you prioritize your time if you aren’t sure what you need to do? Similarly, how can you properly and wisely allocate your money if you don’t know what your expenses are?

Just as you would make a list of the different things you need to do, create a budget that outlines all your fixed costs that you can’t avoid, like housing, debt repayment, groceries, utilities, and other bills. Then you can see how much money you have left over to divide between important investments (retirement, emergency fund), savings goals (down payment on a car or house, vacation fund, or that replacement laptop you desperately need), and the ever-exciting free spending category (eating out, entertainment, travel, gifts, etc.).

Without this financial to do list, it’s hard to know where your money is going and if you’re spending it the way you want to.



You now have a to do list. But by when do you want to check off each item? Just as you would have a deadline for a project at work or that DIY project at home, set dates for when you want to achieve your different financial goals.

These can be short-term, mid-term, or long-term goals. In fact, you almost certainly should have a mix of the three to properly plan your spending and savings.

A short-term goal might be saving $1,000-$2,000 for spring break next year. Now that you have a timeline for when you want to go on vacation, you can determine how much you need to save over the next several months in order to have enough for your trip.

A mid-term goal could be buying a car in the next year. Calculate what your added monthly expenses will be with car and insurance payments. Then you can you’ll know how much you need to save each month to keep your budget from getting busted when you go to make your vehicle purchase.

If your long-term goal is to own your own house, when do you want to become a homeowner and when can you realistically save enough for a down payment? These S.M.A.R.T. goals—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound—will help you make an effective budget and spend your money accordingly.


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You block time in your work schedule for meetings. You set aside time on the weekend to clean your house or prep food for the week. Why not take the same approach to managing your money?

Consistently scheduling time in your calendar to review your finances—whether that’s a few minutes every day, a half hour every week, or a longer chunk of time at the end of each month—can be a good way to hold yourself accountable. This ensures you have time to regularly check your financial health.



If you’re anything like me, you have a slew of reminders in your phone so you don’t forget things. Doctor’s appointments, pick-up basketball, birthdays and anniversaries, you name it. It’s all automated so that you can set it and forget it, and let your phone do the memory work for you.

You can automate your finances in the same way. For savings, you can set up direct deposit for your paycheck and have a percentage automatically sent to your savings account, while the rest goes to checking for your regular spending. For bills, you can schedule payments in advance, so you never get dinged with a late fee or credit hit.

This not only can save you money, but, fittingly, can give you time back, too!



Speaking of automation, there are apps that can help you manage your money—and save you a bit of time while you’re at it! There is a wide array of options out there, both free and paid, each with different features and focuses. It’s not always the right approach for everyone, but it can be worth looking into. This is more of a tool to help manage your finances than a skill, but it still takes a certain amount of self-awareness and skill to navigate technology and know what works best for you when it comes to saving time and money.

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Nick Bohlen

About Nick Bohlen

Nick Bohlen is a communications strategist at VSECU, sharing ideas and information with staff, members, and Vermonters. When he’s not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling, and exploring Vermont’s great outdoors with his wife, daughter, and dog.
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