Shopping and errands

• Keep a running shopping list. Add to it as you run out of ingredients so you won't find yourself returning from the store only to find there's no lettuce for that night's salad. Make up a list of the items you use most often, and check off what you need as you run out. Be sure to organize it by departments in the store so that you make your shopping trip easier.

• Don't be afraid to pay a little more for convenience. If you just need one item, it may make sense to pay a little more at a store with easier access and parking rather than going to the large supermarket where you may find yourself buying more than you came for.

• If space permits, buy in bulk. When possible, buy food and nonper-ishables in bulk to save trips to the store. This also saves money.

• Buy ahead for birthdays and other occasions. When you come across suitable birthday and holiday gifts, pick them up to save time and money later. Keep a supply of greeting cards and wrapping paper on hand. Purchase holiday items after the holiday, when everything is on sale.

• Keep a basket or box near the door for outgoing items. Use it for library books, dry cleaning, movie rentals, or anything else that needs to be dropped off or returned the next time you run errands. Keep library books in one place in your home, only getting out the books you are reading at the time.

• Run simple errands on the way to and from work to avoid extra trips.

• Group your errands by location. Before you run an errand, determine what else you can accomplish in the same part of town. For instance, on your way to the library, you might be able to pick up a prescription and drop off your laundry if the pharmacy and the dry cleaner are on the way.

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