Five on Friday: Simplifying Shopping

Hi, friends! Happy Friday! To recap the week I’m sharing five ways to simplify shopping. With two little kids at home, running errands isn’t always the most enjoyable experience. I know a lot of moms love their regular Target runs, but the logistics of getting everyone there during the small window when no one is eating or sleeping just isn’t worth the hassle to me. Last year I was frustrated because I felt like every week we were out of things like toilet paper or laundry detergent every few days. I was tired of wasting precious time running to the store multiple times a week just for a few things and decided we needed a new process. So, here are five things I’ve done to simplify shopping:

1. Monthly Trips to Everywhere But the Grocery Store – I made a list of all of the things we buy from Aldi, Sam’s Club, the Fresh Market and Target. And then I decided to only go there once a month (the first week of the month) and buy everything we needed for the entire month. It took 2-3 months to narrow down the quantities we used each month, but I just keep a regular running list in the notes app on my phone and update it as needed. So, instead of spending hours every week at the store, I spend a half day running to four stores, once a month, and then just make weekly grocery runs. Now, I do occasionally make an extra trip to Target or Aldi because the baby changes diaper sizes or runs out of formula, but I try to limit the extra trips to just what is necessary.

2. Order Online & Auto Ship – I have items, like our vitamins, auto shipped on a monthly basis so I don’t even have to think about it. The mental load on mamas these days is crazy, and the less I have to remember, the simpler life is. Plus, everyone knows that Amazon Prime is my best friend. If only they could invent a way for the drones to take empty boxes away before our husbands got home …

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3. Lists of Important Holidays and Occasions – I have a Google doc saved that lists all of the occasions I buy a gift for over the course of a year. It includes everything from birthdays to anniversaries, graduations, Christmas and more. I have a whole Excel file just for Christmas, it’s ridiculous. Every couple of months, I skim through the list and take a couple of weeks to buy the next round of gifts. For example, we have a lot of spring and early summer birthdays and holidays in our family. Instead of being stressed out every week about getting a gift for someone’s birthday that week, in March I buy gifts for every holiday in April, May and June. And they’re all primarily ordered online. Easy peasy.

4. Dollar Tree Cards & Bags – Just like with planning ahead for several gifts at a time, I make one big trip to the Dollar Tree to buy $0.50 cards and $1.00 gift bags for all of the upcoming occasions. I just make a list on my phone and take some time to pick out a card for each person on the list. Are they Hallmark quality cards and bags? No. But I think they’re on the same level as anything you could buy at Target or Walmart for a fourth of the price. Plus, I prefer to spend the extra $$ saved on a $6 card and put it towards the actual gift.

5. Shop the Sales – Just the idea of having to drag my kids to the store to buy clothes for them, let alone for ME, gives me anxiety. No thank you. I do the majority of the kids clothes shopping at the twice a year Weddington Kids Consignment Sale. I follow the Krazy Coupon Lady, a few mom blogs, and sign up for a limited number of store email distribution lists, to hear about the latest trends and sales. I choose to shop from stores that offer free shipping and free returns and order just about everything online (at a discount, #neverpayfullprice).

So, there you have it. Nothing mind blowing, just simple strategies to make life a little easier and free up some time to focus on other things (like cleaning up the goldfish that my kids are currently eating off of the floor…). I’d love to know how you simplify #alltheerrands. Share your tips with me in the comments!

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