Having enough time to get everything done is tricky business. Everyone is busy and our to-do lists are long. Sometimes, through better time management we can free up a little time to get more things done. Other times, you have maxed out the time management skills and still can’t make the hours of the day meet your list of to-dos. When that happens, you’ve reached the point that you need to seek out additional help getting things done. Enter Supermom Shuffle! I’ve come up with a list to guide you through how to successfully buy back time for yourself and your family.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “I have more than enough time to do all the things I need and want to do.” And if they did say that, I feel certain they are lying! I think everyone wishes that they had more time. People always say “I just don’t have the time” or “I’m just too busy!” But with a few simple tweaks of the schedule and taking a little help from a few services, you will find your schedule opening up a bit! Some of these options will cost you a good bit of money, and some are shockingly cheap!
Methods to Buy Back Time
Grocery Shop Online
Order groceries online?? Oh, this is totally a thing now. This may be the greatest invention of all time as far as I’m concerned! You can get groceries, you can get Costco, you can even get Walmart and Target! This is huge! AND CHEAP! These places do the shopping for you and you simply have to pull into the parking lot and pick up the items and pay, while you are in your car!
Sorry for all the exclamation points. But… you don’t have to go in the grocery store. Like… at all. That’s right, you heard me. Picking the groceries up looks like this: I’m playing Candy Crush on my phone, listening to the radio, drinking a Starbucks in the warm comfort of my car, while the magical grocery fairies… I mean the people who grocery shopped for me for the last hour(s) loads the groceries into my car. For me. I never left the car. For about $5. I’m so jealous this wasn’t a thing when I had little newborn babies.
And to even beat that…
And now, I can even top that they do the grocery shopping for you. Some of these places deliver to your house now. TO. YOUR. HOUSE. For just a slightly higher fee. For our area, it’s about $7-$10. So, for about five more dollars, I don’t even need to get out of my jammies, and groceries magically appear at my house? Get out of here! Sign me up!
Also, if you are me, you will probably save at least triple the amount of the delivery fee, if not more, by simply not walking into the store. I don’t see all the new bright and shiny foods to try. The candy aisle doesn’t wage its war with me. I don’t buy 157 rolls of toilet paper I didn’t need but bought because they were a great price that I’ll later have nowhere to store. (Ahemmm… that’s not me I’m talking about. I wouldn’t do that and then later have to stack the toilet paper up in various spots in the garage… not me… nope… uh uh.)
So, while this costs a small amount, it saves you several hours a week. To me, this is a solid win, all the way around. Online groceries for President! Or at the least a Nobel Peace Prize.
This idea is actually FREE. Take turns dropping off and picking up kids from school. You could easily buy yourself an hour each day not having to sit in school traffic! Maybe you have a little one that needs a nap still in the afternoons, but another mom doesn’t. Strike a deal that you take the kids to school in the mornings and she picks them up in the afternoons and that way your little guy napped in peace. And you and the other carpooling mom both opened up some free time each school day.
If carpooling isn’t your jam, that’s totally fine too. It’s definitely not mine. Plus, we are still in the pre-k years, so as we grow, it might be a more feasible option. What I do instead is I make myself a little basket for the car to keep stuff for me to do while I wait in line for my child, so I can maximize productivity. I can write out a few cards to mail, order my groceries online, keep a notebook for outlining ideas or to do lists. Or I can use that time as some self-care time. I’ll relax and listen to my favorite radio or podcast. Or I’ll call someone I’ve been missing and say hello. Or if my littlest is with me, I’m probably on my fourth round of “Wheels on the Bus” sing along.
This is kind of fun and can really be a huge time saver. Get a group of five or so moms with similar size families, and have a meal swap. Every attendee brings 2 different meals for the participating families. For example, I’ll make lasagnas and enchiladas, and I’ll make 5 of each. One of each for my family, and the other four go to the swap meet to the other families. At the end of the meet, you now have 10 different meals to put in the freezer for your family. It didn’t cost you any extra, and you only made one mess in the kitchen one time.
I love, love, love doing this. It gets you new meals to try and totally breaks up a boring food rut. A little planning is required though. You don’t want to end up with five different spaghetti dishes. To avoid that, simply email around a spreadsheet to all participants so everyone can sign up for what they want to make. On that same sheet, you can note any food allergies for any family, plus on ours, you can note any foods you just hate or picky eaters. And we schedule our swaps for 6-8 weeks out, so we can fully take advantage of any grocery sales for our ingredients. So, really, no added grocery costs (you were going to buy groceries for meals anyway) and the time saved is several hours, at least!
Moderately Expensive Ideas:
Meal Delivery Kits
Meal delivery kits are fun too. They are a little more expensive than going to the grocery store, but certainly not by much. These are all the places you see commercials for all the time like HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Plated, etc. You subscribe and they send you all the raw ingredients, in the correct measurements, to make a meal you’ve chosen from their selection.
If you like trying new recipes, this is the way to go. This way you don’t spend a ton of money and time looking for ingredients you aren’t familiar with, and buying a large container of that ingredient when you may end up not liking the dish. This eliminates that risk. And it saves a little time too. The delivery comes right to your house and you can put it straight into the fridge.
Order Take Out
Need to buy yourself a quick one to two hours tonight? Honestly, sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply order in some dinner and use that time to tend to another task. No cooking, no cleanup. These days, for about $5 and the cost of your meal, there is probably a service that will bring you meals from your favorite restaurants. In our town, there are several choices of companies that deliver, and our town isn’t that big!
So, you are happy you didn’t have to cook. The family is happy because they got to pick whatever they wanted from the restaurant. Winning all around! I plan on this at least one night a week and work it into our budget. No matter how much I plan, there will come the day of the week that I need some help, and this is the perfect solution to buy me time!
Order The Cake
For whatever reason, I decided in life that somehow I was “cheating” if I didn’t make the dessert or cake from scratch. Even using a boxed mix seemed like a sin. I think I get this from my mom. She’s Betty Crocker in the flesh and that’s what I grew up with. It’s taken me 38 years, but I finally learned, I don’t really like baking very much. I LOVE the finished product. But getting to the finish line? HATE IT! It’s just not my jam.
And birthday cakes? That need to be decorated and look perfect? Oh, I’ll stress for days. I still blame my carpal tunnel surgery on a very particular Mickey Mouse cake I made for my youngest child’s first birthday. He didn’t eat a bit of it. Not one. And lots of other people at the party didn’t either because it was too pretty to cut up, or maybe because it had black icing. Who wants to eat black icing?? And I didn’t even enjoy making the cake! It’s too much pressure!
All of this was to say, if you need a birthday cake, buy one from the bakery. It will look awesome, it will taste awesome and you’ve saved yourself untold amounts of time. Many, many hours. And by the time you buy all the ingredients, the pan, the icing components, and the décor components, I dare you to tell me buying the cake cost too much. You walk in the door of the bakery, pay for the cake, stroll to the car with the cake, and watch everyone go nuts for it at the party.
Buy The Cookies
I’m sure your cookie recipes are great. But have you had Pillsbury cookies? I mean, they are knocking it out of the park on a regular basis. Buy a log of dough for $3.50, slice and bake, and call it good. Your family will enjoy warm cookies from the oven with you. They don’t care if you made them from scratch. And the dough you bought is probably more delicious than any cookie you might make!
Got a bake sale at the school? I implore you, go buy the cookies at the grocery store bakery. Just don’t do this to yourself. Take them out of the box, make them look like your own, take them to the bake sale with your head held high, and celebrate that you slept three more hours last night than any other mom at that sale did!
Clothing Subscription Services
No time or desire to shop for clothes? But you need to keep your clothes updated and fashionable? There are tons of online subscription options now. There’s StitchFix, Rent the Runway, ThredUp, etc. Most send a full outfit each month or items you pick out, in the mail to your house. From there, you pick and choose what you want to keep or return, and then act accordingly.
So, really, this doesn’t cost you anything per month that wasn’t already in your clothing budget. For example, with StitchFix, I think the monthly service is $20, but, if you buy any item in your box, you get $20 credit towards your purchase. You get an online stylist that picks out the outfits for you after you fill out a questionnaire. And as time goes on, they really zero in on your perfect style.
As for services like Rent the Runway, you are borrowing the clothes. I think this is so awesome for stay at home moms that don’t necessarily need to keep the wardrobe as sharp as an executive might. As an example, if you have a crazy fancy event to go to and you don’t want to buy a dress that you will only wear once ever, you can go online and pick your outfit, rent it, wear it, and return it, for very little money.
Plus, did I mention that with any of these options, you never even walked in a store??? No dressing rooms with bad lighting, no taking the kids with you. To me, that’s priceless.
These next ideas will cost quite a bit more money. But they also buy you quite a bit more time. In some cases many, many hours.
Send out the dry cleaning. Just do it. Take the plunge. There’s nothing worse than ironing. (First world problems, I get it.) Plus, the clothes never ever look as good as it does from the dry cleaners. And it takes a long time every day to iron. And you guessed it, now there are dry cleaning services that will pick up and drop off to your house! To. Your. House. Get that? You put dirty clothes in a bag. And they pick it up off your porch. And then magically a few days later, they bring it back to you clean clothes that are starched and pressed and ready to go.
You are more than welcome to take the clothes and drop off and pick them up, and it would probably save a little money for this service. But for me, not having to pick it up and drop it off with two kids in tow? Or worry about my husband leaving work in time to pick up the clothes before the cleaners close for the night? Oh, to me, this is priceless. Plus, the time spent ironing, could be spent sleeping. This buys 20 minutes a day at least.
My husband happens to get a kick out of mowing the lawn. He has a riding lawnmower, and he puts in his headphones with his jams, cracks open a cold beer, and speed races through the yard like he’s on a go-cart. It relaxes him and he loves it. But others don’t share his love for yard work and heat and muck and yuck. I’m one of you – I get it. You can usually hire a teenager in the neighborhood relatively cheap for mowing, or you can just get a lawn care service.
What my husband doesn’t love is maintaining the landscaping. So, he mows the lawn, but we occasionally hire out the landscaping work. Especially at the beginning of the season when we are getting everything back in shape from winter. I like planting flowers, but hardcore landscaping is not my thing either. Plus, we don’t know jack about plants or keeping them alive. You could end up saving yourself money if you hire someone that actually knows what they are doing and buys plants that come back every year and that will thrive in your particular yard.
Some or all of these options may or may not be feasible, it all depends on the tolerance in your budget. But do keep in mind too that there are opportunities missed while spending the time on the lawn too. How much could you be making an hour if you worked for those hours while someone else mowed? What could your time be better spent doing? I regularly offer the lawn for hire option for my husband, because I’m sure not going outside to do this work.
Hire a House Cleaning Service
This is by far the most luxurious option to buy back time. But I also think this is everyone’s dream scenario. Someone coming in to keep the house clean? And I did nothing? But my house sparkles? Show me a mom that says “I love cleaning” and I’ll tell you they are LYING. Cleaning is the worst.
House cleaning services come at many levels and prices. You could have someone come in once a week, every other week, once a month or even just a quarterly deep clean. And again, this is a super pricy luxury, so you have to weigh your options carefully. But also remember to weigh your opportunity cost.
For example, let’s just assume that I spend ten hours a week cleaning our home. Meanwhile, I also work from home and I’m a blogger too. Those extra ten hours could change my week for the better in so many ways. In those newly usable hours, I can work the hours to more than cover the cost of the weekly cleaning service and STILL have extra leftover time to devote to my kids. So even if your gut reaction is “We can’t afford that”, I implore you to do some serious math on the opportunity costs and tradeoffs.
To Sum Up
To round this list up, please know, these ideas are just some of my suggestions. I realize some people aren’t in a financial position to do all or even any of these suggestions. And most of these options will definitely cost you some cash.
But do keep in mind, you also have to weigh the costs of saving this time versus all the benefits to reap from your new-found time blocks. Everything in life has a tradeoff, and you have to figure out which trades are worth it to you and which are not. Money can buy you a lot of ways to save yourself some