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Save Time and Money By Automating Your Life
Steps to Live an Errand Free Life
Add this to the rule book for busy families: Don't run errands! We all want more free time, but where does the time go? Right now, it goes to errands, small tasks that have to be done. Can you live without errands? Probably not, but you can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend on them. Follow this process to identify and eliminate the most annoying parts of your week. Rinse and repeat to find all sorts of free time.
Step #1: What Errands Annoy You the Most?
The first step is to identify the errands that annoy you the most. Maybe you hate paying bills. Maybe you hate grocery shopping, or cleaning your house. Begin by making a list of these errands. Make a top 5 list. The list might look like:
1. Grocery Shopping
2. Paying Bills
4. Car Maintenance
5. Going to the Dentist
Step #2: Identify Easy Automation
Circle the ones that can obviously be automated. For example most people know that bills can easily be set up for automatic payments and deductions. What you may not think about is how much money this can save you in addition to being convenient. If you currently pay 5 bills (water, gas, electricity, cable, water) a month that is $30 a year you are spending on envelopes and stamps. Additionally, some of these bills may be forgotten costing you an additional late fee.
Some automations may not be easy to see, but they are there. For example, many cities have grocery delivery through online services. Save your grocery and quickly click just what you need. The groceries show up at your door.
Step #3: Everything Can be a Little Automated
Some of these tasks cannot be automated at entirely. For example, you still have to go to the dentist. No one else can sit in the chair for your. But you can schedule dentist appointments far in advance, even years in advance. Why would you schedule appointments years in advance? Part of what makes an errand a pain is all the thought that goes into making it happen. You have schedule, reschedule, move your life around to make it happen. Scheduling an errand far in advance makes it take less mental energy, so you spend less time on it.
Similarly, scheduling a day to take care of car maintenance or cleaning, makes the task somehow less painful. It's all done at one time and you know when it is going to happen.
Step #4: Bundle Small Errands
If you've ever run out for batteries you know the value of this step. Small errands, running out for one or two items, are a killer. A dozen of these pop up a week and if you went out every time, it would eat up all your free time. Instead, bundle these errands and make one trip. The problem is that you don't often remember the little things you need. Technology provides two solutions to this problem. Free services like Reqall can help you use your cell phone to remember what you need. Many of these errands can be eliminated by making an Amazon order for what you need.
Step #5: Subscribe and Save
Some of those small errands are for things we need every month anyway. Amazon has a helpful service to eliminate this errand. Their subscribe and save service allows you to sign up for regular delivery of items you use every month. Plus you save 5% for these items. Some items under their Amazon Mom (dads can sign up too!) offer 20% discounts on subscriptions. The mental energy that goes into remembering to buy deodorant or hand soap disappears. Someone delivers them right to your door.
Step #6: To Pay is to Save
It may seem counter-intuitive, but paying for someone else to do small errands can pay off for you. If you hate to clean, explore cleaning services. It may be worth it to you to never clean again. The time you save may be an opportunity to spend more time with your family or time building a side business.
Step #7: Enjoy the Automated Life
Automate the the bad parts and enjoy more of the good parts. These steps can help you find hours every week of free time. What you do with your free time is up to you. Enjoy!