When we, as busy, working parents, ask ourselves what tasks we could outsource in order to make our lives not only easier, but better, a couple of things immediately come to mind. If someone could take care of grocery shopping and meal planning for us, we'd have more time to do, well, more fulfilling things. And, according to a PC Insiders Subscription Service survey, we're not alone—close to half of parents said they’re interested in outsourcing meal planning and grocery shopping and, among them, more than half are willing to pay $15 or more per week for this service (that’s $780 a year!). We chatted with lifestyle expert Maureen Dennis about the survey results, and got her top tips for busy moms and dads to save time and money on those "less tangible" tasks. —Vita Daily
Hi Maureen! Tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m a parenting expert and the founder of Wee Welcome, which means I share advice with other parents to make their lives easier and give them more time to spend with their kids, showing them they can have both a family and a life. I also have a big family of my own, with a husband, four kids (all under age 15) and two dogs (one giant, one tiny). They keep me busy!
In the past, what did meal planning and grocery shopping look like?
When my kids were younger, we didn’t have any of the apps or online tools we have now, so I used to have to write shopping lists out on paper, then drag my four young kids to the grocery store and wander up and down the aisles searching for what I needed. Meanwhile my kids would be chucking things in the cart when I wasn’t looking. I’d get home to find we had five boxes of cookies, and inevitably I would’ve forgotten something I needed for dinner that night!
What's new/trending when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping?
Subscription services are a big trend right now, and for a good reason. They can be great tools for helping you plan out what you need to each week and taking some of the burden of those chores off you. My favourite is PC Insiders. For just $99 a year, it saves my sanity. I get free PC Express pickup, so I can do all my grocery shopping online, reordering family favourites and adding in anything new I need this week. Then I go to my local Loblaws and someone’s done all the shopping for me and they’re ready to load it into my trunk! Plus, I get 200 PC Optimum points for every dollar I spend on PC Organics and PC Black Label products, so it pays for itself.
How (and why, in your opinion) have traditions changed?
I think tech tends to play a role in traditions more and more. These days, it can be hard to get everyone off their screens to connect, and I find it hard myself to unplug from emails and work and social media at times. But technology can be helpful, too—I have apps to help me stay on top of my chores and errands, and I love being able to FaceTime my friends and family and connect with my community on social media. It’s a give and take!
What are your top tips to save time and money on "chores" like meal planning and grocery shopping?
Take advantage of the tools that are available to you! A recent PC Insiders survey found that close to half of parents said they’re interested in outsourcing meal planning and grocery shopping, and I’m a big advocate for it myself. Why do the work yourself if you can pay a small fee and have it done for you? The survey actually also found that more than half of parents are willing to pay $15 or more per week for this service, which adds up to $780 a year. PC Insiders is just $99! I also recommend investing some time in planning. Take 20 minutes on a Sunday and go over the week ahead—what you have scheduled, what you want to eat, where you’re going. Make a list of everything you’ll need and make a plan to buy it. That way, you’re only buying exactly what you need, and you’re not running to the store multiple times a week. For me, this is when I log onto my PC Express app and throw everything into my cart so it’s ready for me to pick up the next day. I’m saving the time it takes me to find what I need in-store, I’m racking up PC Optimum points, and I have more time to spend with my kids, which is what I really care about.