Spring Forward: 4 Fast Ways to Save Time and Money
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"Researchers have estimated the economic cost of that one lost hour at $434 million per year, with effects including higher rates of workplace injuries, lost productivity and sleep-impaired bad judgment."

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An hour of sleep might not be the only thing you lose when the clocks spring forward—daylight savings time could cost you money, too.

There’s truth to that old saying “time is money.” In a single hour, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes about $4.5 million, according to Business Insider. Even for the rest of us, losing an hour in the day adds up. Researchers have estimated the economic cost of that one lost hour at $434 million per year, with effects including higher rates of workplace injuries, lost productivity and sleep-impaired bad judgment.

When do we spring forward in 2019? On Sunday, March 10, the clocks will move ahead by one hour at 2 a.m. local time. (To avoid losing even more time and money, set your schedule by your iPhone or other smart devices that will automatically adjust to the time change. Not your microwave, which you’ll have to reset manually.)

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Here are four ways to get that lost hour back:

1) Cut down your morning routine

After losing an hour of sleep, it may be hard not to hit the snooze button for the first few days. So do what you can to shorten your morning routine, letting you steal a few extra zzz’s and still get out the door to work on time.

Pack your work bag the night before — it can be easy to forget an item that you usually don’t take. “Entrepreneurial You” author Dorie Clark tells Grow that she places important items next to her keys the night before so she won’t forget anything.

Plan your outfit ahead of time, and pick a combo you’ve worn before. Michelle Obama told Vanity Fair in 2017 that President Barack Obama got dressed in 10 minutes every morning. His secret? He wore the same suit and shoes for eight years while in office.

2) Get ahead on meal prep

Some effort on meal planning can free up both time and money. (The average American household spends more than $3,000 a year on dinning out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That breaks down to almost $60 per week.)

Spend one night a week preparing your meals for the coming days, suggests consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch. That doesn’t necessarily mean cooking a week’s worth of food in one night, but rather, getting a head start—chopping up veggies or choosing recipes. That will decrease the amount of time it takes you to cook a meal after a long day at work.

3) Buy back time

Spending a little money to get more free time can boost your happiness, according to a recent series of articles in the Harvard Business Review. It doesn’t take much moolah. Researchers found that spending as little as $40 on something that saves time (in their example, an hour of home cleaning through TaskRabbit), is going to make you happier than spending that same amount on stuff (a few weeks of coffee purchases).

One easy option would be to outsource errands like grocery shopping or waiting in line at the pharmacy. For example, using Amazon Prime saved CNBC Make It’s Emmie Martin an estimated $250 and 40 trips to the store in a single year.

“Although it’s a big convenience to have items delivered right to your doorstep, you can also order online and opt to pick up from a local store near you,” Woroch told Grow in an email. “Many [retailers] even offer curbside pickup—and these options are free with no order minimum.”

4) Plot out your to-do list

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is famously obsessive over scheduling his day. It’s a smart move: Setting goals for tomorrow is a great way to get things done. Just leave some time to account for unexpected issues that might pop up.

Clark tackles day planning by creating a checklist and keeping important events in her calendar. She recommends clients plan with a several-week horizon, to make sure they’re getting ahead on long-term goals and projects—and spending enough time with friends and family.

“It’s really important to look at your schedule not for the next day and not even just for that week, but several weeks out because you are going to see patterns that you’ll have to be aware of,” she says.

That attention can help you turn time into money.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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