Mark Zuckerberg wears a grey t-shirt and jeans every day. Barak Obama always wears a grey or navy suit. Fashion executive Jenna Lyons always eats the same lunch, while writer Danielle Steele always has the same breakfast. 

Why are these famous and successful people so "boring"? The answer is, they’ve learned that creating a simple daily routine to cover the basic stuff of life leaves them free to work on the important, interesting and creative challenges that make up their life work. 

Each day, we are forced to make thousands of decisions — from what to eat, to what to wear, to what to buy. By streamlining some of those decisions into simple, repeatable routines, we can free up time and energy to do things that really matter to us. Today, read the first in a 5-part series to learn more about the power of routines, and how they can help you be more productive and less stressed. 

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Three ways that routines can help you save money 

Can routines save you money? Well, if the routine is buying a grande mocha latte every afternoon at 3:00 pm, it probably won’t. However, there are many ways in which establishing a solid routine can help you save money. Here are three: 

1. A routine prevents impulse buys. For example, if you get into a routine of making your own coffee every day, it’s much easier to say "no" to the pricey coffee shop on the corner. Likewise, packing a lunch is far cheaper and healthier than buying lunch out every day. 

2. Routines prevent decision fatigue that can lead to poor decisions. Willpower isn’t infinite. Studies show that we only have so much willpower to make good decisions each day and once it’s gone, it’s easy to make poor choices. The cure is to establish routines so you don’t have to make as many decisions each day. For example, eat the same breakfast and lunch every workday. By simplifying some choices, you save your decision-making abilities and willpower for genuinely important decisions. 

3. Routine maintenance helps prevent surprise repair bills. Whether it’s your car, your home, or even your own health, routine maintenance helps prevent big repair bills. For example, establishing a routine of good oral hygiene, including regular flossing, brushing and trips to the dentist, helps head off expensive dental work. Maintaining your car, with fluid top-ups, oil changes, fresh filters, and so on, keeps it on the road for longer.

While routines can save you money, beware of routine expenses you don’t need or want. For example, do you have a pricey gym membership you don’t use? A magazine subscription for something you don’t read? Review all of your recurring expenses. Make sure you only pay for things you enjoy and use regularly. Otherwise, if they just don’t fit into your routine, cancel them. 

Next time, join us as we look at ways to establish routines with your child.