15 Time-Saving Tools Everyone Should Own


Feel like there's just not enough time in the day? Join the club. It feels like I'm going nonstop from before sunup to waaaay past sundown every day. I haven't found a solution that will add any time to my daily routine, but I have found a few ways to cut back on the time I'm spending on tasks that otherwise could be more efficient. (See also: You Need a Time Budget)

Take a look at some of my time-saving solutions here, then let me know how you shave a few minutes off your day in the comments below.

1. Food Processor

I enjoy cooking, and I usually make time to eat a healthy meal at home, but I don't always have the time (or energy) to cut, chop, peel, grate, and slice my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rather, I use a food processor whenever it makes sense to quickly and effortlessly manipulate the ingredients I need so I can speed up the cooking process and feed my hungry tummy faster. KitchenAid makes a great processor (the assortment of blades are beyond helpful), but Ninja also makes a line of powerful food prep products that I personally give my seal of approval.

2. Backup Gadget Batteries

iPhone users in particular know the daily struggle of seeing 1% at 11 a.m. even though they awoke four hours before with a fully charged device. Thus, we're forced to charge our phones multiple times a day to avoid being without power when we're not near a socket. In fact, I've personally spent 20 minutes or more on multiple occasions in an actual Apple store just to get a little juice. A rechargeable, on-the-go battery, however — like the ones from Mophie — drastically cuts back on the instances that I have to stop and recharge my phone when I'm out and about. I plug it in at night and take it with me to avert any low-battery crises.

3. Slow Cooker

There's not much better in this world than coming home after a long, hard day at work to a house that smells delicious because dinner is ready to eat. I don't use my slow cooker much in the summer, but I'm looking forward to stealing a little me-time this fall and winter thanks to my Crock-Pot. I'm also fond of this handy little attachment for slow cookers called the Lid Pocket, which helps me reduce the potential of an OCD attack when I have to put the lid on the counter or sink when taking it off — and I know I'm not alone.

4. Smartphone and Apps

There's no denying that smartphones help us save time in innumerable ways, from eliminating the need to clip coupons and helping us make lists to managing the security on our homes and keeping in touch with friends. If I had to pick my favorite time-saving app though, I think it would be my mobile banking app. When my bank launched it, it was like trumpets from the heavens were playin' my jam. Now I deposit my checks online, transfer money easily, and even sign up for in-app deals that give me cash back on participating purchases.

5. BB Cream

Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com, told me about BB Cream. I didn't know much about this facial cosmetic product before Erin chimed in, but Wiki describes it as an all-in-one replacement for serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock. "I love using a BB cream in my beauty regimen; it has multiple uses, which can help save me time during my morning routine," Erin says. "I love anything that allows me to sleep in a few more minutes."

6. Programmable Coffee Maker

I'm not a coffee drinker myself — to be honest, I don't get it at all — but I don't have to be a java head to know that a programmable coffee maker can shave a good five to 10 minutes off your morning routine if you set it to brew just before you get up or while you're doing your other daily routines. There's also another cool gadget that will help you save time in the morning, the Gamila Impress Coffee Brewer, which gives you the fresh taste of a French Press while you're on the move. I had a chance to try it for another post and even I was impressed.

7. Dishwasher

Most homes have dishwashers nowadays, so let's consider this one an "oldie but a goodie." In fact, it may even be the biggest time saver of them all. Remember when you had to wash and dry all those dishes by hand? How long did it take you — 20, 30 minutes? More? Who has time for that — or dishpan hands? Not me. I just load it and forget it. Until it's time to unload it, of course; you know nobody else in the house is gonna do it.

8. Exercise Equipment

You can save a lot of time and money by buying exercise equipment for your home. I'm not talking about expensive machines, but rather inexpensive pieces like dumbbells, resistance bands, and over-the-door pull-up bars that will help you stay in shape without wasting time going back and forth to the gym multiple times a week. You'll also save anywhere from $10 to $100 a month on gym membership after the initial investment on the equipment.

9. Coin Sorter

My dad used to keep a huge water jug full of coins in his bedroom when I was a kid. Every year or so he would empty it out and spend hours — like many hours! — counting and wrapping the coins so he could take them to the bank and cash them in. Of course, these days you also can take your coins to a public machine and have them sorted and counted for you, but that'll cost you upwards of 8% to 10% of your total take.

A great solution to save time and money is to purchase a coin sorter for your home and get in the habit of throwing your change into it every day. When the coin wrappers are full, set them aside until you're ready to take them to the bank. I'd also advise buying a fairly decent sorter. I purchased a relatively cheap one in the past and it wasn't worth the plastic it cost to make it.

10. DVR

I don't watch much TV anymore, but back in the day I was a junkie, scheduling my activities around my favorite shows. But thanks to my DVR, I now can do more of what I want and need to do — like pump out these Wise Bread articles to help you live a more efficient and fiscally responsible life — because I know I can watch my programs later. Which is perfect for a lazy Sunday when there's nothing else on anyway.

11. Autonomous Cleaning Robots

When Roomba was first invented the line only consisted of a round disc that would move around your carpeted floor and suck up all the junk that you used to have pick up by manually pushing a vacuum cleaner. That product still exists, though it's now a much more advanced version, but the line also include models that will scrub and mop floors and clean pools and gutters. I can't even begin to quantify how much time these little babies save, but it's not drop in the bucket.

12. All-in-One Washer Dryer

I'm not sure if it's okay for a grown man to look at shiny new appliances like a wild cat eyes a juicy piece of fresh meat, but my obsession is real and perhaps a tad frightening. Nonetheless, I'm totally into the high-efficiency, all-in-one washer-dryers. I know I'm not the only person who hates going back and forth to the washer and dryer putting clothes in and taking them out of one machine on another all day long, and this is the perfect solution.

It's important to note, however, that while the machine's TurboWash will dramatically reduce wash time, the dryer (because it's non-vented) may take longer than you're used to. But who cares? When it's done, it's done, and you can get back to your DVR.

13. No-Iron Clothing

I would probably have to iron no-iron clothing — because I'm totally a freak about ironing my clothes — but for people who loathe it but have to do it if they want to look presentable and professional, I think this is a great compromise. If you're skeptical about how well no-iron clothing performs, Good Housekeeping put a few brands to the test, as reported by ABC News.

14. George Foreman Grill

For those of us who live in urban areas and have no room for a real grill — or can't own one altogether — a George Foreman Grill is a great compromise appliance. There's no charcoal to burn of course, so you're saving time there, but the other awesome time-saving aspect of these grills is that they cook both sides of the food at once, essentially cutting your time in the kitchen in half. Plus, reviews have always been on the positive side for the grills, so you know you're getting a good product.

15. Hybrid or Electric Car

I left this entry last because as a society we're still not quite ready to fully embrace hybrid and electric cars, but we are moving steadily in that direction. Alas, once these kind of cars become commonplace, positive results will abound. We won't pollute the environment as much, we won't have to rely on foreign oil so heavily, and we won't have to pop in and out of gas stations as much (or ever if your car is completely electric). You can get where you're going faster and cheaper, which will make your trip all the more relaxing. Aaaah.

Do you have more time-saving items that everyone should own to suggest? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

Re: The Coin Sorter.
If you either have an account at TD Bank or know someone who does, the Penny Arcade machine will sort and count your change for free, issuing a receipt that you/your friend gives to the teller and collects cash (I just did this last week, netting $90, woohoo!).

Guest's picture

Not having a TV to attach to a DRV is a good time saving option too!

Guest's picture

Coin sorter? It is so seldom I use cash it's not surprising that I've never seen one outside of a bank in New Zealand.

Guest's picture

Re: Coin sorter.
All the banks I've ever used have offered free coin sorting. We just take the jar in, they dump it into their machine behind the counter, and it gets deposited and/or changed to cash. I've had this done at large national banks like U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, as well as smaller local banks. I do live in the Midwest, so maybe this is a regional thing?