Summer Fun on a Tight Budget

18 06 2013

I understand the urge to want to take your kids everywhere and give them everything. I grew up in a VERY large family with seven brothers and six sisters. My clothes came from my older siblings or from my friends, I received a new toy at Christmas time and my birthday was often forgotten.

I constantly have the urge to want to give my children everything to make up for what I did not have as a child. This is good and bad in my opinion. Good, I want my children to feel special and have many different experiences. Bad, because giving my children everything will create entitled spoiled children AND I am on a budget….giving my children everything does not fit in the budget.

So how can you give your children everything on a budget?? I will tell you how…..take advantage of FREE events.

A month ago I went through and looked at the community calendar, library calendar, and chamber of commerce calendar  in my city and made a list of all the Free events. The community I live in has TONS of events for kids and adults. Not every community is like Buffalo so if that is the case look to a neighboring city for fun Free events.

The City of Buffalo, MN just finished up a week of festivities for Buffalo Days. My kids had a week full of activities, some of the events we attended included;

Wednesday: Free Hog Roast and music in the park

Thursday: Free Water Ski Show and Movie in the Park

Friday: Fireworks

Saturday: Free Kids Fishing Clinic (this was amazing, my kids received tackles boxes, planted flowers, got t-shirts, frisbees, coloring books, fishing bait, stickers, tattoos and much more). Bouncy Castle/Obstacle Course (this was $1.00 for the day NOT per time through), $1.00 Pony rides, Free roping lessons, Free dog agility show, Free boat rides and all the while there was Free entertainment to watch. There was also a kiddie parade and large parade in the evening.

Sunday: Free airplane show and car show, Free breakfast in the park

Not to Mentioned some of the events we did not get to during the day included:

Summer Reading Kickoff at the library with root beer floats and a magician, Free – Family Toy Workshop, Teddy Bear Band, Bingo and lots of free entertainment in the park.

All of this was in one week!!

Check out your local community, communities, and state. Take advantage of your states attractions, each state has a tourism guide, I checked out the Minnesota Tourism magazine and priced out different museums, parks and Minnesota events that had free kids days or cheaper tickets.

Take advantage of what your community has to offer.

1. It is FREE or very cheap

2. You and your kids can get involved in the community

3. Your kids have a great time because they are spending time with you

4. You are having a great time because you are with your kids….and oh yeah….it is not burning a hole in your wallet

Have Fun and Get Creative!





Your Organized Life on Pinterest

13 06 2013

I have some really exciting news, Your Organized Life is officially on Pinterest.

Follow Your Organized Life on Pinterest and have great resources, tips and how to’s at your finger tips!!!





Extreme Couponing 101 Event

11 06 2013

I am so excited that I will be putting on another Extreme Couponing 101 event hosted by Meshed Designs in Buffalo, MN. The event is on June 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

There is SO much information in this class, there is something for everyone, beginner couponers and seasoned veterans, one of the comments from the last session was from a woman who had been couponing for over 10 years and she learned many new tips.

Follow the event page and preregister, there is limited seating. There is a $5.oo material fee….oh yeah and you will also receive a $5.00 off coupon for any Your Organized Life Product or Services…win win!!!

https://www.facebook.com/events/530042820364588/

I hope to see you all there!!!

Happy Saving!!!





Get Creative ~ Think Outside the Box and Save Money

10 06 2013

Everyone wants to save money, right? Or at least would like more money in their wallets. I am always looking for creative ways to save money, my most recent adventure is starting a garden…wish me luck! Every couple of months I will Google key phrases like, “ways to save money” or “money-saving tips” and I hope to find new ideas that were not on any previous lists. Here is an example of one of those searches:

http://www.beingfrugal.net/101-ways-to-save-money/ – 93 ways to save money, and of those 93 I have already tried 64 of them. I can say honestly almost every single one has actually saved me money. Of course I did not try all of these at once since that would be overwhelming and I would end up hating the decision to make the change. Side note (if you are feeling overwhelmed slow down and take something off your plate. I make changes as they fit into my life for example this year my two huge changes were planting a garden, starting an official compost and using essential oils for more than my cleaning products and bug spray. These are very large changes, they take time and research and a conscious effort to change habits.

I wanted to share some of the creative ways that I found to save my family money that are outside of the normal “cancel cable” or “carpool”.  What I think the most amazing part about getting creative and finding new ways to save money is not because it saved us money is it had this amazing effect to slow me down. A quick example of some ways we save money is by line drying clothes, making our own soaps, mowing our lawn with a reel mower and making meals from scratch. At first I thought these things were going to be inconvenient and take more time out of my day and I originally thought “who has time for this…I know I don’t!!! I have a business to run, I work full-time, I have two little kids and a husband that has needs too….and not to mention I still have to take a shower….how will I find time to make all of this from scratch…I can’t cook…and line dry my clothes….and besides…the clothes will be crunchy and that is annoying!!”

Here are some of the best ways we have saved money and created healthy habits and got us to slow down and enjoy the life we built together.

Line Drying Clothes ~ this takes time, patience and planning. I have learned a few things over the last year of line drying clothes:

1. Use vinegar as a softener and the clothes will be less crunchy

2. Hang clothes on a windy day and they will be less crunchy

3. Snap the clothes before you hang them they will be less crunchy and less wrinkled

4. Put the clothespins at the seams of clothes and you will not notice the marks

5. The sun is a natural bleach so no need for bleach!!! Whoop Whoop.

Programmable Thermostat, Fans, Change Temperatures, Windows/Shades

1. The programmable thermostat was an INSTANT money saver…I could not believe it!!! Since we replaced our windows and added a programmable thermostat the same month it was hard to tell the exact amount the thermostat saved us, but our electric bill dropped over $100.00 a MONTH!!!

2. Fans – great way to pull in cool air in the morning from outside

3. Open two windows in rooms next to each other, in one window place a fan that blows the air outside, cool air from outside will come in the window with no fan, and be pulled towards the fan that is blowing air outside, so you have a cool air flow flowing through your rooms you want to cool down. That was harder to explain than I thought it was going to be 🙂

4. Fan – if you switch the rotation of your ceiling fan in the winter and summer it can bring warm air down since heat rises and vice versa in the other seasons.

5. Windows/Shades – if you want to keep your house cool close your shades and curtains, if you want to heat up your house open the shades and curtains. In the summer I leave my curtains and blinds shut so my house stays cool and in the winter I will go through the house and open all the blinds to let the sun heat the house.

Essential Oils/Chiropractor

1. Make your own cleaners

2. Use for medicinal purposes

3. Anxiety and Stress Relief LOVE THEM!!!

4. The possibilities are endless really….you can use them for everything.

Make Things from Scratch

1. Meals – making meals from scratch go farther than pre-packaged meals.

2. Start a cooking group. Several years back I was home sick and I came across the Nate Burkes Show, the show has since been canceled…SAD I LOVED THE SHOW!!! Bring it back TV….but he had a family of 6 or 7 sisters and the family “Cooped” and would have large cooking days and divide the food, so I started my own coop cooking group with friends and families. We get together every several months and make different meals and divide them up.

3. Get creative and make your own decorations. Spray paint is wonderful!!!

Make a change, there are so many ways to save money, I would suggest to put together a  list of all the ways you would like to try and save money. Go through the list one by one and implement the changes in your life and see how much money it will add to your budget. It is AMAZING!!! You will get addicted to finding new ways to save, or at least I did. 🙂

HAPPY SAVING!!!!!





Paperwork Purging

10 06 2013

I like paperwork for 2 reasons:

1. It gives me something to organize

2. It give me ammunition when there are discrepancies

I spent this past weekend organizing and purging documents, it felt so great. I shredded so much I actually broke my shredder!! 🙂 I have my own time frame of how long and what information I keep. There is a balance between keeping too much paperwork and purging too much. Here are my rules of thumb for keeping documents:

Taxes – I keep every year of my taxes – the government recommends you keep 7 years from the dale of filing

Pay stubs – I keep one full year – the government recommends pay stubs can be purged after reconciled with the w-2

Utility bills – I keep three months, there is really no need to keep these records especially if you have online records

Contracts/Warranties – keep as long as the contract or warranty is active. (If there was something that happened during the contract, like a claim I will keep a copy of the contract and claim, in case there are discrepancies in the future)

Investments – Currently I keep all the paperwork but I am sure after we have invested for many years I will purge certain documents – the government recommends to keep annual statements, purge monthly statements and keep certificates until it is cashed or sold

Insurance – I keep all policy documents and any pertinent email correspondence with the agent, I keep statements until the next policy term – the government recommends purging after you renew

Life Insurance – Forever

Debts – I saved this one for last because I have many notes on this subject

~ When making payments over the phone write down the person’s name as well as the time and date that you made a payment or inquired about something important on the accounts (This comes in EXTREMELY handy if there is a discrepancy)

~When making online payments print the proof of payment page and staple it to the pay stub or statement

~I save all the pay stubs and letters until the debt is paid off. Once the debt is paid off I purge all of the pay stubs and keep the pay off letter and any other pertinent information on the account. The reason I keep this information is for future proof if there is a discrepancy

My filing cabinet is colored coordinated and labeled with cute labels.

My filing cabinet is colored coordinated and labeled nicely!

Paperwork can be very overwhelming and it is a massive task to take on and get under control. If you have a filing cabinet that you keep your records in, I recommend that you have a smaller filing system at your “drop station” wherever you keep your mail, drop your keys, etc. Put together a small filing system that you can file quickly and easily so when you have more time you can later file them into the file cabinet. This relieves the paper pileup and keep everything organized and orderly.

If you do not have a drop station, you can create a family binder that organizes all of your family information and paperwork can be filed in the binder until it is later filed in the permanent location.

HAPPY ORGANIZING!!!!!

** Check out other recommendations for managing records – http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Money/Personal-Finance/Managing-Household-Records.shtml





Books That Will CHANGE Your Life

17 05 2013

I am sure many of you have heard the quote, “Leaders are Readers” by Charles Jones. I took this phrase to heart and used it to helped transform my life, I heard this phrase in my very early twenties. I love reading…now anyways!!! In high school it sucked when you had to read a specific book by a specific time, who has time for that when you have friends, boys and sports….right..??  Now that I am older, I have really learned to enjoy reading…because I pick the book and I read it however fast or slow I choose. I have used reading to help me change everything from my parenting, marriage, friendships, faith, career to family relationships by simply reading a book. I put together a list of some of the best books I have EVER read that have changed my life. Since I am a major nerd I even broke them down into categories for you!! ENJOY!!

Finances:

Total Money Makeover  – Dave Ramsey

Financial Peace Revisited Dave Ramsey

Career:

EntreLeadership – Dave Ramsey

See You At The Top – Zig Ziglar

7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The Male Factor – Shaunti Feldhahn

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Start With Why – Simon Sinek

Friendships/Family:

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Boundaries – Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

Parenting:

Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons – Meg Meeker

10 Habits of Happy Mothers – Meg Meeker

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters – Meg Meeker

5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

Parenting with Love & Logic – Foster Cline & Jim Fay

Marriage:

For Women Only – Shaunti Feldhahn

For Men Only – Shaunti Feldhahn

5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

Life:

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

10 Habits of Happy Mothers – Meg Meeker

*Here are the books still on my NEED TO READ list, check out some of these books:

5 Love Languages of Children – Gary Chapman

That’s My Son – Rick Johnson

Quitter – Jon Acuff

The Go-Getter – Peter B. Kyne

48 Days To The Work You Love – Dan Miller

Monk and The Merchant – Terry Felber

Rhinoceros Success – Scott Alexander

QBQ – John G. Miller

Happy Reading!!





Busy….Busy….Busy….

28 11 2012

I have been busy!! After starting Your Organized Life just three months ago I never imagined how quickly the business would grow and that I would quickly feel overwhelmed. I had this dream of starting this business as a way to help others organize their lives one piece at a time like I have been doing for the past several years. I also wanted to use what I have learned to earn extra money to pay off my debt faster. The peaceful feeling I have every day is because I gained control back of my life, that feeling is amazing and I want everyone to experience that. What I did not want or expect to happen was for the business to consume me and all my time and energy where I would lose that feeling.  

I did not want to miss family events like birthday parties, holiday’s or visiting on a Friday night. Last week alone I spent two nights visiting with family and friends while working on projects. At some point in the past two months I lost my vision and that peaceful feeling. The other day I ran out of gas half a mile from the gas station and as I sat there waiting for road side assistance I thought how did I get here? Now of course I know how I ran out of gas on the side of the road…but these types of things don’t really happen to me anymore…I am a planner, I organize, that is what I do and who I am….so how did I get here.

Sitting in the car I realized how I got there. I had so many opportunities and great ideas happen to me in the past three months and I did not say no to any of them. I wanted to do them all because each idea or opportunity was a way for me to reach another person, change another life make extra money. In the mix of making other people happy I sacrificed the little time I already had with my family and friends. I asked the people I trusted the most what they thought I should do and each person had a different idea. I took what they all had to say into consideration but still had no answer.

The past two nights I have spent the evenings with my children, eating supper, playing games, reading books and just really spending all my time with them…not allowing my mind to wander back to the many unfinished projects I have waiting for me if I could just sneak away for 20 minutes. The children went to sleep and I decided I needed a plan. I lost my way and I just had to find out where that happened and devise a plan to get back to being me. I took out my family binder and looked at the calendar that outlines our monthly schedule and I wrote down every single thing I am going to complete on each day for all the orders I have already received. Once these are done I will write down all ideas I have for the business so I do not forget them, then I am going to work on evaluating every opportunity and idea that comes across my plate. I will re-focus my attention on certain areas and sleep on my options before I make any decisions.

I have been asking for advice and guidance but what I failed to do what ask myself what would I tell someone if they asked me?? My advice would be simple, do not go or grow faster than you can manage. It is ok to take things slow and other opportunities will come up or come again. It is similar to the mentality when shopping. There is the mentality around sales, we often feel like we must purchase an item because it is on sale and we do not want to miss out on the opportunity for a deal when in reality **There is always another sale**.

Here it is…my truth. How quickly we can all be sidetracked from what we know works.