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This thread collects strategies that **SAVE TIME**, even if the strategies cost money.

This is the opposite of strategies that take lots of time to save a few bucks. Instead, spend a few bucks, and save lots of time.

These strategies that may not be the absolute $cheapest$ in direct monetary cost/savings, but represent a good balance of money vs. time/hassle/aggravation for those who don't mind spending a little more money to save time, get good efficient service, minimize hassle, or free up time in your life for family/hobbies etc.

From the previous thread on this topic it is clear that some people have strong views re whether it is moral to hire a maid, do your own laundry, clean your own gutters etc. But please, lets keep this thread focused on sharing strategies that save time with an emphasis on strategies that at first may seem expensive, but because they save significant time, are in fact good efficient strategies for people who value their time to pursue other activities (whether that's making more money, exercising, reading to yr kids, having an affair, filling out AORs or whatever).

This OP will not be updated with all the good strategies as those are being collected in the quick summary just below. Please add to the quick summary only really good ideas that save time, minimize hassle etc.

This thread, and especially the quick summary is not a place to share general household tips, or general money-saving tips etc. It is for time-saving tips, especially ones that cost money but are well worth the cost.

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* A FAST/good document feeder/scanner where you can quickly store documents on your computer. ScanSnap s1500 is amazing. Flatbed scanner won't cut it.

* SSD hard drives.

* Autopay/direct debit credit cards: only have credit cards that can be set up to automatically withdraw full balance from bank acct on the payment due date. For me this means Citi (AA miles, and PP elite) and now, finally AMEX allows direct debit (Starwood card). I still review the statements (easiest on  to see if any charges are inappropriate, but otherwise don't bother with paying credit card bills.

* Autopay all utilities, other recurring charges: I try to have them charged to a credit card, rather than withdrawn from checking (to maximize cc points, minimize revealing bank account info, and to be able to dispute the cc charge if there is a problem).

* Pay all remaining bills by checkfree/bank online type programs. Sometimes these can be automated as well to automatically write and send the check (or wire equivalent). Citibank works well for this. BOA is simply awesome

* Direct deposit of paycheck.

* for storing files so that you always have access to them wherever you have an internet connection.

* Use Vonage text voicemail. I pay $0.25/msg to have Vonage transcribe my voicemails and email them to me so that I read/skim them in an instant rather than tediously play them back and try to remember all the codes to skip and delete msgs. EDIT: Google Voice actually does this now for free.

* Buy a car with bluetooth phone: I can make calls and get telephone chores and sometimes
work accomplished during my commute -- most of the time you are on hold anyway.

* Use or : for a reasonable fee, I can call a number, enter my code, and then dictate a letter or list or any other text, and someone (perhaps in India? who knows) transcribes it and emails it back to me within a few hours. They can even do a good job with formatting and tables etc. if you explain it to them.

* Use Tivo or other DVR: I refuse to watch live tv now b/c the inability to skip the commercials are a huge and painful waste of time.

* Find solid online retailers with good prices and a good review system and stick with them. For example Amazon has good prices and sells almost everything, Newegg. com is great for computers and electronics. With Amazon prime you can get 2-day shipping on everything they stock. Use the online reviews to save time researching products. Sort by price/review, find something with 4 stars, click, buy.

* Standardize items where it makes sense. Research once, find the best, buy a lot. Example: socks, throw out (donate) old ones and buy 10 pairs of the same type. Never waste time matching again. When they start wearing out toss them out and buy a new lot of 10 pairs. Other examples,t-shirts, undershirts, travel mugs etc.

* Buy quality items, appliances, furniture etc. Name brands cost more but there is less risk of low quality, less time spent researching the purchase and often higher quality. Spend less time/money in the future replacing mediocre purchases (i.e. fatwallet junk). If not used, better brands/quality items can be more easily sold.

* Use light bulbs that have a very long life, such as compact fluorescent bulbs. This saves time changing the bulbs (especially beneficial for hard to reach locations.) Instead of using CFL, use LED lights that will not burn for years. No burn = No Change = Time and Energy Saved.

* Get a car with a very long range on a full tank of fuel. Example: A VW Golf, Jetta, Beetle TDI Diesel with an 800 mile range per tank of Diesel (compare to 300-400 mile range for an "average" car.) This saves time by not requiring stopping at the filling station as often.

* Use (see Fatwallet Thread and Yodlee Forums for strategies on this great free service.)

* Use or Keepass (I use all the time for basically all of my online logins. It also auto-fills many online forms. So when I sign up for that new online retailers site (or apply for a credit card) it takes a second to review the auto-populated fields, fill in any missing information, and then submit. It is a huge time saver. Keepass is one of the safest password protectors available, and it's free!

* Use ActiveWords ( to automate several tasks on your computer without even having to program a single macro....the most common ones are pre-programmed.

* Use Anagram ( to automatically fill-in contact info from websites or emails into Outlook simply by highlighting the contact info and press Ctrl F8. (edit, anagram is now copy2contact. I don't know if it has the same functionality).

* Drop laundry off with laundry service: they do wash and fold for $1 per pound. My usual load was about 15 lbs, so about $15 - or $5 more than it cost when I did it myself. For that extra $5, I got three hours of my life back - less than $2 per hour to get some free time to do whatever I wanted. No matter what you do - I'm guessing your time is worth more than $2 per hour

* Buy cars with high reliability ratings

* Get caller ID and answer the phone less

* Use click and pull service from Sams Club. Order online and just pickup the cart! Saves me 30 min or so every time i do it.

Many trade jobs: If I can pay someone $X/hour to do that work, and I make $X Y/hour at my job or I otherwise value my leisure time at that much, and Y > any extra time/cost in dealing with the outsourcing, then it is simple math that it makes economic sense to outsource/delegate/hire out certain tasks. ** BUT, remember the money you earn is pre-tax. The money you spend is post-tax. With this in mind, it's costing you ~30-40% more than what you're earning.

- House cleaning - would take me 4-5 hours, get it done for $80.00
- Oil changes - would take me about an hour in my garage and get it changed for $12.00 in labor.
- Snow Removal
- Painting
- Car washing (I drop it off with the guy in the parking garage)
- Handyman jobs
- Lawn mowing
- Gutter cleaning (let someone else be at risk to fall off the ladder)

* When outsourcing many trade jobs, the trick is finding a good person. That usually means not using a professional service that advertises and instead finding an individual who works on their own -- usually recommended by a friend.

* Lay overs on flights vs direct - when traveling with my wife the layover has to be $50.00/ additional hour cheaper for both of us

* Grocery Delivey: when i was in NYC I used Urbanfetch/kozmo (I think they are closed now) and Freshdirect for grocery and other stuff delivery. Now I use and that is also a big time saver.

* Using a hybrid car to drive in the HOV lanes in Virginia or California (anywhere else?) is a big time saver.

* Order gifts online, pay for gift wrapping, and have it sent directly to recipient. And this sounds cheap, but by having it sent I don't have to include a Hallmark card, which I would feel I have to do if I sent/brought it myself. So the wrapping charge cancels out what the cost of the card would be. (And of course some places don't even charge for wrapping.)

* When doing manual work such as housework, car detailing, chopping wood and construction, you are also getting a workout. I value that more than the money saved by not paying others. If I didn't do these things I wouldn't get any exercise at all.

* Live and work in the downtown area of a BIG city. It's more fun and does wonders for your social life. And cuts way down (even possibly eliminates) that annoying commute.

* Car Navigation: either built-in (less worry about theft, easier to use) or add on (e.g., Garmin Nuvi, usually has better features) can be a huge time saver and valuable convenience.

* Use laser for permanent hair removal; never bother shaving again.

* Use USPS package pickup. I used to always take my packages to the post office, but it's a lot easier to have them picked up with my regular mail for free.

* Internet on my smartphone allows me to watch my stocks, news, email with a touch of a button. also I don't have to pay for hotel internet with my phone...Makes me more productive.

* Reading FWF on Rating = Good or better. No green, no lookie. Sure you'll miss some of the finer points, but the threads sure are shorter!

* If you have the space, get your own gym equipment. The time saved commuting and waiting at the gym is inefficient. I love the instant availability of my machines... and shower! If you live in an apartment without any equipment, speak to the other tenants and the manager about getting some. Maybe it can be placed in the laundry room area or some other spare space.
(edit - it should be noted that machines are not ideal for working out. Machines do not make use of natural muscle movements, and can lead to muscle imbalances and higher chance of injury.{Citation?} Machines should be avoided if at all possible (P90X only requires a chin up bar and some barbells with time proven results). Instead, run, do barbell exercises for a quick, intense daily workout.)

* Have at least two computer monitors side-by-side when using the computer. It is amazing how much more efficient surfing the net, reviewing documents, working on spreadsheets, monitoring and trading stocks, etc. can be with more than one monitor. (I have three on one computer. Now that I mention it, computers and harddrives are so cheap now I back up computers with harddrive "mirror" software so that if one crashes I have minimal down time.)

* Don't do your own taxes unless it is as simple as entering some data in one of those tax prep programs. A good tax prep person will not only save you time, but a lot of money as they guide you to the best way to reduce taxes in subsequent years.

* Dry cleaning instead of hunching over the ironing board for hours.

* Buy non-iron clothes (shirts and pants). They cost about the same or a little bit more, but it saves a TON of money on dry cleaning(or doing the ironing yourself) plus the time and effort getting to the cleaners.

* Use an airline credit card that gives you miles that count toward elite qualification so that you can qualify to skip the longer lines at the airport. More generally see 

* Roomba is a great automatic robot vacuum.

* Join AAA and do most of your DMV business at the AAA office. (AAA members also get free Experian credit watch & alerts link 

* Get rid of stuff. Throw away or sell redundant/busted/useless items that are getting in your way. I just sold my old high school class ring to a pawnshop for $95. The money was nice, but not eternally running across it in my drawer while looking for something else has been priceless to me.

* Keep a large cardboard box in a closet in your home. Any time you run across an item in your house you never use but haven't thrown away because it seems to have some value or potential use, put the item in the box. Once or twice per year, make a spreadsheet estimating the value of the items and then donate it to a non-profit thrift store. Keep this simple: 10 men's shirts @ $5 each. I got a tax writeoff of $2,000 last year doing this. Some charities will come pick up your items. Just get their tax ID number and have them sign a printout of your list as received. If you don't think itemizing is worth your time, just give the items away and feel good about helping someone and having superfluous stuff out of your way/life.

* Buy everyday items in bulk when they go on sale, and save time and money by not having to remember to buy each item every three weeks. Also, run out less often. (Please add to this list) Items such as:
- toothpaste/toothbrush
- shampoo/conditioner
- shaving cream
- bar soap/body wash
- earbuds
- deodorants
- toilet paper
- feminine pads
- Q Tips
- Disposable contact lenses, saline, etc.

- paper towels, napkins, etc.
- frozen food
- canned food, Staples such as pasta
- cleaning supplies

* Fill up your tank as soon as it is "convenient" when the fuel light comes on. I used to wait until it was nearly empty so that I could reduce the stops by filling up 18gal each time instead of 16gal...but it's not worth the "headache" of having to remember and worry in the back of my mind. Plus I never care about gas price, just fill up when the light is on and on average you might end up paying $3/mo more for gas depending on how many miles you drive per month. [Waiting until your tank is almost empty doesn't save anything. It's the miles driven that matter.]

* Buy keyless door locks with a remote. Morning Industry is one manufacturer. Alternatively, Turner Deadbolts work just like regular deadbolts, but you can lock them from the outside by twisting the lock with your hand (no key needed to lock). Saves a little time everyday.

* Do short duration high intensity workouts instead of long leisurely workouts. Check out for a daily workout.

* Buy an iPod. There are better and much cheaper media players out there for sure, but given their ubiquity, you will always find someone with a charger, FM transmitter, ipod dock speakers, etc.

* For inexpensive and good-quality tech support, do not take your computer to the local Geekz Squad store but go to an online service provider like or Jupiter Support has incidence-based support with costs as low as $29 compared to Geek Squad who can charge you a few hundred dollars.

Also see FWF thread on bad money saving ideas that didn't work which is sort of the flip side of this thread.
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did you outsource typing this post too?

i hope you did

OP, it would be better if the bulk of your entry was placed in QS. That way, people can just add to an already-great list.

my two cents:

1. stop randomly surfing the web and reading forums

2. watch what you buy. everything you buy has lifecycle costs, and a major one of those is your time -- time spent shopping, time spent maintaining are storing, even time spent working to pay for what you purchased. so, try to buy what you need or really want, and keep in mind future time commitments to things you're buying.

Why should I pay to wash my own car? I spend $6 for soap and next to nothing to use the water from my hose. If I go to the car wash centers, I will be paying at least $6 (each time) to do a job that wouldn't be as good as the one I can do from home.

Great strategy if you are a millionaire!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And by that I mean...why would you be on fatwallet if 20 bucks here and 80 bucks there was not important..."anything less than 25/hr I don't do".....that is actually against the spirit of fatwallet...aka...trying to save money by finding the best deals)

These are note-worthy tips that I will have to try out. Here's my two-cents. They are more productivity tips than time-saving.

1. Don't do work w/ TV on. (except maybe sit-ups/crunches/push-ups)
2. Prioritize!
3. Develop good habits. (i.e. make your bed when you wake up)
4. If something is not worth your time, don't do it. (spending an hour trying to save a buck on an item.)
5. stop being lazy.
6. stock up on quarters and dollar bills. (for laundry & other purposes)
7. perform a productivity/time audit every week/month to see what you can improve on.
8. Always plan ahead!
9. Car trunk should always be empty, you never know what you might need to store in there in a pinch.
10. When you leave your car, find and throw out a piece of trash. (this habit keeps the car clean)
11. When you leave your apartment/house, look to see if you need to take out any trash.


I paid someone to read this thread to me.

What the heck are you so busy with? Do you have 3 jobs going at once?

Most important, don't be a typical American!

I'm so busy that I outsourced eating and having private time with my SO. I even drink coffee by using the copy+paste method.

I saved time by not reading that long ass post

I thought it was funny...

Wow, why did you quote it?

Lots of great ideas, although I agree that some of these tips belong on a WSJ, Money or Fortune forum rather than FW's. But, hey, I'm a hick, what do I know?

A recently-discovered timesaver for me has been the website; I've been able to beat the best price I could find on a couple of items so far. (Tip: It's only necessary to enter your item's "name"; the "page" and "price" are optional--but certainly helpful to others if you've found the lowest price.)

Also, I like It's still in beta format for US markets, and they've chosen to start with mostly fashion items. However, it includes eBay listings, so it's proven useful to me.

Other than saving time shopping prices via the Internet, some of my favorite time- and moneysavers include taking competitor's ads to Wal-Mart with me to take advantage of their price-match policy, and clipping coupons and making a "to do/to buy" list whilst using the bathroom. Two activities that are oddly related.

g10ny said: I'm so busy that I outsourced eating and having private time with my SO. I even drink coffee by using the copy+paste method.
Red for being so freakin corny.

Updated Side note: Bring on the red.. it doesn't change the fact that its still not funny or humorous.. just corny.

With the recession expected to turn for the worse, the result would be reducing working hours and income. For the vast majority Time,in term of labor hours, become cheaper as we are unable to exchange it for the money we are used to. This lead me to believe that the emphasis of using your time to do stuff instead of outsourcing it. However, this post contains some excellent ideas that I save me time by using cheaply available services and free software.

mountv said: g10ny said: I'm so busy that I outsourced eating and having private time with my SO. I even drink coffee by using the copy+paste method.
Red for being so freakin corny.

Red for having no sense of humor

In CA, if you need to go to the DMV make sure you make an appointment instead of waiting with the first-come first-serve crowd. As far as I could tell, it puts you near the front of the call queue and reduces wait time significantly.

how do you consider cost/benefit of paying someone to do something for you? Ie if you make 40/hr and pay someone 20/hr to do something for 2 hours that your not working, is that worth it or not?

I don't see go to your local library. Audio books cost ~25 bucks even on Amazon ... my library system even allows me to download audiobooks directly from their website.

The world would be a much better place if everyone utilized their local library once a week.

How about cutting out exercise altogether? That will save time, and money on a gym membership.

can we get some SPACING in the OP and quicksummary between items?

oh my god, reading this post is...EPIC, thanks so much!

etee said: In CA, if you need to go to the DMV make sure you make an appointment instead of waiting with the first-come first-serve crowd. As far as I could tell, it puts you near the front of the call queue and reduces wait time significantly.
Even better, join AAA and do most of your DMV business at the AAA office. (AAA members also get free Experian credit watch & alerts).

I know a lot of this is common sense but maybe some readers will find it helpful.

Here's a few more to add to the list.:

*Pay for a bike. Beat the downtown traffic and get your exercise without special gym equipment.
*Take public transportation. Why drive when you can pay someone else to drive you?
*Spend less time talking to your friends. Cut down on the number of friends you have.
*Do not have a family. Or if you have a family, get a divorce and pay for child support.
*Pay for methamphetamines. In general, don't make any drugs yourself.
*Pay some kid to run the meth for you. (let someone else be at risk for purchasing the meth)
*Sell your big screen HD LCD TV on craigslist. Just get a HD computer monitor with TV tuner and move the monitor closer to you.
*Read less. A picture is worth a thousand words so if you scan through a website and look at say 13 pictures, you've scanned the equivalent of 13,000 words.

jumroo said: did you outsource typing this post too?

i hope you did

Yes i did. I just did [text only] on the old archived thread and deleted all the irrelevant and unhelpful posts.

Automation apps for your computer are a huge time saver. I use iKey on my Mac (, and I'm sure there are many for PCs as well.

How about this: have two days mid and end of month set out to pay bills and finance matters. Fat? take another job or go join a karate dojo as a defensive measure and shed those fat lbs.
Change oil? let the mech do it.
Tired of calling up hookers and waiting for them? get a girl friend, you may get free meal too, of course I was talking about food.

Man, i am scoop up with studying and I do not have time. Either I outsource my work or my test...dilemma.

I was just joking, of course. You guys are so sensitive.

Dump paper; put as many docs as you can in electronic format.

Eat less; digestion saps a lot of energy.

commuting by public transportation takes longer, but you csn get work or studying done while not driving. I even worked on my bills on the train.

sweetbutter said: How about this: have two days mid and end of month set out to pay bills and finance matters. Fat? take another job or go join a karate dojo as a defensive measure and shed those fat lbs.
Change oil? let the mech do it.
Tired of calling up hookers and waiting for them? get a girl friend, you may get free meal too, of course I was talking about food.

You've missed the spirit of the thread, as nothing involving a girlfriend is free.

user5701 said: sweetbutter said: How about this: have two days mid and end of month set out to pay bills and finance matters. Fat? take another job or go join a karate dojo as a defensive measure and shed those fat lbs.
Change oil? let the mech do it.
Tired of calling up hookers and waiting for them? get a girl friend, you may get free meal too, of course I was talking about food.

You've missed the spirit of the thread, as nothing involving a girlfriend is free.

And depending on the girl's Princess Status, definitely NOT a time saver :p

Sounds like everything is outsourcing. Whether domestic or international. In any case, this is possible only with cheap labor. And by the way, you have to earn earn earn to pay pay pay for all the services.

I agree that some of the tips are nice, but may be I would want to wash that car I love (even though its a Jetta) or hear that voicemail left by my neice in non-english language. I wonder how those outsourcing guys would translate it for me. Well, all I am saying is that sometimes there is more relxation in doing your daily chores than paying by the pound. Your time is all what you want to make of it.

*Updated Quick Summary - fixed spelling and grammatical mistakes, added many hyperlinks, and added ThursdaysChild's AAA suggestion.

Hopefully this helps everyone save some more time when reading the summary, and trying to find the services recommended here, and therefor save money (Time = Money)!

Yes we all must work harder because hundreds of millions around the world depend on us.

I'm too poor for most of these strategies!

Great thread. I've used a lot of these strategies years ago so I could retire at 40. Paying others to do work I hate was big for me.

Now I look for healthy, cheap ways to WASTE time. I'll start a thread on that if I get green here.

Skipping 729 Messages...
I great WSJ article that summarizes the point of this thread:

a few highlights:

"The time-and-money calculator Mr. Bram used, on, has users set a floor, or market value, for their time by dividing their total compensation by the hours they work. Users also answer questions about various time-versus-money trade-offs they would be willing to make, such as how much an additional part-time job would have to pay for them to take it, or how much they would be willing to spend on a timesaving tool or service.

The calculator reports inconsistencies in users’ thinking. For example, a user might be able to make $50 an hour by doing additional part-time work but refuse to pay a company $30 to do a routine errand that would free up an hour of his time, even though he could pocket $20 by doing so, says Spencer Greenberg, New York, founder of"

"Mr. Greenberg, a mathematician and co-founder of a hedge fund, says he got the idea for the calculator after watching a friend who makes a six-figure salary “wracking her brain trying to figure out how to use a $20 gift certificate,” he says. “She essentially lost more value just making that decision than the value of the gift certificate.”

"Emily Oster encourages students in her college microeconomics classes to factor “opportunity cost” into their time-use decisions. By choosing to use time in a certain way, they’ll have to give up other activities, says Dr. Oster, an associate professor of economics at Brown University. If hiring help “buys you an extra half hour with your job or your kids, it’s worth it, even if in principle you could do it yourself,” she says. She hires help with laundry and grocery-shopping to free time to spend with her 4-year-old daughter.

Still, this is a difficult concept for students to grasp. They readily understand that money spent in one place can’t be invested elsewhere, Dr. Oster says. But “when you take another step and say, ‘This is something you should apply to your life, to think about your time having value?’ This is hard.”

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