Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish

Penny wise and dollar foolish is a saying I have heard since I was little.  I will admit, it has been me on occasion – okay, maybe more occasions then I care to admit!  🙂

Halfway through the year and starting a new fiscal year at Thirty One this month is when review my goals and my finances.  Doing it mid-year check helps me keep things in balance or get back on track if I have wavered.

Life with MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) has been interesting to say the least.  No excuses, just the realization processing things doesn’t work unless I have a system.  A system to stay on track with bills.  A system to work my business.  Admittedly, the the money system faltered some in the first few months but I have grabbed the bull by the horns and am back on track with a new plan.

I hate to admit I am still learning money matters in my 60’s, but there are a few things I wish I had learned in my 20’s.  Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal.

#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more.  By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some.  I always thought more money meant I could spend more.  Silly me!

#2 Never spend more than what comes in.  And limit your cards to the lowest amount possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer. 

#3 Pay off any debt first.  Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.

 

#4 Student loans on autopilot.  Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay off your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past.  Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”.  Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven.  Works for the kids but not the parents.

#5 Build a back-up.  YES, saving is still important even if you have debt.  Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.

#6 Insuring yourself is essential.  A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. The cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.

#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.

#8 Monetize your talent if you can.  Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income.  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember.  I just wish I had of saved some of that money.

 

#9 Think about retirement.  This is especially important if you are your own boss.  Sadly, I learned too late it’s essential to put away money for the future.

#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.

Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.

Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Let’s Get Organized

So, who is humming “Let’s Get Physical” as they read the title of today’s blog?  This month I am going to focus a lot on getting organized.  WHY?  Because it is the top New Year’s Resolutions people make.  Was it one of yours?

I admit I can be a ‘hot mess”!   From my desk and my office to the dust bunnies under the coach.  I  love to de-clutter and organize but am often overwhelmed by it.  Crazy right since I have lots of tips for everyone else?  I used to be a “just in case” gal.  The one who saved things in case they were needed from crafts to knickknacks…. you get the picture.

I am working on a room, maybe a closet/cabinet at a time cleaning things out.  One the outside it may not look like much has been cleaned out but believe me, I have been decluttering.

Are you feeling overwhelmed already in the New Year?  Day 3 with everyone is back to work and school.  Do you have a hundred things going on –  work, family, social life, daily responsibilities, goals, and the list goes on, right?  Has the day just started and you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all?

I tend to overcomplicate things. It isn’t intentional, it just happens. We are going to work on clearing the clutter (a little bit at a time) – emotionally and physically.  Once the clutter is gone, we can embrace the many blessings the Universe has for us.  So, here is some basics and we will talk about all of them in more detail as the month goes on…

CLEAN AS YOU GO

Don’t let the dishes pile up in the sink.  Put them in the dishwasher or wash them up.  Make the bed right after you get up in the morning. Open the mail as soon as you get home – tossing the junk mail. Have one spot to read later.  Doing things “as you go” will keep things neat.  It will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed or like you are constantly cleaning.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

We all have toxic relationships.  The people who suck the energy from us, are negative all of the time or just aren’t good for you. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with people like this. Your time is precious, so you want to spend it with people you care about, and people who make you feel good about you.  This is a process.

UNSUBSCRIBE

OMG!  You will be amazed at the difference this makes in your life.  How many hours do you spend deleting messages from your inbox without even reading the email? I routinely unsubscribe to lists instead of just hitting delete.  When you unsubscribe, you also stop getting emails from their “associates”.  Unsubscribing will not only make your inbox easier to read but may also cut down on the impulse shopping.  A whole other subject!

DE-CLUTTER

Get rid of old things like clothes, dishes, electronics, magazines, furniture you no longer need- donate what you can.  Too many material possessions sitting around can make you feel drained and can complicate things,  taking your attention away from what matter’s most.

WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS

Write down your top 3 daily goals. I put them in my planner and block time for – reading, cleaning tasks, calls to make, errands to run and  general life stuff.  I limit myself to 3 tasks in my business and 3 tasks in my home.  It has helped me to increase my focus and get things done.  It also helps me to stay in the moment when I am with friends and family.

FORGET MULTITASKING

We have all said it at some time “I’m good at multitasking.”.  Did you know multi-tasking is stressful and ultimately unproductive?   You can get so much more done when you focus on a single task, time-block and schedule your work.

CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE

Are you always running out the door in a rush?  What if you got up just 15 minutes earlier every morning?  Getting up a little earlier would give you more time to write your to-do list, prepare lunch and get ready for the day.  Write down the things you need to do in the morning and the time it takes to do them.  Then figure out what time you need to get up to get them done.  Be realistic!

RE-EVALUATE YOUR COMMITMENTS

This one is tough and takes practice, at least for me.  What matters most to you?  Home life, social life, work, side-gig, family, hobbies, friends, worship? If you are doing something you don’t love or it doesn’t give you value, give it up – if you can.  Focusing on the things which bring you joy or matters most to you will make a HUGE difference in your life.

SAY NO

How often do you feel obligated to say “yes” to something?  Did you know “NO” is a sentience all by itself?  We tend to forget it and try to explain why we can’t do something which opens the door for a conversation.  There is no need to explain yourself – if you don’t want to do it, just say no.

This year, why not focus on getting back to a simpler time in our lives.  Let’s start valuing our time.  Life is too short.   It is time to do the things we want and what we like doing. De-cluttering, getting rid of anything  which doesn’t serve you will help you simplify your life and feel more at peace.

Lots more tips and tricks on simplifying your life and de-cluyttering this month…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Organizing on a Shoestring

I love finding simply solutions to those messes in our home which make us crazy.  Pinterest is full of them.  Of course, I get lost in the never ending black hole of liking and saving posts.  Yes, I will dream of doing some of them when the truth is, it will never happen most of the time.  What about you?  Have your tried some of the AWESOME things on Pinterest only to have an epic fail?

Here are some tips I HAVE tried…….

  • Wet gloves or Mittens creating a mess?  Why not put up a retractable clothes line in your utility room or your mudroom wall or in the bathroom.  Have some clothes pins handy for hanging them up.  Put it down low enough so the kids can hang wet mittens and gloves to dry overnight.

  • Do you find coins in the washer?  Does your hubby leave change all over the table or dresser?  Get rid of those tiny piles of coins by saving in style. Get a designer piggy bank to keep it wherever you’d like to dump your change. OR use a Thirty One Zipper Pouch

     

  • Edit your hangers. Wire hangers make me crazy.  They bend easily so we are an all plastic house.  Pick a style which works best for you – wire, plastic or wood and unify the hangers in every closet.  If you use plastic, how about a different color for each person in the house.  Makes putting clothes away so much easier.
  • Use pillboxes to stash your earrings and rings when traveling.  Pick them up at the dollar store. Another alternative is Thirty One’s Shine On Jewelry Case.

  • Use a wall-mounted broom and mop holder, or tie ribbon loops on the end of poles and hang them from hooks in your closet, garage or utility closet.

  • Make a party kit. Do you have items you just use for parties or holidays?  Are they taking up valuable space in your cabinets?  Do you spend endless hours searching for things when you are ready to party?  Stash napkins, extra glassware and plates, votive candles and holders, extra vases, cocktail picks and other necessities in an old wine crate or a ThirtyOne Deluxe Utility Tote. You can pull it out pre-party or pre-holiday entertaining so you don’t waste valuable cupboard space or time.

  • Are medical records becoming overwhelming?  Use a binder to store all medical records and information for everyone in your family, including each pet. Use dividers for each family member and include plastic pouches or expandable pockets to contain receipts and tiny record cards.

  • Store photos in archival-quality, acid-free boxes until you have time to organize them in albums.

  • Place your shredder where you intercept daily mail. If that’s the kitchen, so be it.  This is one way to eliminate piles of “to be shredded”

  • Put a small plastic caddy, like Thirty One’s Swap it Pocket, in your gym bag so you can manage hair care and skincare products without dropping anything.

  • Stop losing lock combinations and computer passwords once and for all. Jot everyone’s codes and combinations down in a notebook and store it in your family’s fireproof lockbox.

  • Get a gift-wrap organizer and stock up on a year’s worth of wrap and ribbons, or ready-to-fill bags and tissue. Try Thirty One’s Stand Tall Bin to keep role of wrap organized.  Guess what?  It is on sale in April for just $15 with a $35 purchase.

Finally, plan a closet cleanout once per season. Less mess makes staying organized a lot easier.

What is YOUR favorite simply solution to everyday mess?  Share your tips with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Make a Clean Sweep

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Okay, you can stop laughing now because for those who know me they know I am NOT the “cleaning queen”.  I am always amazed at the similarities between reducing clutter in our home and our weight loss journey.  The truth is when we reduce clutter – mentally and physically – we lighten our journey.  Who doesn’t want to be lighter, right?

Organizing your physical space – as well as your mental space – can banish distractions so you can focus on things which really matter to you.  What matter’s most to you?  For me, in addition to my faith, family and business…..my health and weight loss journey has become something which is in the top 5 of my “what matters’ most” list.

Did you know a chaotic environment can leave you open to making unhealthy food choices?  According to a recent study, disorder leads to stress and stress spikes your body’s cortisol levels which in turn may make your body hold onto excess weight.  Hmmm.. can I use this as a reason if I don’t loose any weight this week?  So, a clean sweep not only helps you to get organized BUT it also promotes healthy behavior like eating fresh fruits and veggies, moving your bike to the front of the garage instead of buried in the back and having a serene bedroom for a good night’s sleep.  Plus all of this moving around is exercise (yes, I went there) so you are getting double benefits.

Physical space is often easy to unclutter because we see it every day.  What about making a mental clean sweep?  This isn’t always so easy.  Here are some tips to help you on this project:

  1. Write Down Your To-Dos.  No matter how good your memory is, we all forget things.  Lately, I forget more often than I care to admit.  The thing is when we record tasks and reminders on paper or on a digital list (if you are tech savvy), you free up your brain space.  When you free up your brain space of your to-dos, you have space to get creative, dream and work on ideas floating around waiting to be discovered.
  2. Create Email Folders.  I know this may be a no-brainer for some but I know people who keep everything in one “general” folder then spend countless hours searching for things.  A waste of time and energy.  I have have become more specific with my email folders – bills (to pay & paid), upcoming events, follow-up, potential hostess, team news, and the list goes on.   When was the last time you went looking for an email only to find oodles of them and you couldn’t find the one message which told you what time to be at a meeting?  Make folders which work for you then as you read an email – delete, move to an action file or save.  The key is to not touch an email more than once, if possible.  I used to use this same theory in my office – it saved me moving papers from pile to pile and getting nothing accomplished.
  3. Speak Your Mind.  Yup, I struggle with this one.  In a perfect world, I would be comfortable telling others when I feel slighted, bothered or angry.  Since we don’t live in a perfect world,  I have a hard time speaking my thoughts especially if they don’t agree with others in the room.  If you are good at doing this – AWESOME!  Keep it up.  If you aren’t, why not try speaking your thoughts out loud in an empty room.  Sounds silly right?  The truth is when you voice your opinion, share your feelings and hear yourself out – you can let go of the feelings continuing on with your day.  Believe me, this does work.

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Now, it is your turn… what steps are your going to take to organize your physical space?  Need some help, ask me about an “organizing session” and let me help you with a difficult space.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A New Year, A New Closet

15781155_10208468036846971_1206639155970620493_nDo you know what today is?  Yes, it is HUMP DAY!  For some it may be a short week since many places considered Monday a holiday, I can almost guarantee many are focusing on their Resolutions.  I am always trying to get organized….Yes, this bag lady can help the messiest get organized but she still struggles with her own hot mess

Whether you are a fashionista with a perfectly color-coded closet or a man who wears five of the same type of shirt every day, chances are your bedroom and closet could benefit from a good cleaning and reorganization.  Here are some tips to help in you tame the messiest of closets

#1 GRAB A BAG AND A BOX

It doesn’t matter what kind of bag or box you use, the goal is to divide and conquer your cluttered closet and dresser drawers.  The bag will be for trash and the box will be for donations. If you think you’re going to need more than one of each, grab as many as you need.

#2 PREPARE YOURSELF

The secret to a good clean is ensuring you have everything you need BEFORE you start.  Then comes the “mental preparation”.   Get yourself in the mood to clean out your wardrobe, put on some upbeat music to set the tone.

#3 DESIGNATE YOUR PILES

Now, put everything — and we mean everything —from your closet on the bed. That includes accessories, hat boxes, shoes and whatever is in your closet. Make sure the closet is empty.  Why the bed?  Well, isn’t it a great motivator to get things done since you won’t be able to go to sleep until everything is off the bed?

Sort the items into three piles –  “keep,” “trash” and “donate.”  My “keep” pile always gets put away in the closet or the drawers right away.  You may have a fourth pile — maybes. These are clothes you rarely wear but want to hold onto for some reason.  Once you are done sorting everything, go back through this pile  and ask yourself these questions:

Have you worn the item within the year?

Does it look better on the hanger than it does on you?

Could someone else use it today?

If you answer “no” on the first question, it goes into the donation pile. If you answer “yes” on the last two questions, it goes into the donation pile.

#4 MAKE YOUR BED AND FINISH UP

After you have narrowed down your wardrobe –  remove the trash and donation piles from the room. If it is left in the room, you may never get it to the trash bins and your favorite thrift store.  I put the trash right out and the donations go in the trunk of the car to be sure they get to the thrift store.

Here is a another tip from a friend, when putting all of the clothes back in the closet, turn the hangers the wrong way.  As you wear something, you turn the hangers the right way when you put it away.  At the end of the season (or year), any hangers still facing in the wrong direction – those items get donated.  If you haven’t worn the item in 6 months or a year, there is no need to keep it.

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What is your best tip for cleaning out your closets?  Share them with us or how about a Before and After picture….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!