Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saving Time (and money) for the Busy Mom

Whether you're working or a full-time mom, especially if you have kids, time is just zipping by on you. Everything is just urgent! Add to that the routine you have to keep up everyday.

Before I dish out these time (and money)-saving tips for you, let me make some clarifications. At the moment, I have helpers who make things easier for me. I also have a husband who knows to cook and take care of kids as well so he is a big, big help. I am almost obsessive-compulsive about orderliness so if you are not, that takes away a lot of stress for you. *smile*

Okay, here goes quick and easy-to-read tips for you because you might be in a hurry.

1. Make a list. Oh yes! If you have not discovered the art of making lists, start now. I have a list for practically everything: grocery, school supplies lacking, clothes/equipment for repair and the like. Saves you time and effort on the grocery floor, unless you are like me who likes to walk down the aisles like I'm in a park.

List for grocery: When you grocery, make it every pay period and buy fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and meats every week.

2. Be organized. Create the good habit of having a place for everything under a classification: soap and cleanser shelf, basket for hangers, rags, toys, etc.. Don't mix everything up. My kids now know where is the school supplies box, hamper, toy cabinet, book cabinet, container for their toiletries, hairclips, socks. When we need them to get something, they can go get them and they know where to find it.

When you have a house that is in order, it takes up less time to look for something and is less stress for you.

3. PORTION. When you come from the grocery, slice your meats according to your serving portions and put in separate containers so that you don't have to thaw the whole chicken everytime you want to get a portion of it only. Save you time, electricity and water.

4. JUST IN TIME. It's one of the lean manufacturing principles that we should adapt to our homes. Don't buy too much of something that you know will not be consumed until the next grocery trip. Good for your budget.

5. BUY FRESH BUT KEEP QUICK COOKING ITEMS ON HAND. I like to buy noodles, pasta and canned tuna. It's for those times you just can cook for a few minutes.

6. If you can, buy in big sizes. It all actually depends on your consumption. I buy big sizes for milk, oil, shampoo and toothpaste but still keeping in mind to maintain the "Just in Time" principle. Those sachet packagings are not very okay with me because they get messy, cause too much trash and are more expensive.

7. Learn to multi-tasking a healthy, non-crazy way. I don't mean putting a baby to sleep in a hammock while you iron clothes. No please. I love to multi-task and it's one of the things I have come to learn to do so well. For example, when I cook something that needs some simmering or slow-cooking, I set it up first, saute, if needed, then read, sew, blog or do my exercises while it's simmering. Or set the table while cooking. Or toothbrush while taking out my clothes or the kids' clothes. You could also be taking your coffee break or read while the kids are having an afternoon nap. Works well for us.
Lastly, make your kids an area where they will be safe, they can play or read and where you can still watch them while you are doing other things. Works well on any size of house that you have.

Till next blog!

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