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Busy Mom Timesavers

Website and app shortcuts give busy parents more quality family time

Grocery shopping, basketball games, flute lessons, work deadlines, doctor’s appointments, laundry — keeping family life straight can be a challenge for the most organized mom. Take advantage of websites, apps and local services that help you finish the must-dos faster so you have more time to spend on the want-tos.

Shrink shopping time

Fresh groceries can be preordered and delivered right to your door by FreshDirect.com or Peapod.com for a fee ranging from $7 to $10. Peapod also has free order pick-up from Giant stores. The ShopRite From Home delivery service is available at select stores in Pennsylvania and South Jersey; the same goes for Safeway delivery in Delaware.

Set up regular delivery of diapers, paper products, toiletries, pet food and other household necessities through websites like Diapers.com or Amazon.com’s Subscribe and Save program, which gives you a certain price cut depending on how many item subscriptions you order for your monthly delivery day.

Reader tip: “I love Diapers.com. I have it set for automatic delivery so I never have to worry about running out or lugging boxes home from the store. Since I’m always shopping with at least two kids, saving as much room in the cart as I can really helps!” —Kristina Ryan, Abington, PA mother of four

Eliminate meal planning

Hate staring at the fridge between work end and evening car pool shift, not sure what to cook for dinner? For a small monthly fee, TheScramble.com ($7 max) and eMeals.com ($10 max) create rotating meal plans based on your family’s size and eating style, providing you with weekly recipes and shopping lists. BlueApron.com not only provides recipes; it delivers the fresh ingredients needed to make them to your door once a week. Meals start at $9.99 per person per meal.

Delegate chores and errands

Outsource house cleaning, furniture assembly, errand running and more with TaskRabbit.com. Post what you need done and either set a price or request bids. Then hire one of the background-checked Task Rabbits who respond to your post; the site earns 20 percent on every completed task.

Find babysitters, pet sitters, tutors, housekeepers and help for aging parents on Care.com. Browse caregivers’ profiles or post the job you need done, and for a fee (up to $35 a month) the site will connect you with potential caregivers.

Save time and money

Comparison shopping boosts your budget but can eat up lots of time if you bounce from store to store. Cut straight to the best cost in the aisles by scanning any product barcode with your smartphone camera into the ShopSavvy app (free), which will search for cheaper availability from online retailers.

Once you get to the checkout counter, stop rooting through your pocketbook for store loyalty and rewards cards. The smartphone app KeyRing (free) stores all of those cards digitally. Scan a card’s barcode with your phone camera, then call up the app at the register.

Stay organized

Create, sort and save multiple grocery lists using a free smart phone app like Grocery IQ or OurGroceries. The lists can be shared with other family members so they can add or delete list items from their mobile devices, too.

Set up sortable to-do lists and appointment and task reminders with website and app Toodledo ($.99). Its handy must-do-now function lets you search across all of your lists for tasks with nearing due dates, high priority ratings or other filtering criteria.

Free website and app Cozi syncs up family organization. Share calendars, shopping and to-do lists, reminders, messages, a family journal and more.

But what happens if you lose your phone afer loading up all these great apps?

Reader tip: “I use Find My iPhone (free) just about every day.” —Beth Bilus, Glenside, PA mother of three

Find My iPhone will locate your missing iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch on a map, make it play a sound even if it is in silent mode, lock the device, display a message on its screen or erase all of its data using another iOS device.

Susan Stopper writes frequently for MetroKids.

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