Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tips to Automate Your Shopping Life!

Life can get so crazy busy, especially for those who are in what I call the "crunch" stage of life.  The "crunch" is basically the stage where you have little ones needing a lot of attention, homes, work, other family members, schools, extracurriculars, volunteer responsibilities, basically everything surrounding you needs you, all at the same time.  Add on top of that time to take care of yourself, which you know and tell yourself should be happening first - it can be quite stressful!  I love looking for ways to simplify my life, even in the littlest of ways.  Shopping for groceries and household goods is a part of every week (sometimes every day!) tasks, and many of them can be automated. When you automate it's like having little minions working for you!  Ideally I'd like to reach Just In Time (JIT) automation.  Picture a pantry that fulfills with your staple goods right when you need them, without the hassle of a shopping trip.  Technology is not exactly there yet, but with some shopping tools that are out there we can get pretty close!  I try to only go to stores close to home or that are on my way to or from another destination.  I have 2 stores within 5 minutes drive from my house that really have almost everything I would need throughout the week.  This saves time & gas.  I also am trying to avoid going to stores whenever possible, especially with my kids.  Let's just say marketing works wonders on them!  I also am trying to avoid the stores that suck me in with consumerism as well.  Why yes, I "need" that item at Target! - A trap I've fallen into one too many times!  Also, bigger bulk items are not always better! Here are some ways I have automated my shopping life.  I have found online options to curb my consumerism, meet my family's needs and save time and money.  (Many of these are affiliate links - if you have benefited and learned from my posts, I really appreciate you using these links to help me keep this blog going strong!)

1)  Amazon:  I absolutely love Amazon.  If you use Amazon Smile, your school can get a percentage of the sales too.  I have some items on Subscribe & Save, which is great for automation.  I schedule items like paper goods, shampoo, body wash and other personal care products to come at set times. Some monthly, others every other month, others every 3 months.   Being a Prime member with free 2-Day shipping is also so handy for gifts and one time purchases.  Case in point - my daughter has a Birthday party to attend this weekend.  Last night I logged on and we chose the gift for her friend.  It will arrive on Wednesday, with plenty of time to wrap & make a homemade card - so easy!  Also check out their streaming media content and Kindle book rentals.  

2)  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Boxes - Farm Fresh to You:  If you are long time follower of my blog, you will know I have tried lot of CSA services.  I am loving Farm Fresh to You for so many reasons.  Great quality organic produce, customizable boxes, amazing add-on products, and best part - delivered to your door!  Their online system is easy to use.  You can set up a delivery schedule, put deliveries on vacation hold and set preferences.  Use code KARE1722 to save $10 off your first box.  I often will plan dinners based around what we get in our produce box.  I find we eat healthier when I have the menu centered on healthy, organic produce. 

3)  Thrive:  If you have not checked out Thrive Market yet, you need to.  It's like having a Whole Foods at your finger tips!  Healthy options at great prices, and delivered to your door.  Thrive is great for healthy convenience and packaged foods, vitamins, personal care products, eco-friendly cleaning and household supplies, and healthy cooking staples.  

4)  Scrumpt:  Since using Scrumpt I no longer have to plan my kids school lunches - it's all done for me!  Created by a pediatrician, Scrumpt offers healthy and yummy options for kids lunches, delivered right to your door.  My kids love them!  Each delivery includes items pre-packaged for each lunch along with a little "recipe" card (instructing me what to include or how to assemble an easy to assemble item - like a turkey pinwheel), napkins, and a shopping list of the fresh items you will need (like veggies, fruit, yogurt, cheese). Some items marked with a green dot you just stick in the fridge.  I use a plastic shoe box to put the fridge items in, and another plastic shoe box for the non-refridgerated items.  Having one less meal to plan (x2 kids!) is so worth it!  If you try them out, tell them Neat Doctor sent you.

5)  For those uber crazy weeks, to the rescue!  Check for delivery in your area.  You just log on, place your grocery order, choose a delivery window, and poof!  Groceries at your door.  I was so grateful for this service when my littles were babies.  I still enjoy delivery during those times where I barely have time to think! The only negative about Vons - beware if you buy Vons Gift Cards through your school Scrip program.  The delivery service does not accept gift cards as a form of payment. (I hope they re-think that strategy!)  They also discontinued their eScrip program,  So, although I do enjoy delivery, my store loyalty has drifted to other more Scrip friendly stores.  I like making my money work the most for me, and if our school gets a portion of something I would normally buy anyways, that's a win-win!  

6)  Shaving - My husband and I have tried both Dollar Shave Club and Harry's.  These services provide low cost & high quality products while automating the shipment of your shaving needs. They are wonderful services and we are very happy with the products.  I absolutely love the Dr. Carver's Shave Balm from Dollar Shave Club.  The nice part about having these services is the specialty products and automation factor.  The goods arrive to your door on a schedule you set = one less thing to think about!  Now, if you really want to save some cash, I have used the basic razor by Dorco which I purchased on Amazon.  It is the exact same razor as the Dollar Shave Club basic model, at a lower price.  However, this item is not offered as an Amazon Subscribe & Save option.  You get a lot of blades, but you will have to store them and remember to check when stock is low.  If you want to not have to think about that and be truly automated, that's where the value of DSC and Harry's really shines through!  

7)  Quip for Oral Care - While you certainly can get quality oral care products from Amazon, Thrive, and other sources, there's another specialty company out there focused on oral care - Quip!   I love their focus on quality toothbrushes.  Their electric toothbrushes are a fraction of what you would pay for some popular models, plus you can set up automatic delivery, exactly when you need them.  

8)  Personal Care:  There are so many choices for personal care products out there,  Here I highlight my 3 favorites: Arbonne, Modere, & Honest Co.  Arbonne offers fabulous skin care, makeup and nutritional products,  Their Vegan shakes are our family's favorite!  Modere gets an A+ in my book for automation - check out their app which allows for bar code scanning for reorders.  Getting low on a product?  No problem!  Simply scan & order from your phone!  If baby products like diapers and wipes are on your shopping list, Honest Co., offers some great options for automating your baby care needs,  They have some great cleaning and household products too.  

9) Clothing:  I used to love to shop for clothes.  Now, with my busy mom life, not so much!  My preference now when I need a new outfit is to shop my favorite retailers online,  It's so mice to sit in my recliner late at night and get just what I need.  When I need a little fashion inspiration or boost to my wardrobe, Stitch Fix to the rescue!  Fill out a style profile, and a stylist sends you 5 items to try on.  Keep them all and receive a 20% discount.  Don't like any of them?  Just send them back in the packaging provided, minus a $20 stylist fee.  Workout clothes are also a staple for me.  Fabletics offers some fun new fashions to boost your workout wardrobe.  This is a subscription service, but you can cancel anytime.  
Also check out some men's fashion boosting options:  Trunk Club, Bombfell, Fashion Stork, and Men's Style Lab.

I hope you enjoyed these ideas on how to automate your shopping!  Cheers to saving time & money!