Saturday, 30 June 2012

How can you save time online ?


Time is money, they say. Well, for busy mums, time is often even more precious than money because it's in such short supply. We've all become absolute experts at multi-tasking, juggling jobs, kids and running a home, while still finding time to blog, tweet and hang out in google+ ! Spending time online is often a recipe for disaster as you get sucked into riveting conversations in social media circles and suddenly look at the clock and think "oops", but it can actually be a timesaver too. Here is The Madhouse guide to saving time online.

1) Get your weekly shop online. Tempter tantrums in the crisps aisle and frantically trying to remember what you wrote on that shopping list that you left on the kitchen table are things of the past if you get your weekly shop online. As well as saving time, it can also save you money as you won't get all those impulse buys that you do instore.

2) Hit the sales online. In these credit-crunch times, buying clothes for yourself and the kids in the sales is a great idea. In theory. Have you ever tried going shopping with three under 11's ? While you're sorting through the rails trying to find something in your size, you'll have the eldest whining that she's bored/hungry/thirsty/wants to go to Claire's and buy earrings, the youngest will be giving Houdini a run for his money trying to get out of his pushchair straps and run riot in the middle of the shop and the middle child will be enjoying putting 46DD bra cups on her head as a hat. You'll have nothing to show for your afternoon's shopping besides a headache and a bad temper because trying to get into the changing rooms is impossible with a pushchair in tow. Wait until the kids are in bed and shop from the peace and quiet of your living room out of business hours - bliss ! Don't worry about not being able to try clothes on, most companies offer a free returns service.

3) Let online calendars take the Brain Strain. I don't know if Baby Brain is a myth or a medical fact, but I do know that it's near on impossible to remember everything from birthdays to school events and dentist's appointments when you have several kids and a job to deal with. Using a wall calendar or family diary is a great idea but you have to remember to actually look at it and what if you need to jot something down when you're out and about ? Online calendars to the rescue - you can update them from your iphone or ipad too. Facebook is a great way of remembering birthdays and it only takes a second to send someone an e-card.

4) Internet is a great temporary babysitter ! Now, I'm not suggesting you stick your kids in front of facebook or online games all day, but when you need 5 minutes' peace to make an important phone call or even just go to the toilet alone for once, it's guaranteed to work. Ipad/iPhone apps, the Cbeebies website, Skyping with the grandparents - the possibilities are endless !

5) Contact people whatever the time. If you're anything like me, the time of day you're most likely to get to deal with things is at the crack of dawn before the kids get up and demand attention or in your lunch hour. Both times when people won't be happy for you to phone them. Use email to deal with things whatever the time or the time zone - no more procrastinating or putting things off and forgetting about them !

6) What's for dinner, mum ? So, you've looked in the fridge and you have a lump of cheese, 2 carrots and an egg to create dinner for five. Head to google and search for "recipe + (name of ingredient)" for instant inspiration.

7) Online banking and bills. No more queueing behind doddery pensioners or racing to get to your local branch before closing time. Online banking allows you to check your balance, transfer money or set up direct debits with just a few clicks. British Gas have a new online account management system which also allows you to view your latest balance, print your bill, enter meter readings, monitor energy consumption and book and track an engineer. (Customers who sign up before 30th June 2012 will also receive 2,000 Nectar Points just for registering, as well as receiving additional rewards for submitting meter readings and using  the online dashboard.)

8) Go green and save time with e-cards. Remember the "old days" when you had to walk to the shop, choose a card, write in it, go to the post office for a stamp and then post it ? These days, you just need 5 seconds to pick an e-card and send it instantly. I love Jib-Jab's personalised e-cards where you can add your recipient's photo to make hilarious pictures or videos. If you're seriously organised, you can even schedule your e-cards days or weeks in advance with your calendar in hand.

Disclosure : This is my entry for the BritMums #BGSaveTime Linky, sponsored by British Gas. (I received no payment, but I'll be entered to win Swatch watches for the whole family up to the value of £300.)

12 comments:

  1. I see Nick from this year's Apprentice has funding for his online shopping for recipes idea, which could save time in meal planning.

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  2. I love shopping online for the sales a great way to keep away from the hustle and bustle but also you get some great bargains.

    We do our shopping online with having 3 children with autism it is impossible to take them shopping. Online shopping also helps you budget as your not so inclined to get that must have bargain item sat near the till

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  3. I do a big shop online when I have to buy lots of heavy things (as I don't drive, I carry all the food in the pushchair). The problem with the online shopping is that always something is not available that you ordered, or replaced by something totally ridiculous (like lasagne swapped for the moussaka, and when I question the delivery guy, saying we're an Italian family, he laughs and says Can't you be a Greek family for an evening?). Or the sell by dates are very close, or the veg is the wrong size. why do they always pick the carrots the size of the weapons I have no idea. When I do shopping in store, I pick exactly what I like the look of and choose the right sell by date. But of course, still do shopping online, not very often though.

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    1. I did laugh at the moussaka comment - I've heard of lots of people complaining about silly swaps from online shops (ooh I'm a poet and I don't know it !)

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  4. i do all my shopping and bill paying online and would be lost without it . So much quicker and easier than queuing up in banks, shops and supermarkets especially when children are with me .

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  5. I never shop online - I always have to see what I am buying. Bit silly really.

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  6. Skype is great, the Grandparents get to see the kids and I get a few minutes of peace while the 3 year old asks someone else the 20 questions a minute.

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    1. ooh I hadn't thought of that ! When Pierre starts with the endless why, why, whys?, I'll tell him to go and ask Grandad on Skype !!

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  7. Farhana Haque3 July 2012 11:13

    Some really good advice. Need all the help as there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day!

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  8. Some great advice, I sometimes do my food shopping online when I have a really busy week but I must admit I do like to see what I am buying and have a wander around the shop!

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