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Archive for the ‘organization’ tag

August 4th, 2014 at 10:10 am

Organizing Your Finances

Managing Your Finances

Wouldn’t you like to stop worrying about your finances? Making a plan and getting organized will help you understand your financial situation and lower your stress. I am constantly amazed at how many people find a budget so difficult to manage. Even people with an endless income can use a budget to manage their money and keep track of their spending and saving.

Here are some ways to get organized in the money department:

Create a budget. List all the different categories that you may spend money on. I like to get more specific but others do well with general categories. Take control of your money and assign realistic amounts to each category. Pay attention to categories that you have some control over and can use coupons or specials savings on ~ Eating out, groceries, utilities, and clothing.

Set goals for your finances.  Think about what you want to accomplish over the next year, 5 years, or even more. Set up ways to save for those goals. It is great to get the kids involved in these ideas too.  Also think about retirement and what you want to accomplish savings wise.

Set up a way to keep track of your finances. This may be done online, through spreadsheets or apps, or with pen and paper in a finance journal. Find what way works best for you.

Search online for ways to save and organize. There are tons of coupons and saving strategies available on the Internet. Most companies have some sort of loyalty program, app, or newsletter signup where you can be alerted when there are savings available. When making a big purchase, do research online to find the best price possible. Buying pre-owned or used items such as furniture, cars, etc. can cut prices significantly. Create a “savings strategy” and stick to it. I.e. Every week you clip the newspaper coupons, do an online search and print, and organize your coupons in a booklet or folder so it’s readily available when you shop. Set up an email account just for savings, and have all your newsletters and coupon emails in one place.

Make sure your family is on board. Make sure everyone is part of this process. If you are the only one trying to save money, the other family members will still make trips out to eat, keep the lights on in unused rooms, and plan extravagant vacations.  If you are all on task, more money will appear in your savings and all your financial dreams will come true!

How do you manage your money?

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October 17th, 2011 at 5:00 am

My Biggest Stress at This Time of Year

Work? School? Kids? Chores?

I have to make a big admission- during this time of year my biggest stress is the amount of toys my kids have. What adds to this stress is the fact that in a little more than two months we will gain even more. How are you doing on your Christmas To Do List?

For the past 5 years I have just ignored our playroom until a week or so before Christmas. That, combined with the normal stress of Christmas, has ended up in near panic attacks. So, this year I decided that I was going to do things a little earlier, and a little differently. It seemed to go a little easier, plus I really weeded a lot more out than I expected.

First, I went through the room and took everything out that the kids no longer show any interest in. I piled all these items in my kitchen so I could accumulate any parts that may have been separated at first weeding. I was amazed at all the things that I was able to pile together. What surprised me even more is that my youngest son, who was home at the time, only threw a fit about two items. I asked him why he wanted these items and he was convincing so those items went back into the room. If he would have asked for much more, I would have had to make him make harder decisions about what he wanted to truly keep.

Next, I went through the remaining toys in the room and reorganized them. If I discovered broken parts then I decided wether something should truly be kept. Most of those things went. I was able to reorganize and move some things around and make the playroom much more spacious.

The last part is that I went through the times that I plead in the “garbage” pile and made sure that some of the little parts weren’t truly essential parts to toys we were keeping. My oldest son did this with me and only one item he pleaded to keep. Most of the items were truly garbage.

Now, we have a clean playroom that has some room to grow. I do find as my boys get older that we don’t accumulate as many toys since their wish list has some video game and book options. It’s amazing the difference that this experience felt like compared to the normal “cleaning of the playroom” at this time of year.

No, I truly feel like I can tackle Christmas!

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August 22nd, 2011 at 5:00 am

My Newest Internet Obsession ~ Pinterest

Dislaimer: The site I am about to introduce you to may be a time-sucker, but is totally worth it for all the ideas you receive in return! 

Upon first glance, Pinterest doesn’t quite make sense, but it truly is what it says – Pinning your Interest. The true purpose is to create boards and you “pin” pictures to them. You can think of them as “virtual” bulletin boards or idea notebooks. The best way to get the sense of it is by first looking at the way people set up their pinboards. You can see mine here. People use their pinboards to capture photo ideas, recipes, clothing, gift ideas, tutorials, home inspirations, and wedding ideas.

Pinterest really is genius. I now use it to capture any of my bookmarks that would be easier to find an idea with a picture!

So, how do you get the pictures onto your boards? The easiest way to pin is to install the Pin It bookmark. Then when you are on a website and find a picture you like, you just click Pin It and the page turns into a bunch of boxes showing all the pictures. You click Pin It on each one that you want to add to a board. The other way to find pictures is to “Re-Pin.” If you have an account and click on the Pinterest logo at the top left of the page, it will show you pictures that your friends have recently pinned. You can re-pin them to your own boards.

Another great way to search for ideas is just to type in a search term – maybe first day of school, fall decor, crockpot recipes, preschool snacks, infant photo ideas or birthday ideas. The possibilities and pins are endless!

So, how do you get an account? Right now the fastest way to get an account is by having someone email you an invite. If you need an invite, leave me your email address in the comments and I can send you one.

If you are already on Pinterest, feel free to post your link so all the newbies have people to follow right away!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


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August 9th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Evernote – Finally, a Way to Reduce the Clutter

Being a mom, a wife, running a business and a life is hard work. We are inundated with stuff. Mail, information, schedules, recipes, photos, ideas, receipts, numbers and so much more. It’s a HUGE challenge to stay on top of it and maintain some sort of organization.

I have folders with clippings and documents. I have piles on my desk, on the coffee table, on my kitchen counters, in drawers, in inboxes, outboxes and any other type of box I can find that might make the pile less of an eyesore. They are the bane of my existence because every time I start to pare down the piles, new stuff comes in that has to be added. And forget the post it notes and little pieces of  paper with lists, names, to-do’s and such.

In a perfect world, we could process every “thing” that comes in and get it out of sight. But that perfect world? Yeah right. How do minimalists do it anyway?

So I found an app that just might be the ticket to fewer piles. At least I hope so. It’s called Evernote and the more I use it the more I think this might be one of the best apps ever.

Evernote comes in many forms. An app for your PC or Mac, a website, and mobile apps for just about any smartphone or tablet. Click here for the list of available devices and download info.

This app lets you take notes, pictures, audio clips and web clips of whatever you need and save it to a digital notebook. For example, I’ve started taking photos of the torn out magazine pages with interesting recipes and storing them in a recipe notebook. I can tag the recipes by main ingredient or category and search on them when it’s time to give it a try. And how cool will it be when I find myself in the grocery store and can pull up the recipe on my phone to check that I have all the ingredients?

Another way I’m using it is to take photos of wine labels when I taste a good one. Easier to find it in the store when I can match up the image, no?

I do believe my handy little purse notepad will not see much action any more.

To get started with Evernote, create an account at the Evernote website and download the computer app. There’s a great getting started guide and some tutorial videos that help you get started.

Then you can download the mobile app for whichever device(s) you have. I have it on both my Android phone and my iPad. This way, I can use whatever device is at hand to get info into my notebooks. And the best part? Evernote synchronizes all of the different device apps every few minutes so no matter which device I have, I can see it all.

Friends, this is just crazy cool. I think I love this app. Maybe I too can become a minimalist. Well maybe not, but at least a little less cluttered.

Here’s another blog post that describes how Carley Knobloch, founder of Digitwhirl uses Evernote.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

 

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March 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am

Organized Chaos

How do I explain my day to day life ?

Organized Chaos

Not only am I a mom and wife, but I am responsible for most of the inner workings of my home along with running a business from home in the meantime. My sons are both in school, one in kindergarten and the other in preschool, so I spend time helping in their classrooms, doing classroom projects, and being the room mother.

How do I manage to keep this all straight?

The first is a bit of organization. You will always find me with my calendar and several lists. Each week I make a list of things I would like to accomplish for each of my responsibility areas. Then each evening after the kids go to bed I look through my calendar and to do lists to make a quick list for the next day.  This at least gives me a game plan on how I can conquer the next day.

Then the chaos part comes in. Being a mom of two boys, life is just naturally chaotic. Responsibilities for the day can change, kids can get sick, messes can be made and work assignments can be added which all add to that chaos.

The way I deal with the chaos is to take my day one moment at a time. I don’t put too much stress on myself to finish my to do list. Obviously, I would like to complete as much of my to do list as I can, but I go into each day knowing that life can change at any moment, and usually does.

My youngest son, Connor, is a very active three year old who I sometimes describe as a tornado. I can turn my back and the living room can be torn apart in a minute, cereal can be covering the kitchen floor, or my freshly folded laundry basket can be torn apart.  This makes five minutes of a child’s mischief into an hour of my time. A little chaotic and obviously not planned.

That makes life interesting though, right? How do you organize your chaos?

Kim Ross also writes at A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


 

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