One of the biggest requests that come through my office is for personal organization. Often, the customer feels as if life is overwhelming and getting day to day tasks completed is taking over their life. Normally after hearing the stories of finding the car keys in the refrigerator or the inability to stay asleep all night, I usually start the customer off with a better to do list. However, before we can build a to-do list, we must first turn off the distractors, which are the things that prevent you from being organized.
- Maintain a calendar so you can keep track. http://Cozi.com has a great online family calendar.
- Make a list of priorities. Take 15 minute every evening to map out what has to happen the next day. This way, you to do list can turn into a done list.
- Practice makes perfect and you must practice a new routine to be for it to become part of your daily habit. Yes, this included bad eating, failure to exercise, putting off and feeling like a slug.
- When are you at your best? If you find that in the wee hours of the morning before every one arises is the sweetest time of the day, make this time your magic hours. If you need to stretch, read, pray, meditate or whatever you require to make your day start out right and stay on track.
- Reach out and touch someone….instead of calling, no answer, calling again, just leave a message already. Tell your intended conversationalist what you want, when you plan to call them back or when you will available. I even saw an app called http://lucyphone.com will dial you when the party you reach is available.
- Make a decision and stick with it. Research has shown that your first reaction is the one you should go with. Get rid of the self-doubt and uncertainty and trust yourself.
- Log off and stop multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is fake word created by fake people who believe they are accomplishing a great deal, when in fact, they are accomplishing very little. Check your email in the morning, the afternoon and evening. Turn off some of the feeds on your phone and keep on point.
- You can stay on point if you learn to say no. The world is not going to end if you can’t be there. Go ahead, practice with me, say no. That felt good didn’t it? Try it again; say it with me, “no.”
- Ask for help. You are not going to be fully appreciated for all the little things you do. Hell, you probably won’t be appreciated for the big things you do either, so share the load. Delegate and pass some of that stuff on to somebody else.
- Sit down. The world is not going to end if you take a bath, read a book with a cup of tea or take a nap on that couch that you are always vacuuming.
Here are some fabulous sites to help you get started on your newly organized life.
Manage your entire task with this website. http://www.rememberthemilk.com/
Capture anything and everything with http://www.evernote.com/about/home.php
Organize your grocery shopping and menus all in one place http://get.ziplist.com/
Count the calories and stay on track with you diet at http://loseit.com/
- 5 Free Organization & Planning Tools for Students (diycollegeprep.wordpress.com)
- How Much Time Should You Spend Getting Organized? None (globalcargomanager.wordpress.com)
- Multi-Tasking Getting You Down? (writingthegirl.wordpress.com)
- ZipList Partners with AOL’s KitchenDaily.com to Provide Grocery List and Recipe Box Platform (prweb.com)
This holiday season, you save yourself a few dollars by making some Christmas gifts. I know, I know who has the time? That is the wrong question. The right question is who has the money to buy that many gifts? This nice wreath is made out of Coffee filters. The total cost for this project is about $10.
There are many simple projects that you can do that can either upcycle items already in your home or those items that need to leave your home. However, before we get to upcycling, let’s get back to those talents that you have that you can use to give or make gifts. Get your mind out of the gutter, you may be good at that but you can’t give it to your Nana!
Are you good at making cakes? You can make cake pops delivered in a nice basket from the Dollar Store. Are you good at making brownies, jams, cookies? All of these items make fabulous Holiday gifts. My neighbor makes a tin of cookies for us each year. The whole cul-de-sac knows when she is baking and we sit around like children awaiting our deliveries. I have another neighbor that makes fudge. I am not a fudge eater but am always glad for a gift that someone took the time to craft for me.
There are many projects and creative ideas available to you for free if you know where to look. I receive a free magazine from Lowe’s Home Improvement called Creative Ideas. It was choked full of so many great ideas that it inspired me to write. I am hoping to inspire you to try something different this year to save money and truly live better. This month’s issue takes you through easy steps to make wonderful holiday wreaths, headboards and upcycling home items. Upcycling takes recycling to a whole new level by recovering or repurposing items you already have in your home. Take that hideous chair that your Mom sent over to your new place. You don’t want it, but you can’t hurt her feelings. Give it a coat of paint, and add some studs and viola, you have upcylced items that you were going to throw away. You have reduced your carbon footprint, reduce landfill input and given that piece of furniture a reason to feel useful again.
I think the most exciting thing about the holidays is the decorations. Each year, we look for that special ornament to add to our tree. Have you thought about making ornaments out of every day simple items or really putting the décor into decorating? I went to visit my favorite crafter’s website, Martha Stewart. I have always considered her to be the McGyver of crafting. I saw where you can take mini picture frames and turn them into cute ornaments for the mantle or the tree.
Many of the websites have free newsletters, Blogs and magazines that you can have sent right to your home. It doesn’t matter what your skillset, there is something you can do that someone else admires. You can make a box of custom greeting cards. You can lay out a few pages in a scrapbook for a family member. You can buy a set of stencils and create a personalized box for a night stand. You just have to try.
Here is your starting point. Here are some Thanksgiving place cards along with the template courtesy of Ms. Stewart.
Next June will mark my 22nd wedding anniversary. Hubby and I are planning a really cool vacation and I plan to fully enjoy myself without cumbersome worries of how are we going to eat when we get back from this lovely little trip. I have begun to save large chunks which mean there is little room left for play money. I thereby had to put myself on a cash diet. I can only use my credit card or debit card for emergencies. This past week I have truly learned the value of a dollar. I have also learned that there are something’s that I will not buy, not even for a dollar!
As I previously stated in one of my early post, I have begun to coupon. I am now a step below extreme couponing and hovering around extreme value shopping. I have become, what I consider, to be very clever. I am recycling everything from pieces of left over roast, which are transformed into taco night, or in this weather, a hearty stew. The stews are great to also use up the leftover peas and carrots in the fridge. I am even stocking up the pantry and deep freezer. Let me tell you how.
As I was leaving the house to start my bargain shopping, I noticed the planters on the front porch needed fall plants. Normally, by this time, I would have added some Mums, but I wanted to stretch what I have until it is time to put in the Icicle Pansies. I head over to my friendly neighborhood Lowes. Instead of shopping in the front, I head to the rear of the garden center to THAT rack. Yes, the rack of shelves with sad, lonely, and deserted plants. I have found the ones on the ends are the healthiest and easy to revive. I picked up two hanging Tahitian Bridal Veils for $1 each. They need to be repotted so next I head to Roses. Instead of purchasing the name brand bags of potting soil for five bucks, I opt for the local no name bags for $1. Hey, it’s dirt. I am going to add some plant food when I repot them anyway. Now it’s time to get really busy.
I am headed to the buy one get one sale at Food Lion. I have already added the sale coupons to my MVP card buy downloading the digital coupons to my frequent shopper cards. The hard copy of manufacturer coupons in hand, I have a $1 off of two boxes of Cheerios, which just happen to be on sale for buy one get one. Armed with my sale ad in hand, I pick up bags of chicken breast, shrimp, Doritos, and a large 39 oz container of coffee. I save $1 on the coffee, which I purchased for $7.99. I am on a roll. I purchased high end ice cream at buy one get one along with high end butter crackers. Zesta Whole Wheat Crackers at buy one get one box is great deal; grabbed two of those.
I load up the mama mobile and make my way to Kroger. They are having a ten for $10 sale. Here, you have to be very careful. Last week, the same store brand vegetables I got for $.88 per bag are now in the 10 for ten sale; this is not good friends. I did pick and choose which items were a good deal for a buck, but Lipton Rice mixes are a dollar anyway, so this is not really a good buy. Staples purchased, I now have my local independent grocer’s ad, or the local IGA. These stores are great for pantry items. There is a five for $5 sale going on so I stock up on two pounds bags of rice, hot sauce, ketchup can goods and dry beans. I also grab a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters for $6. I do have a freezer safe bags in the trunk for my cold items. These wonderful bags keep food cold for 3 hours.
My last stop is to the local Bakery outlet. Tuesday and Friday’s at the John Derst bakery outlet has bread on sale for $.79. Wheat bread, cinnamon raisin bread, Kaiser Hamburger buns and hot dog rolls are all for $.79; with no buying limits. I have found that you can freeze bread for up to 3 months and when you defrost, it is good as new.
My pantry is stocked. My fridge and freezer is full and my bank account is not empty. I have a full tank of gas, my hair is done, and I have a few bucks left in my working account for just in cases. I did all of this today, including my hair, for a mere $160.00. It’s okay, you can say, “ooohhhh!” I know I did.
I must close out now because my new issue of All You arrived in the mail. The cover says there are $94.55 worth of coupons inside. I have work to do.
If you want to understand what is going on across the country or take the pulse of the nation, take a look at the commercials. Commercials can give you a perfect snapshot of what is happening in the workplace and where our youth are headed. Recently, I was unable to sleep and noticed this Vonage commercial. I found very little, if any humor in this advertisement.
If you look closely at the commercial, there are several people waiting in line. This is money that shop owner is not making and his customers are not being served. Sadly, this occurrence is not just happening in this advertisement, but in stores everywhere. Here is the rub. It may appear cute in the ad, but in reality, this employee is costing you money.
This same, self-serving employee is working in stores and businesses across the country. This employee is probably working next to you. Oh, you complain about them being slackers, but really, are you doing anything about it? In our current economy, we cannot afford to be complacent. Companies are sending jobs overseas because we as American workers feel entitled and often take our home lives to work. Our cell phones are becoming an extension of our hands and we are becoming less and less efficient and more proficient at goofing off.
The gentleman in line who pretends to choke the waitress is symbolic of how many of us feel when we patronize Mom and Pop shops. We want to give them the business, because we know, that if America is going to become upright again, it is going to take the small business owner to make it happen. However, bad service is not rewarded with return customers. We live in an instant age. If I cannot get it here, I can get it across the street. I am not going to wait for your employee to get off the phone to provide me service. I am going to walk out of this door, take my business elsewhere, and never come back. Again, it is instant. I am going to post it to my Facebook page and then I am going to Tweet it. In less than an hour, nearly 500 people are going to know that your business provided me lousy service. Hey, can you hear me now?
If your employees, co-workers, and subordinates are not there to serve the customers, but to pull a paycheck, help them find employment elsewhere. Someone else could really use that job. If these employees are not engaged and feel as if they are no longer a part of helping your company grow, then obviously where they are working is not the right fit. It is not the right fit your customers and not the right fit for your bottom line.
Bad service costs you money. Bad employees cost companies millions of dollars. Loss of revenue means doors are closing. Closed doors means there are no jobs for our kids, our retirees and eventually us. I have no qualms whatsoever calling an employee out. If your job is to provide me, the customer, service, then call your mother, brother, baby daddy on your own time and your own dime.
Do all of us a favor. Put down your cell phone. You don’t look important. If anything you look ignorant. If what you have to say is really that important, excuse yourself to make the call. Don’t hold up the line, don’t hold up my time, and stop holding your employer hostage with your bad habits.
I am addicted. I am not shame and I will shout from the rafters that I am hooked. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and once I saw how much money they were saving, I said, “I can do that!” I started clipping and I also started saving money. I am far from extreme, but I am, unequivocally a coupon clipper.
Ironically, I can remember a time when whipping out a coupon was considered low class and made the bearer appear to be a cheapskate. People who clipped coupons were rumored to live in a house full of cats, made quilts and homemade jams. In essence, they were regarded as a step above being a hippie. Not anymore, welcome to the new breed of savvy shoppers and coupon clippers. Let me help you get started. It is easier than you think.
First we must determine what kind of shopper you are. If you are not organized enough to have to deal with a little purse of coupons, or have hours to spend price comparing in the grocery store, then we can start here. The easiest way to save is with your frequent shopper cards and make them work for you versus just having them dangling on your key chain. Kroger and Bi-Lo offers you Fuel Perks. The money you spend in the store earns you a few cents off your gas purchase at each visit. You can also download coupons to your rewards card and when you check out, they automatically take the savings off your final purchase! BiLo even offers you double coupons so you can save twice the money. I know right! No clipping, no coupons and you don’t have to seem like a crazy cat lady who makes quilts and jam.
Saving at the grocery store isn’t your only option. Crafters have long been saving at Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. The great thing about craft stores, if you have a coupon from another store, they will honor the discount. We can take it one further. If you are a teacher, you can also get teacher discounts at Joann’s and save an addition 15%. These programs are also available at Staples and Office Max. No matter what you are into, if you look, there is a coupon, a Groupon, and Living Social break. If you have a smart phone, you can download coupon apps and have discounts and bargains at your fingertips.
Now, I can understand if all of this couponing is far too much of a commitment, then here is the perfect solution, just price compare. Use that smartphone to help you make some smart decisions. There are several bar code scanners that will scan the price, and give you the best deals in a 50 mile radius, including online.
There are all types of coupons to help you save money when you want to dine in or dine out. Find out if your favorite location has a frequent shopper program or a loyalty program. I am one who believes in getting my money’s worth and each day I am out looking for ways to save money, cut lost and reduce my back end, literally and figuratively. You can find the savings approach that works best for you or you can search on Twitter and search under coupons. You can get real time updates on savings.
I have looked into Coupon Suzy and a few other sites, but those are more regional. The economy isn’t going to turn around on its own and in the meantime and in between time, I am working on some Christmas quilts for my great nieces and some jam from some pears my friend send over from her tree. Happy savings!