Running errands, cashing checks, paying bills….and the list goes on. Yuck, right?
There are SO many other things that I’d rather be doing, but when you’re a busy mom like me with an ever-growing list of “don’t forget to pick-ups”, (or maybe the one who does most of the errands in your house), daily chores are just not at the top of my list of favorite activities. Anything I can do to get organized, stay motivated, and make life easier is important to me.
Every day, before I’ve even had a chance to think about my finances, I’m usually facing a laundry list of other errands. So, what’s a gal to do? Stuff runs out, goes bad, and needs to be replaced, right? I’ve found that the best line of attack is to be strategic. Preparation and organization make the difference between a “quick trip” or a headache and wasted time.
Over the years I’ve streamlined how I run errands which has made this necessary task a lot easier to manage.
Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite strategies for keeping errands simple.
Me, real life, running errands and letting my youngest play on the iPad during our long trip to the city.
Why Organize a Simple Trip Out?
Have you ever found yourself on one side of town, saying:
SHOOT! Why didn’t I do “X” when I was over there by it?!
So you find yourself going back and forth across town, picking up this that, wasting a TON of precious time, not to mention gas money? Before you know it, the day is gone, and it feels like you just drove around all day. Yep, I get it. I’ve been there before, when I didn’t PLAN my errands.
Busy Mom? I Totally Get It.
If you’re at a stage in life of being a busy mom, errands can add to the chaos. You more than likely want to try to do your errands while the kids are in school. (Errands are so much easier alone if possible, right!?)
Or if you have to do them while the kids are with you, having a plan, can cut down on the time spent in the car, getting the kids in & out of the car, and overall… just a more pleasant experience. Hello sane mama! Here are my three BIG things to remember when organizing your errands.
Let’s Plan Your Errands
- Make a List
Sounds simple right? But there’s some method to my madness here.
- Make it an “ongoing” list.
As you think of something that you need to do the next time you’re out, head to your list and make a note of it. This way, when you’re planning to go out, you can check your list to see what you can get done while out!
- Make it digital – Now I love paper more than the next girl. But if it wasn’t for digital lists and my sanity-saving phone apps, I may never get some things accomplished, because most of the time, my cute little notepad is left sitting on my kitchen counter.
Quick tip: Sometimes if I’m in a rush, and I know there’s a chance I’ll forget my paper list at home, I’ll grab my phone and take a photo of my list, so at least the list will be with me in some format.
- Plan Before You Go
- Organize your stops in geographical order. I get it; it sounds crazy. But when I do this, the amount of time and gas money that I save is worth talking about. Try to avoid retracing your steps, working your way through one side of town, and keep in mind heavy traffic areas.
- While planning, keep in mind the business’ hours. If you’re headed to the office supply store, post office, and department store, see which one opens first. This may change up where you start, geographically, with your stops!
- How can you speed up the errand? This may be my favorite. I’m so in love with being able to cross an errand off of my to-do list by taking care of it from home, or being able drive-thru. (Especially if the kids are with me.)
For instance, “banking” is on my errand to-do list at least 3 times a week. So when I find a bank that can speak my love language as a busy mom, I’m golden. This is where Regions Bank comes in! I’m going to tell you a bit about why I love it, and then I’ll give you a few more extras to help with your errand-running, mama!
- Then Don’t Forget…
Here a few other things to think about to organize your errands, before heading out!
- Coupons – Do you have coupons hanging on the fridge, or in the junk drawer, that you want to take with you? Make sure they get in your purse!
- Cold bags – Are you grocery shopping far from home? Or will you have an errand to run after getting groceries? Make sure to grab your cold bags, to help keep groceries cool, while you knock out that list. (Go the extra step, and just keep them in your car for unexpected stops or purchases.)
- Think in Advance – On the night before any major errands or big days, think about the things that could delay your start to the day. For instance, are you low on gas? There’s nothing worse than being on time, or even running late, to get in your car and realize that you’re on empty and you have to stop to fill up before even leaving town. Doing this the night before can save tons of time, let alone stress on an already jam-packed day.
- Is there anything on your list that is marked as a “low-priority” or a “When I’m near there next time” label, that you could tackle while you’re out? (For instance, that shirt you want to return the next time you’re at the shopping mall. Don’t forget to grab it out of the closet before heading out!)
What Tricks do You Have for Running Errands?
Do you have any tips and tricks up your sleeve for running errands? I’d love to hear them, and add them to my day. I’m such a sucker for streamlining processes, and I’d always love to improve them.
Let me know what you do, and how you knock things out on your errands list, in the comments below!
More Organization and Streamlining Tricks?
I’m so happy you’ve popped by! We LOVE organization and life-related hacks, so hop over for more streamlining tips for everyday life! I think you’re also going to love this debt payoff printable to help stay organized and get a bird’s eye view of what’s to pay!