The Hidden Cost of not Having a Morning Routine

Disorganization comes at a steep price.

The benefit of a morning routine, as I’ve always understood it, is to make you feel organized and in control of your day. But apparently there’s more to it than that. According to finance blogger CityFrugal, implementing a solid morning routine and sticking to it (that’s key!) can shave an impressive five years off your working career, enabling you to retire sooner.

What? How? You’re probably scratching your head right now (as I was when I first read that claim). But there is some interesting logic to it – as well as some math. Here’s why.

Imagine a routine-less morning, as so many of us have on a regular basis. You hear the alarm, hit snooze, sleep too long, then bolt out of bed when you realize you’ve slept in. You rush around trying to get ready, don’t have time to make breakfast or coffee, grab a cab instead of hopping on public transit to get to work, buy food on the way, and collapse in your office chair, a frazzled mess.

At that point it is difficult to collect one’s thoughts and focus. You drift through the morning, doing the easiest tasks, scrolling on social media, maybe doing some online shopping when you hit a slump. You buy your lunch because you didn’t have time to make it at home. You’re drifting aimlessly, like a jellyfish. But nobody should be a jellyfish at work!

“This jellyfish approach is costly,” says CityFrugal. “That’s at least a $12 cab ride to work, another $8 on breakfast and a coffee, a $15 salad for lunch, and maybe a boredom purchase of $15 on Amazon during the day as you’re feeling low energy and out of sorts. In one day, not having a morning routine has cost you $50.”

Say you do this a couple times a week, and you’ve wasted $100. Compare this to a strict morning routine in which you tackle the day like you own it.

Wake up early, spend time meditating, journalling, exercising, showering, preparing food for breakfast and lunch, walking or biking to work while listening to a podcast, arriving energized and motivated at work. Your entire day is likely going to be more productive as a result of that stellar start; you already feel like you’ve accomplished some real work. Cost? Zero dollars.

Now comes the math, via CityFrugal:

“To see the cost of a weekly expense (including foregone investment returns) over a 10-year period, you multiply $100 by 753 = $75,300.”

Compare that to a routine that saves you $100 per week. How much shorter would your mandatory working career be if you earn $80,000 in take-home pay and currently save 20% of your income? Your working career would shrink from 36.7 years to 31.1 years. That’s more than 5.5 years of freedom!

Wow. If that doesn’t jolt you out of bed faster than an alarm clock, I don’t know what would. And that doesn’t even touch on the money-earning potential of adding an extra hour or two to your day by getting up earlier – a perfect time to develop a side-hustle or small business that could also augment those retirement savings significantly.

Everyone has different jobs, interests, and priorities, and your unique morning routine should be shaped to fit these, but the takeaway remains the same. Spending money because you’re disorganized ends up costing you far more than the initial outlay; you lose potential gains in the process.

Thanks to CityFrugal for this lightbulb moment!

by Katherine Martinko

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Val P
Val P12 days ago


RK R15 days ago

One rule the Marines instilled is we do more before 6AM than most humans do the rest of the day.

Michael F

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

Ruth R
Ruth R15 days ago

"walking or biking to work while listening to a podcast" Why a podcast? Why not just look at what's going on around you, listening to birds singing (if any), noticing what's in shop windows, seeing if an elderly person needs help crossing the road, etc, etc. You can listen to that podcast in the evening...

Sherry Kohn
Sherry K15 days ago


Elizabeth Potvin
Elizabeth Potvin15 days ago


Mona M
Mona M15 days ago

Thank you, I call "morning routine" a way of life.

Christine Stewart

My routine is getting myself coffee, and then canned food for the cats! Then onto the litter boxes!

Anne M
Anne Moran15 days ago

Being retired,, I don’t have a specific routine, other than sleep as much as I can,, usually 6hrs,, get up, have a protein shake for breakfast/lunch, then do whatever.. - Although I do volunteer work two days a week, which kinda puts me in a routine for a couple of days.. - No biggie...

Renata B
Renata B15 days ago

This is all science fiction to me. Nothing that concerns me. Apart from the fact that I have been self-employed for 12 years and i work from home, I have always been organised and even when I worked in Central London I would have never ever imagined to take a taxi. Just to give an example. I never had breakfast at home because I was already too busy to feed all our cats and sort things out for them. My breakfast were sandwiches that also went for lunch and they were prepared the night before, kept in the fridge and eaten at work in my breaks. Anyway, I have always been very organised in my life. I couldn't survive a day in the confusing fog described above. And I would certainly never employ anyone in such a confusional state. I can't stand people who arrive late and have zero patience and understanding for them. Meaning not for those who arrive late as one off, those who always have some excuse.