Here are several things that I do on a daily basis that save time and sometimes money.
1. Plan and make meals ahead of time
This could mean cooking several different meals and cooking a lot in one day, planning your meals for the week and grocery shopping accordingly, doubling your meals each time you cook and freezing half, making one dish and cutting it into portions to eat during the week (my trick to eating better is the last option). As for feeding myself, I make protein-filled, veggie dishes and then split them up into eight to ten portions in the refrigerator. When I need something to eat, it’s already made! That saves me time and keeps me from making a poor food choice.
2. Make freezer smoothie packs for quick breakfasts
My kids love to make smoothies, but they tend to forget to clean up afterwards. This means big bags of frozen fruit thawing out on the counter, which is a mess! By making separate bags of their personal favorite mix of fruit, perfectly sized to our smoothie maker, I have eliminated that problem! They can make it fast and clean it up easily.
Don’t throw out ripened pieces of fruit; cut them up and put them in a freezer smoothie bag! We buy so much fruit every week, but there are almost always a few bananas like these and other fruit that are not going to be eaten on their own. However, if you freeze them, you can use them for banana bread, muffins or smoothies.
3. Keep paper plates and napkins on the counter for convenience and to save on dishes in the dishwasher
Now… I knowthere is something special about a family meal on the good dishes. We have those kinds of meals many nights a week. What we use the paper products for is the constant snacking, breakfasts, lunches and more snacking that go on in our home. We still do a full load of dishes in the dishwasher every single day but it would be so much more if we didn’t use paper as well.
4. Paint your nails before you have to drive
I am an active girl. I don’t sit down or stop unless I am working or asleep. So, painting my nails has always been really difficult for me because I would always mess them up. However, I discovered that if I know I am driving somewhere that is 15 to 20 minutes away, I could get my nails to dry in the meantime! I buckle my seat belt, put my keys in the ignition, get everything the way I want and then I quickly paint my nails. Then, I don’t touch anything but the steering wheel until I get to my destination. Winning!
5. Fill your cart putting all the barcodes facing up when shopping at big bulk stores
This trick will cut your checkout time in half!
6. Keep a container in your trunk for loose items from any kind of shopping or errands
It makes it easy to bring those loose items into the house as well!
7. Buy good gift items in bulk
When I love something and think, “this would be a great gift,” I usually buy two to four of that item. I then tuck it away in my closet in the guest room (but don’t look in that closet because that closet needs it’s own life hack!). Then, when an occasion comes where I need a pretty gift, I already have one! This includes things like candles, lotions, journals, prints etc. In fact, when my kids were younger and had lots of birthday parties, I had a gift box just for such items. I kept it stocked with markers and pens, notebooks, nail polish, lip gloss and candy. Gift giving is much easier that way.
8. Lay out your clothes at night before you go to bed
It helps me so much when I decide on clothes before I sleep. This way, I can get dressed and get out there without having to think when it’s early. I do this with my active wear, but my husband does it with his suits for work. He doesn’t lay his on the floor obviously, but he has everything ironed and ready for the morning.
9. Keep a snack with you to keep from stopping for fast food
This is a problem that I have. I get tempted to stop for a drink or ice cream cone if I don’t have an alternative already planned out. I try to always keep a big cup of ice water, an apple or banana and a protein bar in my car. Did someone say protein bar? Well heeeey, that brings me right back to the first sentence of this post. Abbott Nutrition asked me to share some of my life hacks, and now I get to share a little about Abbott Nutrition! Their protein bars are called Perfectly Simple bars by ZonePerfect.
They are each gluten free, protein rich and under 200 calories. They are available in four flavors: Almond Toffee Crunch, Bing Cherry & Almond, Oatmeal Chocolate Crunch and Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate. They are simple, delicious and satisfying! Thanks Abbott for making me look at my life to see that I am not so inefficient after all! I guess raising five kids has taught me a thing or two… or 500.