Preview: How to use A.I. to save time and money as a busy mom. From meal planning and budgeting to helping with kids homework and resume building, meet your own personal assistant.
Standing before the open fridge door, my jaw set, I’m determined not to exceed my monthly grocery budget.
To accomplish my goal, I’ll need to use up those random bits and bobs instead of shopping again. The package of chicken breasts, half a can of tomatoes, the wilted celery – there must be a way to make a meal plan out of that, right?
Sure, I could enter the ingredients into Google, then spend an hour perusing the dizzying number of recipes that come up. You know the ones. You scroll for five minutes before getting to the ingredients list and discovering this one is no bueno because you don’t keep Garam Masala in your spice drawer.
I can enter the ingredients into ChatGPT and ask it to create a weekly menu.
And in seconds, it spits out precisely what I need.
Back in grandma’s day, there was cocaine in the soda. That offers certain advantages. I’m sure it gave you a burst of energy when you needed to beat your carpets by hand. Nowadays, we have robotic vacuums.
In other words … technology used wisely is a mom’s best friend. If you’re not using A.I. yet to save time and money, why not?
You might have heard, or joked yourself, that “what every mom needs is a wife“.
Table of Contents
How to use A.I. to save time and money.
I think of A.I. as my own personal assistant. Like a dutiful wife, in the palm of my hand. (That almost sounded inappropriate.)
There are many ways to use A.I. to save time and money with household management tasks, lighten the load of your paid job, and even assist with parenting.
Reduce Mom’s Mental Load
Everyone’s talking about the mental load these days.
In most families, this burden is unfairly borne by the mom. A.I. can help reduce that in a few ways.
By offloading some of the less-fun stuff to artificial intelligence, you create more energy for things you can’t outsource: like exercise, artistic endeavors, or snuggle time with the hubby.
I wanted to get a part-time job after my divorce. Trouble was, after 25 years as a stay at home mom, my resume was as dusty as my 90’s era Smiths cassettes.
I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to describe the work I’d been doing as a blogger during those years.
So, I asked ChatGPT to create job descriptions for me. Et voila! Spiffied-up, shiny new resume, all ready to submit. I got the first job I applied for.
(I was looking for a job and then I found a job. And heaven knows I’m miserable now. Sorry, random Smiths lyrics pop into my head periodically.)
Once your resume is done, use A.I. to help you write cover letters for desired positions.
Small business owner? A.I. will write copy for product descriptions, social media hashtags and posts, and even brainstorm strategy or new products your market is craving. Imagine what having an employee you don’t have to pay would do for your profits.
Whether self-employed or not, we all have to write sometimes.
That boundary-setting email to a difficult relative. A request to your child’s guidance counselor regarding the tricky bullying situation. The customer service request to a misbehaving company.
When you’re facing a blank computer screen, the blinking cursor taunting you? A.I. can write a first draft to stimulate ideas. You can even ask it to write with a particular voice, depending on the recipient. Firm but gentle. Professional yet informal. Written in the style of Morrissey. Etc.
Already written? A.I. can proofread and edit your original to make it land better.
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Every day, I write in a web-based journal, Mindsera, that utilizes A.I. Mindsera is one of the frugal mental health tools I rely on to manage anxiety. Using artificial intelligence, it allows me to have “conversations” with a mentor I admire (Virginia Woolf, Marcus Aurelius, Eleanor Roosevelt).
It analyzes my diary entries, and spots my pesky cognitive distortions. (Since the annual fee is the same as one therapy session, it’s a fabulous deal!).
Mindsera sends me a weekly email telling me what emotions I experienced and why, along with suggestions for more happiness and fulfillment in my life and relationships. Click on THIS link to try it out for free.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of its capabilities, and I’m obsessed with it.
Before I found Mindsera, I used Woebot, a free AI therapy bot. I used it to slow down my anxious thoughts, any time of the day or night.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Two of my favorite uses for A.I. include meal planning and budgeting, two household management tasks we all love to hate.
At this point, A.I. can’t actually cook for you. But it sure makes the process of putting dinner on the table every single night for the rest of your life easier.
I share a detailed example and an instruction video below.
A.I. is so good at financial planning, it’s being used full-time to advise people. If budgeting is one of those head-scratching tasks that you don’t have bandwidth for, try outsourcing it to A.I.
For example, I asked ChatGPT to create a sample budget for a divorced woman who earns $50,000 a year. The exact prompt I used:
Create a budget for a 48 year old divorced mom who earns $50,000 a year. Assume she has an emergency fund and no debt besides her mortgage. Include retirement planning so she can stop working at age 65.Carrie
Here’s the response (click to see it larger):
Pretty awesome, no?
Again, I could have Googled this information and found an overwhelming number of results. This took seconds and is simple.
Simplify Complex Topics
I don’t know about you, but when one of my kids asks me about current events, such as the conflict in the Middle East, I get instant brain fatigue.
It would be so easy to mumble, “I don’t know“, but I’d miss a chance to connect with my child, impart my values, and learn something myself.
So I ask ChatGPT to create a simplified synopsis. Now I can share information with my children and, y’know, actually parent.
You can copy/paste a long-form news or other article into A.I. and ask for a condensed version.
If you took wordy notes at a conference and would like them organized, A.I. can do that.
Photo by Mizuno K
A.I. excels at simplifying a topic. If your 5th grader’s “new math” has you stumped, ask A.I. to explain it to you like… you’re a 5th grader. (Heck, I can barely understand what my 3rd grader is doing when he scribbles those blocks all over his math pages. Can we just carry the one and be done with it?)
How A.I. Can Help with Parenting
Momming is the toughest job you’ll ever love, no? Mrs. Jetson had Rosey the robot, you have A.I. I’ve already mentioned how A.I. can help with homework, here are some other ways it can make parenting easier.
Custom bedtime stories
I love reading aloud to my kids, but I’m awful at coming up with stories, even though kids love it. A.I. can craft a unique story for you, tailored to your child’s interests. For my youngest, I might ask it to “create a bedtime story for a 9-year-old boy named J_____ who loves LEGO, Captain Underpants, and has a cat named Gatsby who is grumpy with everyone else in the house but indulgent with him, since it intuits he’s the youngest child in a large family.” Poof! A.I. automagically spits out a custom-made sleepytime tale. And take a bow, you just won the Mother of the Year Award.
Draft family values or mission statement
I’ve wanted to do this for years and could never pin (pen?) it down. Love this idea from Mighty Mrs. to use A.I. to draft a set of family values.
Your kids might not love this idea, but if you’re struggling to create a list of age-appropriate chores for your little ones, ask ChatGPT to do it.
Calm car rider chaos
Need to keep the youngest busy on a car ride so they won’t make those weird mouth noises that drive their sister nuts?
A.I. will create printable quizzes and word searches for your kids. (Here’s an instructional video.) You could include words meaningful to your kid’s special interests, or topics they’re currently studying in school to reinforce their learning. You might even get a gold star from their teacher!
Remember Mad Libs? (I’m telling my age here, I know.) ChatGPT has a Mad Libs Storyteller feature you can use to create wacky fill-in-the-blank stories. Bonus? Mad Libs help your kid learn the parts of speech (shh, don’t tell them!).
The Fun Stuff
A.I. doesn’t just help with adulting. It can also be used for the funnest stuff ever. A few examples:
Write a love poem to your boo
Who wouldn’t love getting a flirty or sexy poem from their significant other? If you’re no Emily Dickinson, don’t despair. Tell A.I. about your dating history, your hunny-bunny’s favorite things, and details about intimate moments only you’d know (ahem), and ask it to compose a humdinger.
Vacation itineraryIf travel planning triggers anxiety for you (like it does me), A.I. to the rescue. A recent prompt: “Give me some activities for a couple on vacation for a week in Moab, Utah. Prioritize free activities that involve being outside and active but also includes downtime and cold IPAs.” ChatGPT responded with an itinerary including 10 fun, free and physically active things to do, and the best bar in walking distance from our VRBO.
What to watch or read nextYou already use A.I., even if you don’t realize it. When Amazon or Google makes suggestions based on your search words, that’s A.I. If you want to avoid spending as much time scrolling Netflix as watching the actual show, try asking ChatGPT what you should watch next. I do the same in the example below, for an engrossing book I read lately.
Party and event planning.Since I was raised in a cult that forbade celebrating holidays, I don’t have any traditions or rituals to draw from. Coming up with ideas feels overwhelming, since the holiday itself is a trauma trigger. I used ChatGPT to help me come up with ideas for holiday traditions to enjoy with my kids.
13 more ideas:
- Weight loss: A.I. will share workouts and no-guesswork eating plans to meet your calorie count.
- Ask for fun party ideas for your next girls’ night, date night or kid party
- Ask A.I. to analyze your daily schedule and craft a killer one to meet burning goals
- Ask A.I. for gift ideas. Give it specifics on what your person likes (colors, hobbies, music, etc)
- How to save money in a specific category, given your unique circumstances.
- Craft a home or car maintenance schedule that works for your life
- Tell A.I. what clothing items you own and ask for a capsule wardrobe shopping list
- Write a pithy toast, thank-you speech or greeting card
- A.I. will help you write replies to text message or emails from difficult people in your life
- Ask A.I. to write condolences or get well wishes when your emotions make you stuck
- Create art to hang on your walls or print to color
- Write funny responses for text messages and conversation starters for your next networking event
You’re limited only by your imagination. I’ve just scratched the surface here.
It’s All About the Prompt
The key to getting the most helpful results from A.I. is writing a good prompt. Prompting, simply put, are the words we use to ask.
The more specific, the better.
As an example, here’s a recent prompt I used:
I loved the book Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See. What should I read next?– Me
ChatGPT spit out 16 titles, organized by similar themes or settings.
An example of a less effective prompt would be, “Give me a meal plan.” That’s far too vague.
A better one would be, “Give me a weekly meal plan that’s budget friendly and avoids highly acidic foods. Prioritize using beans for the protein source. Include broccoli, corn, avocado and roasted red peppers. At the end, create a shopping list.”
In other words, be specific. The better the prompt, the better the output.
In this 3 minute video, I demonstrate how I use ChatGPT to create a meal plan with ingredients I already had on hand. It gave me a ten-day menu, but assumed I had unlimited amounts of those ingredients. (This is why A.I. won’t take over the world just yet, human beings are still needed for their reasoning capabilities!)
I edited the original prompt to include specific amounts I had on hand, and asked it to not repeat the ingredient once it was used up in a recipe.
How to Access A.I.
My favorite way to use A.I. is via ChatGPT. The basic, free version meets my needs, but there is an upgrade option.
Here’s a list of 7 free A.I. tools you can take for a spin.
The more I use A.I, the more I see how it can save me time and money as a busy single mom. It’s a bit addictive. But not as much as cocaine in the soda. <wink wink>
It depends on how you look at it! If you wanted to use ChatGPT to help you choose an anniversary present for your sweetie, you’d still need to prompt it with details only you know about your beloved, and pick the best option from the suggestions.
Not at all. If you can write an email or do a Google search, you can use ChatGPT and other A.I. tools. They’re quite intuitive.
Great question. A.I. can indeed be imperfect, which is why you should always fact check its results. The robots haven’t taken over… yet! A human still needs to judge its output.