I’m always looking for ways to be efficient and to save the most amount of time and money – since we are a two parent working family with three small children and my husband travel frequently both of these, especially time, are my biggest commodities! I think it’s very interesting to see the ways others save their time and money as well and pick up some new tricks for myself. I was thinking the other day about what I feel like are my biggest money savers and then incidentally as I wrote them out – they also save me the most time too! Here they are:
- Aldis – my sister talked about Aldi’s for years and how great it was and I was never convinced it would help me because it was across town and I could go to Meijer just down the street. Once I finally started going regularly, not only was I blown away each time I would check out, but I also realized that Aldi’s is so much quicker to get through. I can literally drive across town, go in and shop and drive back quicker than a trip to Meijer 5 minutes down the street. Another way it saves me a ton of time is I will run into Aldi’s on my ‘lunch break’, get what I need for 1.5-2 weeks within 30-45 minutes and then just store it at the office until I head home. I don’t go to big stores like Meijer often anymore and when I do I feel so frustrated by the 3 mile walk to the milk and the 59 versions and brands of crackers! I like as little decisions as possible and in general, I’ve liked the majority of the brands at Aldis. I always keep bags in the back of my car and a quarter in my cup holder and I’m good to go whenever. In order to alert you to the savings you get at Aldis – a gallon of milk is around .75 cents and eggs are less than .50 cents. Along this same line, I also buy groceries for my office and rarely eat out for lunch. I am lucky to have a kitchenette in my office so I don’t have to pack a lunch, I just buy easy things to make and keep them in the fridge at work – this saves so much money in fast food costs and also keeps me healthier.
- Target Click and Collect – for the items that I cannot get at Aldi’s, I go through Target and I shop their gift card deals, Target circle discounts and use my RedCard for 5% off each purchase. I buy my diapers, wipes, Tide detergent (I switched from the Aldi’s brands a year ago because I was losing money and time on stained clothes), toilet paper, cascade pods, etc through Target click and collect and buy in bulk to get the free gift cards. I use a lot of the gift cards for home purchases as I’ve worked on upgrading our house over the last two years – such as a new lamp or new ottomans for our living room. I’ve also used it on my next bulk order of diapers. I save so much time just putting in the order and swinging by and I save more money because I don’t go into the store and purchase unnecessary items that are cute.
- Small Home/Closet/Makeup Bag – I just wrote another blog about my small wardrobe, but in general, having a smaller home saves us a TON of money because we are limited in what we can buy and fill up our house with. Our utilities are lower, our care and maintenance is less and I spend less time cleaning it. We also have a 15 year mortgage and that has saved us so much money in interest it’s amazing! Along with my small wardrobe, it takes me very little time to get ready in the morning because I don’t have massive amounts of clothes to choose from and I also keep a very simple makeup routine and small makeup bag so when it’s full I can’t fit any more in it. I buy my makeup from wherever is cheapest – drugstore, Target, Mary Kay and only splurge on my mascara from Origins (I buy the travel version on Amazon for $7 and it’s about the same ounces as the large tube but half the price). This actually saves me time as well because it washes off really easily because it’s all natural and allows my lashes to grow longer. Along this same line, I don’t get my nails done regularly and I only color my hair twice a year or sometimes less. (I’m sure this will change when I start going gray but I haven’t yet!)
- Less stores/rewards programs – I try not to do too many stores, rewards, coupon programs because it just takes too much to manage all of them. I only shop a few stores for the majority of our needs: Express and Old Navy for clothes, Target as mentioned for a lot of decor and home goods and kids items, Aldis for groceries and of course Amazon. It’s not that I won’t shop elsewhere but these are my go to places to keep it simple and spend less time shopping around. I occasionally evaluate if there’s an easier, better, cheaper way to do things but right now these all work for me at the best deals and so I stick to them because too many things is more than I can manage.
- Good, Black Coffee – Several years ago, Brett got me a Ninja coffee maker and it stopped me going to Starbucks regularly other than a special coffee date and for a Peppermint Mocha a few times in the winter! I also gave up milk in my coffee for Lent one year and when I tried it at Easter, I didn’t like it anymore – drinking coffee black saves me time, money and just allows me to drink my favorite drink anywhere without as much fuss. I do occasionally treat myself to a dry cappuccino but I enjoy it so much more because it’s a treat, not normal. I also started setting the pot the night before with a timer and I don’t think it really saves that much time but it does make it so much easier to get out of bed and I love the smell coming down the hallway in the morning.
- Online shopping – I do most shopping online now and it saves tons of money because I don’t go in the store and buy more than I need. I am also the person signing up for all the first time purchase deals with an email, etc. It also saves so much time in just shipping to my door or just parking and having them deliver to my car. I also filter searches so I know I’m getting the best deal by usually starting with clearance first. It has also been my experience that if I put things in my cart, the company often send me an email to purchase it with 10% off or recently they added an additional free item with my purchase. If not, and I don’t need it right away, I just wait for that item to go on sale when I get an email or text alert. This is how I shop for work clothes with Express – if I am looking for something I put it in the cart and when I see everything is at an extra 75% off, I go in and purchase.
So now I want to know what you do to save time and money!