No matter your age, chores are part of life. While they need to get done, it’d be nice to not worry about them.

Save time and money

Save time and money

Luckily, we live in the 21st century. Much like ordering dinner or binge-watching your guilty pleasure, many chores can be done digitally. Some can be accomplished simply by checking a box online and waiting for a physical box to show up at your door. Others are a matter of switching up your order of operations or asking your kids to pull a little more weight at home.

Want to spend more time on what you enjoy? Here are some household chores you should go ahead and automate:

1.   Pharmacy Visits

Gone are the days when you need to stand in line at the pharmacy for hours. While some parts of the process are the same — you’ll still need a doctor’s note and insurance approval — many  medication providers offer delivery.

Think of this like your staple groceries. Like toilet paper and milk, prescriptions like birth control are recurring purchases. Also like staple groceries, prescriptions that require regular delivery are usually discounted and available in generic and brand-name varieties.

Whether it’s hair loss products, hormone treatments, or skin creams, compare your pick up and delivery options. The pharmacy down the street may offer delivery, but its volume probably isn’t enough to net you the lowest price.

2  Bill Payments

Of all the chores adults have to deal with, paying bills is perhaps the least fun. Between collecting receipts and writing checks, paying bills is tedious and takes hours per month.

The best part is, almost any bill payment can be automated. Even if your provider doesn’t have an online option, your bank almost certainly does. These aren’t wire transfers; they’re checks that the bank issues and mails on your behalf. Simply note the payee, their mailing address, and your account number, and voila — they’re paid like clockwork.

Beware that this works better for fixed bills than variable ones. Your mortgage payment is likely the same amount each month, making autopay a budget-friendly choice. But because your electricity bill varies, you may want to keep a month-by-month eye on it.

Think too about payment deadlines. If all of your bills pay out on the same day, you may find your checking account in the red, even if those bills are technically in your budget. When in doubt, stagger the payment deadlines around your paychecks.

3. Meal Prep

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly eight in 10 Americans have shopped online for groceries. What many consumers don’t know is that they can automate not just grocery shopping, but meal prep.

Meal prep kits can be expensive, at $2-$5 per meal. But remember, your time has value. If meal kits would let you spend an hour less every night making dinner, is that worth a couple of dollars per day to you? For many larger households, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

If cost is an issue, consider signing up for meal kits for just a month. You’ll collect enough recipe cards that you can simply recycle them week after week, saving time without burning you out on your favorite foods. Simply order the groceries listed from your local grocery store, and be prepared to do some of the chopping yourself.

4. Toiletry Refills

Household goods like toilet paper, toothpaste, and hand soap will show up on your shopping list like clockwork. Unless you’re experimenting with brands, why bother shopping for toiletries over and over again?

Try to snag a discount while you’re at it. Amazon, for example, has a “Subscribe & Save” option on select goods. Instead of buying full-price products every time, you can save 5-10% by scheduling refills. Not only is this one less thing to worry about, but it’s a great way to save money.

Rest assured that you’ll receive an email ahead of each auto-purchase to confirm it. If you’re out of town for the week, you can always check “delay” or “skip.” By the same token, you can ask for a double order if you had houseguests who forgot their spare toothbrushes. 

5. Household Cleaning

While technologies like Roomba may be able to handle certain household messes, they can’t do it all. Sometimes, the best automation technique is simply to change your behavior.

I know: Lifestyle hacks aren’t as exciting as the latest tech. But the best solution to the chores you hate most might be to clean as you go.

Here are a few quick hacks to consider:

  • Instead of running the water over every dish, fill the sink with warm, soapy water. Let dirty dishes soak until baked-on food slides right off. If you have a two-sided sink, use a bleach solution to sanitize soaked dishes.
  • Wipe down counters with old hand towels before putting them in the laundry. You’ll do less laundry while maintaining cleaner countertops.
  • Invest in a combination broom-mop. That way, you’ll accomplish two chores in a single sweep.
  • Dump baking soda and vinegar on stains. The chemical reaction will lift stains while you tackle other chores, saving you a lot of scrubbing.
  • If you have a garbage disposal, wash food scraps down the drain. Modern plumbing is perfectly capable of handling small organic matter. Taking out the compost every night is a waste of time.
  • Learn to batch your chores. For example, separate laundered shirts, socks, underwear, and pants before you begin folding them. It’s much faster to fold all your shirts at once than to randomly fold them as you stumble on them.
  • If you have kids, give each of them a weekly chore list. Not only does this take housework off your shoulders, but it’s a great way to teach your kids to be responsible.

Who wants to spend every weekend deep-cleaning their house or restocking their toilet paper? Sure, you could get a maid or a personal shopper, but you’ll save money doing them yourself. Better yet, you can delegate them to your kids. Automate everything you can, and enjoy every day off to its fullest.