When you’re working hard to keep up with the demands of your work and personal life, taking time to seek improvements to your finances can be just another weekend chore.
One possible solution? Using your lunch hour to brainstorm improvements and take care of financial odds and ends. After all, research shows only 19 percent of workers in North America are consistently taking traditional lunch breaks away from their desks, which means many aren’t optimizing that personal time allotment to their own benefit.
Further, taking a mental break from work typically enhances your productivity. Some alone time might also be just what you need to recharge your batteries.
"Feeling like things are in control and organized in your life outside of work will free up mental energy and reduce stress levels to perform better professionally,” advises career coach Ryan Kahn in Business Insider. "Take advantage of this short break from work by making a to-do list for your personal life — or even to cross a few items off that list.”
If you are not utilizing your lunchtime work break, consider putting that time to better use by using your laptop, smartphone and/or other tools to make financial plans or complete finance-oriented tasks. Some goals you might accomplish:
- Automate finances. Arranging to have your income automatically divvied into savings and checking accounts, investments and debt payments can save you time and eliminate the temptation of extra spending.
- Evaluate your debt. Periodically checking on your debt balances and the progress you’ve made on your pay-off can renew your commitment to soldiering on. Several apps on the market can keep such balances regularly accessible.
- Establish more concrete goals. Are your saving and spending ambitions a little vague? Take time to consider what you’d like to achieve financially over your lifetime, then write down the real-life steps you’ll need to get there.
- Consider a side gig. If you have extra energy, you may be able to use your lunchtime on a second job with Uber, Lyft, Fiverr or TaskRabbit, or perhaps a freelance gig.
- Learn more about insurance. Get online and determine whether you have enough insurance and whether comparable policies are available for less.
- Sign up for credit monitoring. Free services such as Credit Karma will keep an eye on your credit score and email you if negative reports are logged.
- Compare your retirement savings. Use an online retirement calculator to see where you are in relation to where you should be to eventually retire comfortably.
- Compare your subscription costs. When was the last time you checked whether you could get phone, internet, magazine, utility or other costs cheaper?
- Check credit and debit expenses. Use this time to make sure every charge on your current statement is legitimate.
- Log some reading. Peruse the latest best-selling book on how to build wealth or reduce expenses.