Archive for the ‘organization’ Category

Shopping in my pantry and freezer

This is going to seem like a copycat post if you’re a Southern Savers reader but I promise I was thinking about this before I read her post!

I am going to shop my own pantry and freezer for the next six weeks and budget only $40 out of pocket per week at grocery stores and no more than $20 out of pocket at drug stores.  It will be difficult to pass up deals but the truth is that I’m running out of space.

I have enough meat, chicken and fish in my freezer to last at least six weeks.  We eat meat only about 2-3 times per week.  I have plenty of sides such as brown rice, cous cous, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, etc.  There are lots of frozen veggies in my freezer.  We have snack foods like cereal, crackers, cookies, yogurt, cheese and dessert ingredients.  We have more cleaning supplies, paper products, and toiletries than we have space to store them.  It’s time to take a break from stockpiling.

So for the next six weeks (from 3/27-5/1) I will not be spending more than $60 per week on necessities (fresh produce, milk, bread, etc) and sale items.

The first step is to make menus for the next six weeks.  When I get around to that I’ll be sure to post.  😉

Coupon Organization

One of the most proactive ways to save is to organize your coupons.  If you don’t know which coupons you have or if you can’t get to them quickly then couponing is likely to become a huge waste of time.

There is no one correct way to organize your coupons.  I am going to tell you how I do it but I suggest you visit here to observe all of the options and find out what works for you.

I use hanging files to organize my whole coupon inserts.  I specifically use hanging files instead of an accordion file system because I want to be able to pull the folder out from time to time or rearrange the folders without having to redo the tabs.


(My mother gave me this after she retired from teaching.  You can find a hanging file box at office supply stores or Target, etc)

For the tabs to label the date of the insert, I use post-its.  For each month of inserts I use a different color post-it although eventually the colors will repeat.

 

For printable coupons I use a plastic box with a lid.  I found this on clearance at Target about a year ago.  You could use any box or basket with the length and width to fit a sheet of paper.

 

Let’s talk about binders.  I use a binder as well as a small accordion file.  These two come with me when I do my shopping.

In the front pocket of the binder I put receipts for easy access when I come home and post my savings.  In the accordion file part of the binder I put blinkie coupons, Catalina’s, etc, flyers, and coupon booklets that I pick up while shopping.

In the small accordion file I put Extra Care Bucks and Register Rewards, gift cards and store specific coupons that contain a dollar amount off a certain purchase amount.

The binder also serves as a place for my loose, already clipped coupons.  I purchased plastic business card holders and created tabs for various items such as cereal, dairy, drinks, canned/boxed foods, cleaning supplies, pharmacy, etc.

I have a small plastic basket for magazines, coupon booklets, flyers, etc.

And lastly, my dirty little secret . . .

This basket is filled with loose coupons, flyers, Catalinas, etc that live here until I have a chance to put them where they belong.

A week ago our power went out unexpectedly (hmmm . . . is it ever expected when the power goes out?) and because the temperature in the house was dropping rapidly as the sun went down we decided to grab some dinner out and take a drive to look at the Christmas lights in various subdivisions.  We started doing this when Drew was a baby at the surprising suggestion of my holidays-are-just-another-day-minded husband and for a several years it was a tradition.  For whatever reason we hadn’t done it in a couple of years.  It was nice to do it again now that all of the children can see out of the van windows and comment.

The day marked seven years since we had bought and moved into our current place. We decided to take the boys to see the first home we lived in, the first homes of ds9 and ds7.  (The first home of ds4 is the home in which we currently live.)  The memories of our time in these quaint rental homes, in the neighboring town which will always be home to me although it is not my home town, began to flood my mind.  I realized that since we moved into our current home I’ve felt a bit out of control of things around the house.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist and having a spotless home used to be high on my list of priorities.  Since doubling our square footage and adding a third child, finishing my bachelor’s degree and working on my master’s, holding down the fort while my husband worked endless hours, adding pets and having children who walk, talk and make big kid messes, I have lost control over my home.

Sure, I keep it clean.  The boys help and the husband, too, when he has time.  But the deep organization that used to be a way of life for me has had to take a back seat to school, home schooling, family time, extracurriculars, SLEEP and the stuff of five people.  I say every December when I’m out of school for nearly a month that I will finally tackle the closets and the cabinets and the playroom.  And somehow life always takes up more time and energy that I anticipate.  And now with an internship to complete I have even less time.  And once that’s done I’ll be working full time.  And . . . and . . . and . . .

*breathe*

So, today I vow to do something–no matter how small–every day until I have my home completely organized once again.  Whether it’s starting a bag of unused clothes and toys for charity or rearranging one shelf in one cabinet, every day until order is restored I will do something.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. –Confucius

Let’s talk about schedules

That’s an explosive word in AP circles.  I’m not talking about baby feeding schedules.  Sorry, moms of new ones, I don’t believe feeding and sleeping schedules are the way to go. Now, I don’t believe they are terribly damaging, but I think there is a much better way. 

 I do believe strongly in routine.  The problem with routine is that, when your children are very young,  you have to be prepared to change that routine as your children’s sleep and food needs change.  But I’ve found that it’s good practice for how the routines of life change over time as your family grows, the children do various activities at different times of the year and no routine or schedule is exactly the same for more than a couple of months at a time.

Now that my children are preschool and school aged and I don’t have any babies or toddlers to nurse or parent to sleep it’s much easier to make a schedule.  I will post our schedule in another post because I love so much to see how other families days play out and maybe my schedule will help another mom to find more hours in her day. 

When I first thought about all I’d have to do this Fall, I gasped at the lack of time.  But when I schedule it all out, I find there is more than enough time for everything I need to do and most of what I want to do!

I recommend making your schedule pretty  like this one.  I had a notebook a couple of years that I decorated with pretty paper and embellishments and it held my cleaning schedule, menu planning pages, daily schedule, etc.  I tend to keep everything on the computer now since my guys don’t look at it anyway.  But pretty is motivating for me, I find.  🙂