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I Lowered My Bills by $7,000 Within Hours!

Time is money! Learn 6 ways to make a day off pay off.

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money being kicked into savings pile
Adam Voorhes/Gallery Stock
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Sadly, binge-watching Netflix is the closest some of us have been to an escape. But using up vacation days is a nourishing investment in ourselves. Worried about workplace blowback? “There can be pressure on Black women to feel that we can’t afford to take time off because we have to be going above and beyond our white colleagues,” explains Nicole Cutts, a clinical psychologist and success coach in Washington, D.C. “If you are doing good work … realize that even though you don’t completely control others’ perception of you, you still have to take that time off.”

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking days off can help us meet our savings, financial, professional and personal goals in several ways:

  1. Make a deal with your creditors. Take a day to go over your accounts. Then contact your creditors and negotiate. “I spent about four hours doing my free credit report online and going through every single account and calling each and every creditor,” says Lisa Folden, a physical therapist and naturopathic lifestyle coach in Charlotte, North Carolina. She got productive (again) another day when she calculated that she owed $12,000 in hospital and other bills. So she spent time “just calling and talking and making an offer and then kind of seeing what they said back.” She adds, “It was much easier than I expected. I literally got everything settled in one day.” Total saved? About $7,000
  2. Learn something new that could pay off with a promotion or new clients. You can attend a networking event or conference, schedule an informational interview or take a training class. Marla Bautista took advantage of a course on how to make money on Instagram. “I actually did end up getting a writing job from that,” the Fort Drum, New York, resident explains. She says writing her first piece took very little time. Total earned? $125
  3. Create an e-commerce website for your sidehustle. Financial analyst Roxanne Galloway is good with managing workplace numbers and making custom ponchos, including those in pink and green for her sorors. So the Crofton, Maryland, resident used her time off to create a website for her crochet business. “It was a few hours each day,” she says. “Sometimes I would change things, or add things and walk away and let it marinate, and look at it the next day.” Once her site went live, clients could place orders at any time. Total earned? $280 in the first three days.
  4. Pick up a neglected project. Folden had started writing a book years ago but didn’t finish. So she took a day off to get going again. “I took my children to school and daycare and basically stayed at home [on the laptop],” she says, revealing that she did about five straight hours of typing. “It’s what got the wheels kind of rolling.” Her book, a wellness guide for busy moms, was published in 2018. She sells copies independently and on Amazon. Total earned? About $2,500
  5. Cancel unused services. “I had just learned about decluttering your lifestyle,” says Bautista, explaining that she’d started unsubscribing from services and noticed a $14.99 monthly charge that seemed odd. “I was like, ‘I’ve never used the service,’” she says, so she called the company. “They went ahead and canceled it for me,” she notes, and they refunded past payments. Total saved? $180
  6. Hire help to buy you more time. A personal assistant, housekeeper or other service provider can free up the hours you need to renew your energy, develop a new business or put your family first. Gaining breathing space and perspective can connect you to bigger financial and personal goals. Myisha T. Hill of Oakland, California, knows the benefits firsthand. In fall 2018, before she hired a new team member, Hill was working 70-hour weeks between her full-time job and her own business. The process of hiring a new team member took three hours that “included an interview, reference check, a one-hour test project on my personal website and a second interview with my assistant,” Hill explains. “[I’ve] outsourced more tasks in my business, increasing time I can spend with my family,” the single mom of three explains. “Having time off has let me play with them more and engage [with them] and do what they like to do.” Payoff? Priceless