Make Life Simpler : Life Hacks for Busy Moms and Dads, my game plan

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mash: simplifying / consumerism / household / beauty

life hacks for busy moms

So I’m headed back to work in about a week. In less than 3 months I will have gone from being a stay-at-home-mom to a rambunctious toddler, to a blogging stay-at-home-mom, to a blogger-and-full-time-working-mom. A bit intimidating? You think! Impossible? I don’t think so.

The Mashed Up household is undergoing lots of changes. We have short term and long term goals. The next year or two is going to be hard–but not impossible. In fact, true to my nature, I’ve come up with a few things I plan on trying in-order to make life easier and simpler. Life hacks for busy moms, and dads, if you will.  

Food / Grocery

I do all of the grocery shopping. This isn’t something I expect to change. I did it before Baby Mash was born, while I worked full-time, and will continue to do all the shopping now now. I enjoy it. However, it can be extremely time consuming.   Will I have time to hope from store-to-store shopping to shave a dollar or two? I doubt it. Will I have the energy, or mental capacity, to deal with coupons on a large scale. Highly unlikely. After 35-40 hours at a job, 10-20 hours blogging, and uncountable hours running behind Baby Mash, I don’t think I’ll want to do either one of those things, even if I could.   So what is a girl to do? Well, I’ve come up with two ideas I plan on trying that I hope will save us either time, money, or both.  

1. Pre-planned meals

I plan on trying the services of Blue Apron, Plated, or something like that. In case you never clicked on one of the million of ads you see for them on Facebook, basically these companies make recipes, and mail you step-by-step instructions and all the ingredients you need to prepare the meal. It costs from $12-15 per plate. I estimate that for the Mashed Up household it would be about $24 for dinner. That’s cheaper than going out to dinner, gourmet, and delivered right to your door. Make sure you follow us for upcoming reviews of the services.  

2. Buying in bulk

This isn’t a new or revolutionary idea. However, I plan on buying as many things in bulk, and breaking it down into smaller airsealed portions (when applicable) as possible. We’re considering buying a side of beef, and a whole pig. We’ll probably also snag breakfast meats and chicken in bulk too. All from established, reputable butchers, all will high quality product that will end up being the same price or cheaper than buying at the local grocery. And while it will probably take me a whole day to deal with the ordeal of a whole pig or side of beef, I won’t have to do it any more for a whole year. And I also preseason a lot of my meat before I freeze it. That way it is fully marinated whenever it defrosts for use.Can you say time saver? And of course I’ll still be buying from Sam’s club some items in large quantity. Another option I’ll consider is buying in bulk from Amazon. In some cases it’s cheaper–and with free delivery it will be sweet to have it delivered to the front door.    

Fashion/ Beauty

Often times both men and women tend to not take care of themselves when they focus on others. Moms who work out of the home and run a blog, probably find this especially challenging. However, I have two things I’m going to try to help combat that problem.  

1. Personal Shopper

You know, it used to be just the posh and rich that had personal shoppers. Not anymore. There are tons of affordable services out there! I, for example, love the looks put together by the folks at Prep 101. And yes, styling sessions, and “lookbooks” can range from $45-120, depending on what you’re looking for. However, I seriously, seriously, hate shopping. Not only do I dread it, a clothes shopping trip can take hours (at the end of which I may or may not be happy with the results). For special occasions, why not have a professional do all the footwork for me? They will not only put together something fabulous in my often hard-to-find sizes within the budget constraints I set for them, but they’ll probably save me a minimum of 3 hours of shopping time. Yeah, that’s worth it to me.  

2. Boxes that say “I Love Me”

And as for those casual fillers for my clothes and beauty needs–subscription boxes to the rescue! I’ll have boxes that send more casual clothes, to office chic options. I even have a few boxes in mind for intimates and such. Online orders will also be the spot I go to to get refills of makeup items when I know exactly what shades I like. MAC online–yes please! Keeping at least one subscription box a month that is all about making me look and feel good will help motivate me to keep up my appearance, and have fun doing it.    

What life hacks for busy moms and dads and tricks do you have to make everyday chores, routine tasks, and keeping your glamor going, quicker or easier?

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  • http://www.twitter.com/rayveniael Carolyn Bunch

    I love your ideas. They make a lot of sense. Even as a SAHM, homeschooling a middle schooler and dealing with twins our home stays chaotic. Many times a meal for us is a Rotisserie Chicken, bag of frozen veggies ( or two ) and if time is on my side I’ll cook brown rice, or I will buy frozen brown rice if not. Our meals usually cost between $13 if I do the rice myself, or $17 for 5 of us. But the chicken only yields one leftover lunch. If I go the precooked frozen rice route, there are no real dishes. ( I know its not earth conscious, but we are a paper plate household and plastic bowls and spoons and cups. Shaving every precious second of “work” off.

  • mail4rosey

    I do the grocery shopping too. Like you, I don’t mind but it really can be time-consuming. Good tips here, and I didn’t realize a personal shopper was not expensive. Good to know.

    • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

      I was surprised too! I defiantly think for the right occasion it’s totally worth it!

  • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

    Thank you!!

  • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

    I agree. Time for oneself is important. It’s it’s often the first thing we cut back. :-/

  • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

    Stitch Fix is on my list to try!! If you try it before me, definitely share your experience with me!

  • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

    Thank you!! I hope some ideas help you out as well!

  • Rebecca Swenor

    I love that you are trying to tackle all of this but be careful not to overdue it. I love what you have planned so far because they are very good as time savers. Kodos to you for all you are attempting. Make sure you have time to yourself at least once a week also. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

      Thank you!! It’s definitely not a long term thing–but my family has some goals in site. Plus Mr. Mashed Up is GREAT. He’s taken on a lot of the household things I used to do. He does most of the cooking if I tell him what to make… and cleaning. And he watches our son when I’m at work. And I get a few hours on the weekend to do my hair, or go shopping, or something like that alone. I have a fabulous man!!

  • http://www.bubbablueandme.com/ Emma Tustian

    Great idea to have some short cuts planned. I do my food shop online. Working full time, doing nursery runs and having my son’s swimming lessons on Saturdays means less time to spend with my son if we’re having to shop early on a Saturday morning.

    I’ve never used one, but department store personal shoppers in the UK are free. So for occasions or even new season shopping are worth doing

  • http://preciouslittleworlds.blogspot.com/ hannah staveley

    This such a good blog post and fab ideas .

  • http://www.dreamingofleaving.com JDiGi

    great tips, definitely posting this!! xo, jess @ dreamingofleaving.com

    • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

      Thank you!!

  • Chrissy Mazzocchi

    This is such a great list! I am going to try out those subscription boxes too! They are everywhere and looks like great items, thanks!

    • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

      I can’t wait. While on maternity leave I couldn’t afford any. Now that I’m, back to work I can’t wait to pick back up. I want a box a week! lol

  • Mama to 5 Blessings

    I so need to do pre-planned meals. I am horrible at meal planning and then I am scrambling to put something together for dinner.

  • leirs

    My life hack is to delegate it to the nanny.. He (my nanny is a man) knows what to buy and as for the vegetables we rarely buy it in the grocery and we buy it in the nearby farmers market.

    • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

      You know, there is a fruit/veggie organic delivery service I was thinking of trying. It’s local, and cheap!

  • http://thatsmashedup.com Mrs. Mashed Up

    You have no idea!! Side question: do you ship Scenty? I need some for my new office :-)

  • Kori

    I would say ordering groceries online if that’s available. You can set up a list of your usual groceries and have it delivered.

    Best of luck with your latest transition!

  • Trisha Grimes

    These are excellent tips! We’re a small family but I really should start buying certain things in bulk because I find myself making a few shopping trips a week for those items!

  • http://momonthemoon.com MichelleMOTM

    A grocery list and a meal plan is really a must if you’re trying to save time and money. When I say meal plan I don’t mean you order an already put together meal and have it delivered to your door, I mean you pre-decide what you’ll cook throughout the week. You can cook more food that you normally would and then stick it in the fridge or freezer to reheat for another quick meal too.
    You have some great suggestions here!

  • http://artpark78.com/blog1 yonawilliams

    I don’t have any tips, but from your list… I really find it cost-efficient to buy chicken in bulk since it’s a favorite in our household. i keep some in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer in Ziploc bags that I label with permanent marker.

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