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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You and The Faithful Prepper.
We recently discussed the importance of being efficient with your time. If you’re going through money issues, I think that this is absolutely vital. You can’t afford to be spending all your time taking naps and farting around when you have bills to pay and creditors to keep off your tail. If you do, you’re only going to end up waking up to a sudden bout of poverty that will leave your head spinning.
So, I want to take the time today to tell you about some of the things I do to squish all of my errands into one trip and why this makes financial sense when it’s possible.
Let’s say that I have three errands that I need to accomplish this week.
I need to pick up groceries at Piggly Wiggly, I need to pick up a package at the post office, and I need to drop some stuff off at Goodwill.
It’s at least a 15-minute drive from my house to each of these places. This means it will take me 30 minutes to get to the store and back home in drive time at least. If I decide that I’m going to do two errands one day and one the next, I’ve just made it so that I have 30 minutes less time that week. I spent it driving with no appreciable means of being productive.
If I can get everything done in one trip, though, I’ve just saved myself 30 minutes that week.
The key is being able to squish everything together. Here are a few of the things that I do to help me do that.
First, I make sure that I always have food on me.
I absolutely hate having to stop and pay for a meal. I’m more inclined to just drive home and call it a day if it gets to lunchtime and I haven’t eaten yet than I am to stop at a restaurant. Making sure that I always have both food and water on my person while I’m in the car helps me to avoid this ever being an issue.
At the very least, it tides me over until I’m able to make it back home. Muffins, granola bars, apples, beef jerky, and the like are pretty much always with me as a result.
If you can wait a day, wait a day.
Typically, I don’t absolutely have to go to the grocery store on X day. I can fudge the timing a bit. If I know I absolutely have to be at the north end of town on Wednesday – where there’s a grocery store – I don’t go to the grocery store on Tuesday. I wait the day until I can combine both trips together.
You very well may be able to do this with returning items, picking up packages, shopping, and the like, making it all fit around the set appointments on your calendar. Not only does this save you time, but it also saves you quite a bit on gas over the course of the year as well.
If I can order it online, I’m prone to do so.
I’m a huge fan of using cash for both its anonymity (I hate Big Data) and how great it is at helping one out with their budget (check out the envelope system), but if there’s something I need that is going to require a 30+ minute drive, I’d much rather just buy it online, take the money out of the envelope associated with that category of purchase, and let the mailman do all the work rather than me.
If the price is the same, I’ve just saved myself an hour’s driving and gas. That’s a win in my book.
I try to save my errands for when I have the most “bleh” energy.
People are all wired differently. Some people are morning people. Some people don’t become functioning human beings until after dinner time. In either case, I’ve found that there are times I have highly productive, creative energy – time I need for making money – and there are times when I have “bleh” energy.
With bleh energy, I’m not ready to go to bed or anything like that, but my brain doesn’t want to do anything work-related. It doesn’t want to think. This is when I can still be productive by doing my errands. I can hop in the car, turn on Chris Stapleton, and just zone out in the car – literally thinking about nothing (it’s a man’s gift) – as I get all of the errands done that I need to accomplish that day.
This helps me not get frantic about missing out on getting money-making jobs done, boosts my productivity, and gets me checking off the boxes from my to-do list.
Do you do the same?
Do you try to squish all your errands into one day of the week as well? If so, what do you do to help you to do so? Let our readers know your advice in the comments below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
2 thoughts on “How I Squish All My Errands into One Trip”
One thing I do is grocery shop on the same day every week. When I run out of something, or a family member wants something, it gets put on my shopping list and I don’t buy it until the next week. One thing I want to do is get a thermal grocery bag or cooler to keep things cold so I can do other errands WHILE I am out on grocery day. I haven’t figured out a perfect solution yet, but I know I will.
I try to avoid having any packages shipped to my PO box. I only set up that PO box a couple of decades ago after way too much financial mail was ending up in my neighbors’ mail boxes. But there’s another secret postal gotcha I just learned about last week. When I walked to that central post office for my monthly visit, I learned from a postal note that a package too large for the PO box was waiting for me. Then I learned that the PO had waited their secret 15-day limit before sending my package back to its origin without recording the origin’s identity for me. In addition to that secret gotcha, there’s the ever present refusal to handle UPS, FedEx, DHL, or any other non-postal shipper business.
That’s the longtime arrogance of the postal government-enforced monopoly that back in the mid-1840s government was used to financially destroy a private competitor (Lysander Spooner) to the post office. That story is here:
So long ago I set up a relationship with a local shipping and receiving company that solved any porch pirate problem, that notifies me by email within a couple of hours of any contents arrival, that can receive or send via UPS, FedEx, DHL, or USPS that I or some shipper might choose, that helps maintain better privacy of my home address, and that is located within an easy walk from my house. That’s a win in many ways … beyond the motorized bundling of errands.