In cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas all across America, one thing is nearly universal: the need to use a car to do weekly errands. Families trying to economize by saving money on gas as well as maximizing their use of time can use all the help they can get. In line with this, here are ten ways to help organize weekly family errands in your car.
(1) Make a grocery list. Who hasn’t had to run to the grocery or convenience store to pick up milk or bread or diapers? Besides being staple items, these should also be among the first you consider when it comes time to make a weekly or semi-weekly trip to the store. But there are many other things you need to feed or take care of needs for the family during the course of the week. Help yourself out by making a grocery list. It doesn’t have to take hours of effort. Start by jotting down what you know you’re out of by putting it on the list when you run out. Ask other family members to write their requirements – deodorant, fruit bars, toothpaste, and lunch makings – as they think of them. Having a single list handy means you’ll be ahead of the game. It will also save time when you’re at the store. Go for the items on your list and don’t be tempted to shop with your eyes.
(2) Go through store flyers and clip coupons. Every grocery store, and many drug stores, nurseries, hardware stores and specialty shops, have specials. Some are weekly specials printed in a flyer that comes to your home. Some you can find on the Internet. The point is, there are certain money-saving deals at one store and not another. That’s called competition. But when you’re not prepared, you can waste time and money by going from store to store searching for the best deal – only to find out it was at the first store, and you didn’t get the item there. The way around this is to lay out the store circulars and highlight or circle items in marker pens that you want. Compare prices. See if there’s a manufacturer and/or store coupon you can also use (called triple dipping). Be smart this way and you’ll save time and miles in the car, not to mention gas.
(3) Spread the word. Let other family members know when you’re planning to go to the grocery store, cleaners, the department store, drug store. In other words, spread the word. If anyone needs anything, encourage them to speak up.
(4) Develop The List. Better yet, ask them to put it on The List. Actually, what’s happened is that the grocery list has morphed into The List so that it can encompass all the errands you need to run in the car over the course of the week. By putting things together on The List, you’ll be able to group errands in the same vicinity and/or navigate your route of travel to be the most efficient.
2012 Toyota Prius VEnlarge Photo
(5) Select a single day to run most weekly errands. Consistency helps when organizing weekly errands using your car. Pick the day of the week – and the time of day – when there’s less traffic, the stores are freshly stocked, and you can accomplish more of what you need to in less time. When the family knows that it’s Tuesday, for example, and you’ll be running weekly errands in the family car, they’ll get used to the schedule and be more proactive about helping you with The List and things they need.
(6) Plan multiple stops in a single day. The more you can accomplish in a single outing, the more you’ll be ahead of the game. Never go out in the family car just to pick up milk. Never come home first and then go back out to get carry-out or drop off something at the cleaners. Have it all organized ahead of time so that you accomplish multiple tasks in a single day.