I can’t stand doing errands. I never have, and I never will. Those of you who know me well already know this about me. What bugs me about errands is the time it takes away from doing something truly productive and/or enjoyable. I love our work, get up every morning inspired, and know that I get an incredible amount of value and satisfaction from spending that time.
The same is true of the time we all spend with friends and family and loved ones. An hour of time with my wife, my family or a good friend is one of the best ways I could ever think of spending my time.
Here’s the problem, my friends don’t want to go grocery shopping with me, they don’t want to go to the dry cleaners or come to the always-chaotic Costco. I also don’t get any work done, and heck when I’m at Costco I spend about 10x what I planned on spending while I’m wandering around the store searching for what I actually came to buy (tell me this hasn’t happened to you).
Thanks to my iPhone I now spend less time than ever before doing errands, here are five apps helping me get the job done:
1. AMAZON FRESH
Grocery shopping is #1 on my list for most time-consuming, inefficient errands you could ever do. Think about it, most of the time you’re buying 75% of the same things (or more) but you’re still spending your time traversing a store to get it. It takes us over an hour every week to shop for groceries in-person, with Amazon Fresh now that we’ve ordered before it takes less than 10 minutes.
In Los Angeles we actually have multiple options as Yummy.com is also a player in the market. We quickly learned that you just can’t beat Amazon’s selection and prices. Note that we buy a lot of fruits, vegetables and vegan options all of which Amazon has a very good selection of. This saves us about four hours a month and we spend less since we’re less tempted by things we see while walking down the aisle.
Next to grocery shopping, dropping off and picking up my dry cleaning is another errand I really don’t enjoy. Washio has completely changed how I do my dry cleaning. I simply open the app, pick when I want them to come and when I want them to return the clothes. Done.
I never have to tell them how many shirts, jackets, pants, etc. I have in the order. Instead someone just comes to my house, picks it up and a couple days later my dry cleaning is done.
Okay, maybe this should have been #1 but heck it’s still in my top five. Who reading this enjoys going to the post office, waiting in line, finding-out you’ve done something wrong (because you probably did!) just so you can get out of line, fix it, and go back through the process.
Enter the Shyp app. Just take a photo of what you want to ship and they come to your home (or office), pick it up, and then ship it using the most cost-effective method possible. How cool is that! Now if they would just go to the DMV for me they’d eliminate two of the most annoying places any of us can spend our time.
Costco is great because you can buy in bulk and lock-in some pretty nice savings. It might surprise you to know that the average Costco club member also makes over $100,000/year. Yes,the top 10% of earners in the country also happen to be the top savers (coincidence?). Here’s the problem though, even though I am a proud Costco Member I find that our trips there take up hours of time and we often leave with way more things than we had on our list. Couple this with how crowded most Costco’s are and we found it adding more chaos to our weekend than enjoyment.
Enter Boxed, an app that brings Costco to your iPhone, well not Costco itself but the savings you’re used to getting there. Just open the app and buy that 40-pack of yogurt or 24 rolls of toilet paper. Do it all from your phone with no membership fee and save both time and money. We haven’t been to Costco in calendar year 2014, why would we?
Last but certainly not least is TaskRabbit. Thanks to this handy app you can do just about any errand you could think of. Have to pick-up something at the local hardware store? The sky really is the limit, think of any errand that you don’t want to do yourself, post it on TaskRabbit, and you’ll quickly find-out how much someone will charge to do it.
The nice thing about TaskRabbit is that you can hire people for individual tasks or monthly errands. If there’s something you do every month that you’re sick of doing you can easily get a TaskRabbit to do it and reclaim your time.