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In this episode, one woman shows how she saves hundreds of dollars a month thanks to her super early morning routine. For more daily routines that can help you save money, click here:

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Based on an essay by Keertana Andraj:

Video narration by Victoria Hogan

The Financial Diet site:

Making It Work is brought to you by Skillshare, an online learning community for creators with thousands of classes in design, business, and more.

I want to begin with a caveat. I do not believe that everyone in the world should wake up at 4:00 AM.

I began this routine due to particular circumstances. And now, after following it diligently for a year, I've realized that it has helped me to save money in a variety of ways. You don't need to adopt my routine in order to adopt these money-saving strategies.

And I hope others will be able to tailor these to their schedules, too. All that being said, I wake up at 4:00 AM every weekday. This is primarily because I work in finance, so I'm expected to work market hours despite living on the West Coast.

This is also partially because I've chosen to live in San Francisco, despite the fact that my office is located farther south. Furthermore, I do not own a car. I'm from the East Coast, and the act of moving across the country was daunting enough to me without having to also buy a car, find parking, and get insurance.

As such, I wake up at 4:00, get ready for work, catch a bus to the train station, get on the first train that leaves from San Francisco, and walk 10 minutes to my office once I've reached my station. All in all, I can usually get to work at 5:45 AM. I don't always need to be in the office at 5:45 AM, though.

Sometimes I have meetings at 6:00, and do need to be in the office that early. But for the most part, I stop by the gym at 6:00 before heading to work, and manage to be at the office at 7:00 every morning, giving me enough time to prepare notes for our daily meetings at 8:00. I can leave work as early as 3:00 PM, which I generally do.

And if I'm able to time the train and bus correctly, I get home by 4:00 PM. What this schedule means for me is that I typically need to be in bed by 8:00 PM if I hope to get a sufficient amount of sleep. I know there are a lot of people who can function on seven, even six, hours of sleep.

But I need a full eight, ideally even a full nine. As a result, from Sunday to Thursday, I find myself declining invites to happy hours, dinners, or other events that would otherwise cause me to rack up spending during the week . Most of my friends in the city work for tech companies.

So they get off work around 6:00 PM. If they want to meet for happy hour at 6:30, even if I manage to pack my breakfast and lunch, and lay out an outfit for the next day before I leave, I almost never want to stay for just one hour. What's more, I need to commute back to my place, change into pajamas, remove my makeup, brush my teeth, etc.

I enjoy having my nighttime routine. And having to rush it and sacrifice sleep just to spend an hour or two with friends isn't worth it to me. Not when I can make plans with the same friends on a Friday night, or sometimes during the weekend.

Just think about how often during the week you go to happy hours, meet friends for dinner, see a movie, or participate in some other type of after-work activity. Even if your meal prepping your own breakfast and lunch, there is still ample opportunities to spend money after work hours. Now think about how much money that adds up to, especially over the course of a full year.

If you're spending $10 to $25 a night on happy hour or dinner, that's easily $40 to $100 a week outside of meal prepping or weekend expenditures. In a month, that adds up to $150 to $400. And in a year, that's close to $1,500 to $5,000.

My schedule has allowed me to prioritize my health, my budget, and my overall well-being. I spend my afternoons and evenings cooking myself dinner, catching up on TV, speaking to my East Coast family, and volunteering, since I have a lot of spare time during which other people are typically at work. What's more, the fact that I don't spend extra money at all between Sunday evening and Friday afternoon, outside of my transport costs, which I count as monthly costs versus daily or weekly costs, since I pay for monthly transit passes, means that I'm able to make the most of my weekends and spend during them guilt-free.

After all, I don't get to see those friends or participate in those activities otherwise. As I stated, I don't think the schedule will work for everyone. But I do think perhaps others who work in finance or investment banking can relate.

Having to work specific hours or specific days of the week means you likely have a different schedule than other young professionals and your friends. But for me, that lack of alignment with schedules makes it easier to save money than if my schedule was similar to my friends. If you're really hoping to save money in a big way, try changing your schedule.

Maybe begin going to the gym before work and going to bed earlier, or begin going to the gym afterward during typical happy hours. Or find volunteer opportunities to occupy your time outside of work on weekdays, so that you're busy pursuing passions, rather than spending your hard-earned money. Despite the many difficulties and trials of my schedule, it has allowed me to save a significant amount.

I genuinely believe that modifying your schedule can be the major difference that allows you to begin saving hundreds of extra dollars every month. It's certainly worth a try. For two weeks, adopt a different schedule and see if it allows you to save more.

I almost guarantee you'll see a change somewhere. Whether you're looking for the best productivity tips to rejuvenate your day-to-day life, or simply want to upgrade your creative or professional skills, you should check out Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community that offers thousands of classes for nearly anything you'd want to learn, from the very basics of photo editing to ramping up your existing design skills, to crafting the perfect personal essay.

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