Nine Strategies for Saving Time and Effort

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  July 30, 2014 — 2 Comments

I may be creative, I may be thrifty, but at my heart I am truly one thing: lazy. And wherever I can find opportunities to do so I employ strategies to save myself time and effort. Some of these are simple, but some you may not have thought of. And if you’ve got tips to share please do! I need all the help I can get


  1. I keep lists on my phone. I have a running to do list, a list for upcoming blog post topics, and lots of lists of random things I want to remember. I use the basic notes app in my phone as a sort of all-purpose notebook. Not only do I have it with me and easily accessible at all times, but it’s searchable. No paper notebook can compete with that.
  2. I use a grocery list. Tying into the first point, I have a basic list on my phone of everything I buy regularly at the grocery store. Before going shopping, I copy and paste the list into a new note and go through my kitchen deleting whatever we don’t need. I have a similar system for shopping at Target (I go about once a month to stock up on some things that Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry). As I’m shopping I note in the list how much each item cost, which makes it easy to estimate my total before I get to the checkout.
  3. I shop on Amazon. I absolutely love having Amazon Prime. If I need just one or two things that I’m not even sure I could find at local big box stores, like, say, the perfect pedometer, I’ll just click over to Amazon and can pretty quickly compare prices and reviews and then get free two day shipping. The selection is amazing, the prices are good, and it saves me from making a trip to a crowded store where I’m likely to spend more money buying things I don’t need.
  4. I wear minimal makeup. My makeup bag is tiny and holds everything I need: some Bare Minerals powder and blush, a brush for each, one eyeliner, one eyeshadow, one lipstick, and one chapstick. I usually put my makeup on in the car.
  5. I never iron. Ironing is for the birds. If something looks like it will need frequent ironing I don’t buy it. Everything else I just hang or fold right out of the dryer. Sometimes it takes several rounds in the dryer before I manage to get to them while they’re still warm, but I very very rarely have any significant wrinkle issues.
  6. I do my banking online. Balancing your checkbook is sooooo 1999. And I recently signed up for so we can keep an even closer eye on our spending (spoiler: we spend too much money on cable TV and going out to eat).
  7. I save my veggie scraps. I used to do this for compost, but I decided that composting is too much work for me. Now I save them in a giant freezer bag so that when fall rolls around and I want to make soup I can use them to make broth instead of having to plan ahead by having broth on hand or chicken bones available.
  8. Speaking of chicken, I buy it in bulk from Zaycon. And when I need to shred it I do so in my stand mixer. Throw cooked chicken in there with a paddle attachment, flip it onto low speed, and watch as the chicken gets shredded before your eyes.
  9. I automate wherever possible. I use automatic bill pay, use Dollar Shave Club to keep us stocked with fresh blades, and have reminders set on my phone for anything that can’t be automated further, like remembering to give Juliet her flea and heartworm medicine.

I’m amazed by all the conveniences modern technology offers. I can’t imagine what it was like to, say, plan a vacation or research a purchase before the internet. And don’t even get me started on smartphones! Those things are amazing. I admit that I look at mine too often, but it’s become such a helpful companion that I can’t imagine life without it.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


2 responses to Nine Strategies for Saving Time and Effort

  1. What do you think about the Dollar Shave Club? I forget how reasonable they are. I may have to sign up finally.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

      We love it! Nick and I share a razor and it’s so nice to always have fresh blades on hand. We used to go forever between changing them because we would run out, then forget what kind we needed, etc.

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