4 Organizational Systems That Will Save You Money

Organizational Systems that will Save you Money

We all know that being organized means we stress less, are happier and can think more clearly. But I’m a big believer of the fact that being organized can also really save you money!  Here are four systems that I think you should have organized in your life that will save you money (and sanity!):

A Simple Menu Planning System

If you’re wanting to eliminate the expensive Drive Thru routine, having a Simple menu plan in place is key. There’s no need for an elaborate plan. Simply jot down a week’s worth of meals based on what you have in the pantry/fridge/freezer in a notebook or on the calendar. Make sure to take a look at your busy days so you can have a slow cooker meal planned for those days.  Having a menu plan in place will also save you time and money at the grocery store. Say goodbye to wandering the aisles aimlessly and buying unnecessary items for a meal you “might” make.

A Coupon Organization System

If you’re a coupon user, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a system in place for using your coupons effectively.  Nothing is quite as disappointing as realizing you found several expired coupons for products you would have bought because you use those products regularly.

Set aside a couple of hours a month or a few minutes every week to cut and sort your coupons into your chosen system. (accordion folder, binder…etc).  Check out this post for a thorough look at some great coupon organizing systems.

A Regular Decluttering System

I find that having regular decluttering sessions helps me to save money and regain some sanity.  I usually find some long lost items that I thought I’d have to spend money on to replace. In between my decluttering sessions, I like to have a “purge” box going at all times. Every time I come across an item that either annoys me or I haven’t used in a long time goes straight into the box. Sometimes, having a decluttering system in place even helps me to earn a few extra spending dollars when I sell some items!

A Money Management System

Make sure you have en effective money management system in place. That means you have a paper filing system for bills and important documents and a budget system/spreadsheet that works for you. Missing a bill payment can easily be avoided if you have an organized system in place that works for you.  If you’re trying to repay debt or saving for something, a budget system is essential to tracking your progress and gives you healthy money boundaries that will ensure your success. Google or search Pinterest for budget tips, spreadsheets and more.

Keeping up with these systems does not have to be hard. Set aside a few minutes a day or a chunk of time once a week for maintaining these systems.  What’s really hard, is letting your systems fall by the wayside, then having to figure out a way to regain control, which can end up costing you a lot more time and money in the long run.

Do you have any of these systems in place in your home?  How do you keep your finances and home organized?

Organizational Systems

5 Ways I Cut Down on Clutter

5 Ways I Cut Down on Clutter

I think it’s safe to say that I really dislike clutter.  It’s just not pretty and it can mess with my mental state. ;) Mind you, I have become more relaxed about messes since Sienna was born. But there’s just something about having a tidy and clean house when you spend about 90% of your time in it! (In my case, that is)

Over the years, I have found some tried and true ways that help me cut down on clutter. I hope they’ll help you! Here are the 5 Ways I Cut Down on Clutter:

Have a once a year “Get Organized” challenge

We’re currently in the midst of the Get Organized in January challenge here at Simply Frugal!  I’d encourage you to hop aboard to start tackling your clutter.  This yearly challenge is so great for my clutter busting motivation.  I break problem areas in my home down into 1 simple task a day. It also helps that I have to be accountable to you guys by reporting back once a week with my progress :)  By the end of the month I usually have quite a few boxes to take to the thrift store!

Sell things on Facebook Buy & Sell sites

Almost every time I come across an item in my home that I don’t need anymore, I try to sell it on one of my local Facebook buy & sell sites.  I usually have pretty good success with selling the items quickly. I also feel like I can get more money this way over trying to sell it through a garage sale. Look for a post later this month with my handy dandy guide with tips for selling items online!

Have a thrift store box going at all times

I make sure I always have a box hidden in a corner that can hold the items I need to bring to the second hand store. Usually items that don’t sell quick enough for me and items that I don’t want the hassle of trying to sell go in that box. Once it’s full, I take it in!

Really think through purchases

This one is pretty key if you want to avoid bringing clutter into your home in the first place.  Don’t make spur of the moment purchases when you’re not 100% sure that you will get good use out of the item.  I have done this so.many.times.  More often than not, those purchases end up going in the thrift store box. It doesn’t matter how good of a deal you got on it if it ends up in “The Box” shortly after.

Related: Is it Really a Good Deal?

Take care of the papers that come in the mail immediately

Paper clutter can be so overwhelming. I’ve made a habit of going through the mail and papers as soon as I grab them. Newspapers get read right away then recycled, and mail gets sorted into three piles: Recycling, To Shred and To File/Pay. This works for me because I know where the important papers are and I’ve reduced the paper clutter by putting the “trash” into the recycling.

While my home is far from clutter free, these tips help me to feel like I have a better handle on the mess that can accumulate so quickly.

Do you have any tips that will help other cut down on clutter?  Please share in the comments!

7 Steps to Organize Your Coupons for Ultimate Savings

Ultimate Savings

Are you looking to save more money this year? Whether you are an occasional couponer or an avid one, take a peek below at 7 steps to organize your coupons for ultimate savings. By making a few changes to your organization, you can make sure your coupons work for you and get you the most bang for your buck. Here is how you can get started organizing your coupons and saving more!

1. Step One: Utilize a binder.

Head to your local dollar store for a simple three ring binder. You can then decorate it to your liking or just keep it clean and plain. Make sure it is sturdy and will last being handled often during the year.

2. Step Two: Divide your binder contents.

Now, divide your binder into sections. Your sections can be as follows: Dairy, Produce, Breads, Meat, Desserts, Breakfast, Toiletries, Cleaning, Soon to Expire. Place plastic sheets into each section which can then be used to hold the coupons for that section.  (I like these ones.)

3. Step Three: Print off coupon policies.

Print off the coupon policies to your favorite store and add them to the back of your binder. This way you always have them for easy reference should you need them.

4. Step Four: Make a flyer pocket.

At the front of your binder, make a pocket for flyers. This way, you also have those to easily reference should you need them when shopping.

5. Step five: Do a weekly expiration check.

At the start of each week, do a check of the coupons to remove any that may have expired. If any are soon to expire, remove them and place them in a ‘soon to expire” file so you can use them before they become worthless.

6. Step Six: Bundle double coupon scenarios.

For stores like Target that let you stack coupons, bundle those coupons together before filing them. For example if Target has a store coupon for Dove soap and you have a manufacturer coupon for it as well, clip them together before filing. This way you won’t have to dig and can figure your savings out easily.

7. Step Seven: Track your savings.

Keep a running tally in the back of your binder of how much you have saved. You can do this by storing your receipts or simply jot down the date and the amount of coupon savings you earned. At the end of the month add up your savings and use it as a goal and motivator for next month.

You can make the most of your coupons and really save at the checkout! Give these tips a try and see how they work for you!

How to Get Started Organizing

You want to start organizing, but you're just not sure where to start! Here are some suggestions that may help you to get started organizing.

Sometimes, getting started organizing is the hardest part. You want to start, but you feel overwhelmed because you’re just not sure where to start!

Here are some suggestions that may help you to get started organizing:

Make a list 

Sit down and make a list of all the areas in your home that you would like to see organized. Seeing everything written down could help you to pick something, whether it be a small task or an area that annoys you!  Simply pick one thing, do it, then cross it off!

Start small

By starting with a small project, such as a single drawer, you may be inclined to keep going onto the next small project.  And so on and so on, until you’ve finished each area of your home!  Here are some small project ideas to get you started:

  • A drawer
  • A shelf
  • A closet
  • One surface space
  • Your spices
  • One cupboard
  • Medicine cabinet

Start in the room that requires the least amount of work

It’s a possibility, that by starting in an area of your home that requires a lot of organizing hours to complete, could turn you off before you start to see any results.  I personally, love to see almost instant results in nearly every situation. So when it comes to organizing, starting somewhere that doesn’t require a lot of effort will motivate me to carry on.

Start on the area that annoys you the most

Is there a an area in your home that annoys you to no end because you can never find what you’re looking for?  Start there.  If tackling an area means it’ll make your life more manageable while you’re working on organizing other areas, that annoying spot could be a great place to start!

Just start

If you’re not naturally a planner and you’re trying to get things just right in your head before you start, the planning process could actually scare you into doing nothing. Instead, clear your mind and tackle a drawer. Once you see how easy that was then you can move on to another, then another. Take baby steps and don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at the whole picture.

Set goals

Set goals that will allow you to look at the big picture.  If you don’t don’t start with a plan that focuses on the big picture then you could find yourself constantly ‘organizing’ your home.  In this case, you may not be making long term decisions about how to store your things to make them work with your lifestyle.  For example, I have a drawer in a storage pantry in our kitchen/dining area that is devoted to diapers.  I purposely put them in an easily accessible drawer because I knew we’d be constantly in need of them, yet they’re not in plain sight.  This works wonderfully for our lifestyle right now!

Get motivated

Find yourself some motivation!  Here are some ideas:

  • Read organizing blogs – These blogs are full of useful tips for everyone!
  • Read decor blogs – Maybe envisioning what your space could look like will motivate you?
  • Watch an organizing show -Something like Hoarders could really help light the organizing fire
  • Have guests over – Nothing gets your act in gear when you’re anticipating company! (or maybe this will only force you to shove things in the closets…)
  • Lose something – hehe, but seriously, I’ve gone on organizing rampages when I can’t find something of importance!

Set the timer

If you know a project will take you 3 – 4 hours or more, you’re likely to put it off.  But, if you work at it and organize in small bursts, by setting a timer for 15 – 30 minutes, you’re more likely to get your project done!  Or how about doing a quick project (sorting the mail) while you’re waiting for water to boil or the microwave to finish?

Hopefully these are some ideas to help you get started with organizing your home to make it a place that you love being in!

What I really want to know though, is that I’m not the only person that tries to get as much done as I can while I’m waiting for the microwave to beep?

Where do you start first when you organize?  Did these tips help?  Share your ideas in the comments!

:: Free 2015 Home Management Binder Printables

Free-Home-Management-Binder-Printables-2015

Download and print these free 2015 home management binder printables from Motherhood on a Dime!  Get your year off to an organized start.

10 Free Resources to Help You Get Organized

10 Free Resources to Help you Get Organized!

If you’re looking at 2015 as your year to get organized, check out these 10 free resources to help you get organized!  I’m sure you’ll find something that will work for you!

artsy-fartsy-printable

Artsy Fartsy Mama has some  pretty weekly to-do/menu planners that you can print.

printables

Design Finch provides 20 different weekly planners, menu planners, weekly cleaning checklists, and blog planners.

Harmonized_House_Pack1

Download free Harmonized House Home Management Binder printables.

amy-bayliss

Find tons of home management printables from Amy Bayliss.

plan-of-attack

Download or print this Daily Plan of Attack.

31days-printables

Here are 31 Days of Home Management printables from OrganizingHomelife.com.

confident mom

 

Free printable 2015 weekly household planner from The Confident Mom

home-management

Here’s how to create a Home Management binder, including free printables.

printables

Delicate Construction provides several free printables for a Home Management binder.

apparel

Yet more Home Management binder printables.

200-printables

There are over 200 free printables from Life Your Way.

Be sure to check out the free downloads we offer here on Simply Frugal!  You’ll find a freezer inventory list, Important numbers list, Coupon Trackers, Master cleaning list and more to come!

5 Free Goal-Setting Printables

Trying to set some goals and stick with them this year?  Here’s a list of 5 printables or tools that can help!

goals

Create a rotating goal list with instructions from Lovely Photocards Inspirations by Jennifer.

food-contract

Download a food contract to help you track your nutrition and weight-loss goals each week.

life-goals

Download a free Organize Your Life & Goals Workbook Planner.

goal-list

Here’s a free printable Goal List Form.

goals4

Print this free Weekly Household Planner and Goal Sheet from Only a Breath.

Be sure to check out the free downloads we offer here on Simply Frugal!  You’ll find a freezer inventory list, an Important numbers list, Coupon Trackers, a Master cleaning list with more to come!

 

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Order Christmas Cards

christmas cards in mailbox

It’s about this time of year when I really start to get excited about the Christmas season.  I get a bit of an urge to turn on the Christmas carols and swap out my fall decor for some winter decorations.  Also, have you seen Pinterest lately?  This is the time of year when amazing Christmas stuff gets pinned!

Alas, it’s so easy to get carried away dreaming about all the projects you want to do.  Adding too many crafts, baking and activities can be overwhelming and the opposite of simplifying!

Every year I struggle with wanting to make all sorts of neat things to feature on Simply Frugal.  But the reality is, I have limited time with a very busy toddler underfoot and other responsibilities to deal with.  So any project I do accomplish has to be simple and quick.  Preferably something I can do in about an hour, including picture taking!

All this to say, you don’t have to pack your schedule full of Christmas activities, baking, crafting and shopping in order to have a festive and memorable season.

This is why I’m breaking down the steps to an organized Christmas by one task a week.  It’s good to have direction and a plan in place!  I know without a plan, I become quite scatterbrained! :P  8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas is about creating a more relaxed Christmas season with just the right amount of extra projects and activities.

Here’s this week’s task:

Order Christmas Cards

Now, I realize that many of you are not likely to order custom Christmas cards but for those of you that do, now is a great time to do so!  Custom Christmas cards can take a while to arrive in the mail and if you want them to be sent out to friends & family in a timely fashion, I’d get on it this week. :)

Here are a few designs I love, along with some deals!

vistaprint

Vistaprint Canada has a great selection and currently offering their Christmas cards at 50% off for a limited time with the coupon code BEMERRY.

snapfish

Snapfish.ca is offering free shipping on your $30 or more purchase with coupon code FSNOVA30 until November 27, 2014.  Also, get 20 free prints if this is your first time ordering from Snapfish.

shutterfly

Save up to 40% off cards from Shutterfly with the coupon code CARD40 for a limited time!

pinkdotdesign

Pink dot Design has a wonderful selection of Christmas cards!

etsy

Etsy also has a ton of shop owners who create beautiful custom cards and templates!

If you aren’t the type to order custom cards you can of course buy a set of boxed cards and add a photo and a letter if you wish!  That’s what I’ll be doing this year.  I bought a box of cards last year on clearance so I’ll be sticking in our family photo and hand delivering to friends and mailing to out of town family.

Oh, and I’ve got a post telling you how you can create your own FREE custom photo cards.  You won’t want to miss it!

This week along with ordering/buying Christmas cards, take care of these tasks as well:

  • buy stamps, envelopes, if necessary
  • write Christmas letter, if desired
  • put family photos inside, if desired

Do you send out Christmas cards each year?

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Holiday Calendar

gingerbread house

There are a lot of fun things to do throughout the Christmas season.  Gingerbread house making, caroling, Christmas plays, cookie exchanges, dinner parties, Christmas light looking, craft making and even holiday movie watching.  There is so much to do, there may not be enough time to do it all!

Why won’t you be able to do everything you want to do?  Well, because there’s grocery shopping, laundry, dinner making and everyday life stuff that still has to happen!

This is where planning comes in really handy.  After all, life is busy, and it’ll be hard to get the fun things on the schedule if you don’t plan ahead.

Here are the steps to take if you want to do lots of fun holiday things this year:

Grab your Calendar

First of all, grab your calendar and mark down all the things you know will be happening regardless of the holidays.  Doctor’s appointments, school activities, office parties…etc.

Talk as a Family

Next, you’ll want to gather the family to discuss all the activities each of you want to do.  Sledding? Cookie decorating party? Christmas play watching?  Brainstorm to your heart’s content.  Make sure to write down all the Christmas movies you want to watch and even the crafts you want to do.

Prioritize

Since there are likely more ideas than time, take a look over the calendar again and plan for the activities you can realistically accomplish.  Even with the regular life stuff added in.

Back to the Budget

Before you get carried away with grandiose plans, go back to your budget.  What did you allot for fun?  The case may be that you’ll have to save some activities for future years.

Fill in your Calendar

Now fill in your calendar with all the activities that you can set in stone. Buy those concert tickets and finalize plans with friends, then make them on the calendar.  Make sure to allow for some quiet nights/days at home!

Holiday activities are supposed to be fun so don’t stress about doing everything.  Just make a point of doing the things you want to do instead of wishing they would happen. Planning in advance will make the season more relaxing.

I’d love to know, what’s one thing you’ll be adding to your calendar this year?

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

Checklist for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Do you want to know my secret for a stress-free Thanksgiving? (or any big family meal for that matter…)  Yeah? Okay. Just have your Dad, who loves to cook, prepare all the main dishes and Turkey, then all you have to do is bring along the dessert. ;)

While this is a realistic scenario for our Thanksgiving and special occasions, (my dad is the best!) I’m sure it’s not for most families.  We can get away with this because we usually have a maximum of 8 people to serve.

Since I know big family meals can be hectic (I’ve experienced many of my husband’s extended family get-togethers), I thought creating a checklist would be really helpful to those of you that want to cut back on some chaos.

This checklist doesn’t tell you what to cook (I trust you have your family favourites) but I’m hoping it will give you a guideline for when things can be completed.  Also, I realize that Canadian Thanksgiving is only a week away, but I think this checklist can be used for any holiday dinner. Simply click on the image below or click here to download your free Checklist for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving.

Checklist for a stress-free thanksgiving

How to you lessen the stress of big family meals?  Also, I’d love to hear what goes on your Thanksgiving menu in the comments!