Everyone knows that keeping a calendar can save you time. But online calendars can do something even better: save you money. The top calendar apps boast a number of features that can help you monitor your finances and put more money back in your pocket.
True, the concept of using a calendar as a money-saving tool can seem a bit strange. Why not just use a spreadsheet? What about your bank’s budgeting tool? Because saving money comes down to a single word: scheduling.
Scheduling Savings Into Your Calendar
When you schedule your spending, you spend deliberately. When you schedule your savings or investments, you don’t forget to move the money. Here’s how to set it all up:
1. Set Budgeting Reminders
How often do you put together a monthly budget? Never? It should be every month, and your calendar can make sure you don’t forget.
Budgeting is the best way to meet your financial goals, whether it’s buying a house or getting out of debt. Calendar apps can help you budget like clockwork.
Set a calendar event for the first of the month, and set it to repeat. When the first of the month rolls around, check how your past month’s expenses compared to the targets you set. If your targets are too low — or your spending too high — adjust them.
2. Schedule “No Spend” Days
Stop me if this sounds familiar: Some days, you don’t spend a dime. You go to work, come home, cook dinner, go to bed, and then get up and do it all over again. Other days, you spend a boatload. You make a snack run, get a haircut, and take your significant other out on a date.
The average American spends thousands of dollars a year on luxuries. It’s fine to indulge on occasion. But it’s also important to balance those splurges out with no-spend days.
Plot both types of days on your online calendar. If you need a break on Friday, let yourself go to the mall. But make sure that the prior Thursday and the following Saturday, you give your bank account a break.
3. Reminder To Cancel Subscriptions
Count up the number of subscription services you pay for: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, BarkBox, The New York Times — there’s five already.
If you use them, enjoy them. But if you don’t, your online calendar can help you remember to cancel them.
The average American wastes $364 dollars a year on unused subscriptions. This happens when you purchase a service and forget that it renews every month.
Whenever you sign up for a subscription, use your online calendar to mark the day before the subscription renews. This reminder will prompt you to cancel the subscription if you no longer want to use it. If you decide to keep using it, set your calendar reminder to repeat monthly so you won’t forget about it in the months to come.
This is just as valuable at work: Businesses use subscription services for everything from project management software to cloud storage. As a manager, reminding yourself of those subscriptions makes it possible to keep tabs on whether the team is actually using them. If you no longer need them, your online calendar will remind you to cancel them.
4. Keep A Healthy Savings Account
Fewer than half of all Americans have enough savings for an emergency of $1,000 or more. Although inequality is at the core of the issue, it’s also true that many Americans aren’t diligent savers.
When you lack the funds to cover an emergency, you wind up taking out loans that accrue interest. Your online calendar can help you prepare for whatever disaster might befall your bank account.
Just as with budgeting, set a monthly reminder. Perhaps the day after each pay period, you move 10% of your paycheck into your savings account.
Do the same for your other savings accounts. If you’re aiming to buy a home, the best way to build up to that down payment is by socking away a certain percentage of your income each month.
5. Make Time for Other Pursuits
It’s a cliche because it’s true: Time is money. Every hour you don’t spend worried about making your appointments is one you can spend actually making money.
Some of the most popular calendar apps offer time analytics for this reason. Once a month, take a look at who you’re meeting with and how much time you’re spending on different types of tasks.
This is true on the business and on the personal side. If you see that you haven’t met your financial advisor once this year, then it’s probably time to check in. At work, you may be spending too much time in IT meetings and too little time talking to the sales team.
Your calendar can’t tell you how to spend your time, but it can help you spend it more intentionally. And when it comes to your finances, your intentions make all the difference.