You know that saying, “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”? Turns out it was originally said by Lucille “I Love Lucy” Ball, who was the first woman to run a major television studio. She knew about being busy.

I suspect what she said is true because our brains get good at making snap decisions about what’s worth doing and what isn’t – that lightning-fast trade-off between the thing to do and the time it takes to do it. Yes, no. Yes, no. You go for one thing, you pass on another.

It’s Money Week, and there’s a lot on. What’s worth doing? If you’re not sure where to start, this Fighting Fit Check-up will help.

Lately I’ve been playing with the whatsmynumber.org.nz site, which lets you crunch your energy costs and switch to a cheaper option. But after I “found my number”, so to speak, switching still didn’t seem worth the effort. All the time spent filling in those forms would take away from me riffing Hendrix tunes on my son’s Stratocaster…

Then I heard that switching is as simple as a phone call to the energy company you want, and they’ll do all the work for you. And suddenly it seemed worth doing – the equation changed.

If all eligible households had switched last year, we could have saved $281 million, with many households finding annual savings of more than $300!

The mortgage industry, too, is fiercely competitive these days. It literally pays to shop around. And if doing all the legwork yourself puts you off, mortgage brokers should be able to shop for the best deals for you. (A key thing to ask a broker is which lenders they work with, so you make sure you get as much of the market as possible.)

But let’s stay focused on what all this shopping around is for. There’s really no point in scrimping here and there if the savings are just going to be absorbed into the black hole of everyday spending. The point is to build a buffer.

Since Money Week is about financial fitness, think of saving as building your core. The core strength that comes with having an emergency fund gives you the resilience to face all those unexpected expenses that crop up.

But even more than that, it’s been proven that having that slack in your budget frees up your mind’s bandwidth so you can worry less about paying the bills and make better money decisions overall. It’s like a boost to your IQ.

And with all of us so busy, who couldn’t use some slack?

All the same, I’m sure we’ll get it done. We’re busy people, after all.

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