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We used to live in a rural setting on the outside of town.  I had to plan 20 minutes to drive anywhere.  A thirty minute shopping trip put me away from the house for an hour and a half. Needless to say, I didn’t run to the store in the middle of the afternoon to buy a can of beans for a recipe!  I made due.

Every trip was well-planned and organized not wanting to waste a single trip to town.  When I had to drive in for a doctor’s appointment or homeschool class, I combined other errands in the day.  I had the system down to a fine science; I knew how to make the most of every trip. It was my habit on shopping day to buy enough groceries for two full weeks.

Now I live in the center of town.  I am two minutes from a Neighborhood Market and two minutes the other direction from a Wal-mart.  Most other errands I have to run are typically 5-10 minutes away.  Formerly it would to take me 20 minutes just to drive to town; now I can run to the store, pick up a handful items, and be back home in 20 minutes.

I have come to learn that this is a mixed blessing.  Yes, it’s nice to be able to get whatever I need, whenever I need it.  I enjoy the flexibility of being close to everything.  But it’s made me lazy.  I don’t have to write an extensive menu with a shopping list to match in preparation for shopping day because I can easily go again.  I don’t have to create a route taking me from Point A to B then C in the best way possible.  And I don’t. I don’t plan anymore. I just go. And I’m finding myself going to the store for just one little thing more and more often.

But what if I don’t want to go again?!?  I’m tired of running to the store and swiping my card every other day. It’s a time waster and a money waster.

I’ve been overwhelmed of late with the extensive list of things I have to accomplish and the limited time in which to do those things. Part of the reason for my stress is that I seem to always have to go somewhere, meaning I’m not home where many of my primary responsibilities dwell. Some of these outside appointments are necessary, some are self-made. By not planning my shopping trips more carefully, by saying to myself, “It’s ok if you don’t get it all now, you can go back,” I’m actually adding more unnecessary trips to my day and thus more stress to my life.

Additionally, when I go to the store more, I spend more. This is a concept I figured out a long time ago and practiced.  I would go to the store (except for milk) no more often than every two weeks. When I shop more, I buy more. But if I’m not planning to go to the store, I make due. If I’m out of certain things then I don’t make the recipe that requires the items I’m lacking. It’s really that simple.

I’ve been looking for ways to simplify my life; to ensure I have more time in my day to do the things that matter. Planning my day, my outings, and my shopping trips and menu is one simple things I can do to redeem some of my wasted time.

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