52 Ways To Save: Get Organized

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

6 Ways being Organized Will Save you Money

The more I think about it, I really think that being organized is the key to saving money.  Not only does my sanity thrive when things are organized in my home, I find our bank account is happier too. :)

Here are 6 ways being organized helps to save me money:

Know what I already own

Having a spot for everything will help ensure that you know what you have on hand at all times. No need to buy the beans that are on sale because you know that you already have plenty in the pantry! Being organized (or more organized because we can’t be perfect!) stops you from spending money to replace items you can’t find.

 

I’ll avoid late fees

When you have an organized system in place for paying bills and returning borrowed items on time, you’ll certainly avoid the ugly late fees. Avoid paying late fees by implementing a system that will work for you. I have to tell you a story about the one time I had a late fee on the Visa bill. My bill paying “system” is not how my husband would do it and he suggested I try it his way.  His way was to pay off an amount as soon as there was a balance. My way is to pay it once a month on the due date, the balance of the statement in full. As soon as I receive the statement in the mail, I log into our online banking and schedule the payment to be made on the due date. Sure, it may be a larger amount doing it my way, but I’m never late in paying it! My husband has learned to just let me do my thing in that regard. 😉

Have time to plan a menu

When you’re organized, you’ll have time to set aside to plan the menu for the week. I’m a firm believer that having a menu plan in place will save you unnecessary trips to the grocery store and your sanity.  In our case, it saves us a ton because we’re avoiding the drive thru and actually eating what we buy from the grocery store.

Have time to cut and use coupons

If you’re a coupon user, being organized means you most likely have some time set aside for printing and organizing your coupons. Which also means you are probably organized to use the coupons at the store to pay rock bottom prices!

Know what projects you have on the go

Let’s pretend that I don’t know all about incomplete projects. (you know, those unfinished sewing and knitting projects that I found…) Every once in a while I get an urge to do something creative. But when I take the opportunity to have an organizing session, I usually discover a few unfinished projects.

Most recently, as I was going through my fabric stash, I found two unfinished projects.  A purse, which only needs to have the handles sewn on, and material for a sweatshirt I’ve cut out for my husband.   I now have two projects to finish to satisfy my creative urge without spending any more money!

Buy gifts well in advance

When you’re on the ball with upcoming special occasions, you can buy ahead when you find a great deal online or in the store. Helping you to avoid paying full price for something near your deadline.

How does being organized save you money? In what ways would you like to be more organized so you can save more?

See the other articles in this series, here.

Make Over Your Mornings: a 14 Day Online Course to Increase Fulfillment

I’ll admit that I am a morning person (I used to wake up at 4am for work at a local golf course and enjoy it!) Since I’m no longer working at the golf course, I don’t get up quite as early and I do enjoy the occasional sleep-in, however, morning is still the best time of day for me.

While I love mornings, getting my mornings under control was a factor in me becoming more organized and productive throughout the entire day. So if you’re like me and sometimes struggle with feeling behind all day you’ll want to check out this sale from Money Saving Mom!

Make Over Your Mornings Course – a 14-day online course that includes videos, a workbook, and step-by-step projects.

This 14-day course is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process.

Worried about having enough time to complete the course?  Don’t be!  The course has been specifically set up so that each day’s assignment can be done in just 15 minutes or less! That’s it! Plus, this course is self-paced and you have lifetime access to all course downloads. You can begin it at any time and you can go at your own pace!

In this 14-day course, you’ll:

  • Develop a morning routine and before bed routine that actually works—and that sets you up for amazing success!
  • Streamline your morning tasks so that the biggest priorities are accomplished first.
  • Learn how to make to-do lists that support your day, instead of strangle your life.
  • Create realistic, but stretching goals and then follow through with them.
  • Discover the power of accountability and how to implement it into your life.
  • Establish internal and external motivations to create perseverance in your new routines.
  • Find time to refuel your tank and make space in your day for things you love.
  • Experience much more focus, organization, and clarity in your daily life.

When you purchase this course, you’ll get immediate access to all of the following:

  • 14 high-quality videos with motivational encouragement
  • Short video clips that give you a behind-the-scenes peek into Crystal’s everyday home and life
  • A comprehensive workbook with 14 chapters filled with practical ideas and inspirational encouragement
  • Daily projects to guide you on your 14-day journey and help you implement and apply what you learned from the daily video and chapter
  • Printable worksheets to walk you step-by-step through some of the projects and motivate you to follow through
  • Additional links and resources for each day, if you’d like to dig deeper on a subject

How to access the course:

The course videos and materials can be accessed via any desktop computer, laptop computer, smartphone, or mobile device. You can choose to print the workbook or download it to your computer or phone.

Cost of the course:

The 14 day course will normally retail for $17, however, there is currently a giant sale to take advantage of! Get all the help you need for less!  Starting today, June 2, you can save by ordering early:

  • 12 a.m. to 7 a.m. ET on June 2, 2015 – just $5!!!
  • 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. – just $7!
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. – only $10!
  • 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. – only $13!

Click here to purchase the Make Over Your Mornings Course now!

P.S: There is a 30 Day 100% Money Back Guarantee in place. That makes it a no brainer!  You can’t lose wither way!

How to Successfully Sell Stuff Online

How to Sell Stuff Online - great tips for selling items via Craigslist/Kijiji, eBay and Facebook. Post includes a free printable "stuff for sale" list!

How to Sell Stuff Online

Something I like to do on a semi regular basis, is to purge some of the stuff in our home that is not needed anymore.  Although there always seems to be some sort of mess around these parts, extra clutter drives me crazy.  But before I haul everything off to the thrift store, I set aside anything I think I could sell online; it’s always nice to earn bit of extra spending money!

While I’m a fan of the traditional garage sale, selling some of our old things online is really gaining popularity in my books.  I’ve found it to be less work and I tend to make more money than if I were to sell the items in a garage sale.

I’ve been dabbling a fair bit with some local Facebook Buy & Sell sites, so that’s where I have most of my experience. But Craigslist and Kijiji are also great free options for selling your stuff online.  Although, I’ve found that small items typically don’t sell well with Craigslist and Kijiji so that’s why I’ve been sticking with these Buy & Sell Facebook groups. Ebay is also a great option is you have brand name items and collector items to sell.

Here are some tips to help you sell stuff online through Craigslist/Kijiji, Facebook and eBay:

Research

Spend some time taking a look at items similar to what you want to sell to get an idea of what you should price your item at.  It might also be a good idea to research some of the details you think buyers might want to know. (ie: dimensions, special features…etc.)

Price Your Item Well

If you simply want to get rid of stuff quickly, price your stuff quite low.  If earning a bit of money is your goal, price your items by what you see similar items selling for.  Quite often I’ll price something a bit higher then what I’m willing to take because it’ll be a bonus if someone does purchase it at my asking price. But I know people like to barter to get a lower price.  They’ll feel like they’re getting a deal and I’m happy I was able to earn some decent spending money!

Take Good Photos

Having good, clear photos with your item is fairly crucial if you want to sell it quickly.  Here are some basic tips for taking a good picture:

  • Find good lighting. Try to take your pictures in natural light. In a dark room, the photo won’t show clearly, and artificial light can change the color of the item.
  • Clean the item. Make sure you give the item a good wipe down or wash to show off the condition.
  • Create a clear background. Place the item in an area of your home or yard that is free of  clutter.  You want to make it clear what you’re selling so don’t let any other distracting items show up in the photo.
  • Take several shots. Take at least one shot from every angle.

Choose the Right Category for your Item

To make your item easy to find, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right category to list your item under. After all, no one is going to look for a car in the Housing category!

Write a Clear Headline

In the headline, I like to include what it is and the price.  For example:  Fisher Price Jumparoo, $40.  Having a good headline is important because it’s the first thing people see about your ad and it’s how buyers search for items they want.

Write a Good Description

In your description, you’ll want to include:

  1. What you’re selling. Start the ad by explaining what your item is.
  2. Item’s condition. Briefly explain the condition of the item. Make a note of any damages.
  3. Technical details. Include as many technical details as you can about the item.
  4. Price. Don’t forget to state the price again. Be sure to include whether you’re firm in your price or willing to take a best offer.
  5. Your contact information. At the bottom of your ad, note your preferred method of contact.

Be Safe

Once you have your ad up and running, and you have your buyer, you’ll want to meet in a safe place.  If I’m home alone, I like to arrange a public place for item pick-up.  I try to plan it with an errand I’m already running to save running around all over town. (This one doesn’t really apply to items you sell though eBay since you’re shipping the items to the mailing address your buyer provided.)

The Best time to use:

Craigslist/Kijiji

Craigslist and Kijiji are great options for selling furniture, toys, vehicles and household items.  My husband has had great success selling a couple of vehicles. I have had success with selling some furniture we no longer need.  It’s free to list your items, so there really isn’t any reason not to try a handful of items!

eBay

eBay is the best option for selling popular brand name items such as Coach, Kate Spade and the like that are in excellent condition. High value collector items or hard to find items are also a great match for eBay.  It’s free to list items on eBay but you are required to pay a commission if your item sells.

Facebook Buy & Sell Groups

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Facebook buy & sell groups.  After all, these Facebook groups are easy to use and are free to join and list. I’ve had great success selling baby items, household stuff, outerwear and books. Search for a local buy & sell group, then ask to join. I’m fairly certain that these groups are in almost every city these days. You’ll want to be sure to read the rules of each group so you don’t end up with your listings being deleted by the administrators. (They set rules to cut down on some of the clutter that posting many items by so many people can cause.)

I’ve created, what I hope will be useful, a Stuff For Sale printable that you can use to keep track of your items as you sell them.  Because I use Facebook groups mostly, that’s how I structured this printable:

Stuff to Sell Printable

{Get your Stuff for Sale Printable here}

Have you ever sold anything online?  Will you be giving it a try?  What are your tips for selling, or even buying online?

How to Sell Stuff Online - great tips for selling items via Craigslist/Kijiji, eBay and Facebook. Post includes a free printable "stuff for sale" list!

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!