Showing posts with label Organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Organization. Show all posts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Organize My Closet

Do you have that closet you dread to go in to because something might fall on you when you open the door? Mine was the closet under the stairs. However, my mission this year is to get organized. I am on my way, but it is taking some time. My budget for this project is quite small, so this is a challenge for me. I love to take on new challenges all the time. My first goal was to organize my closet under the stairs. We have wanted to put up some shelves or something in here, but just never got around to it. This is my gift bag and catch all stuff closet.

Organize My Closet

Here is the before picture

As you can see it is pretty much everything is on the ground. While it is supposed to be in bags, it just isn’t. Mainly because I will realize we need to be at a birthday party in 5 minutes and I pull a gift out the gift stockpile and go try to get a gender appropriate bag in a hurry. So that means dumping out the bags and picking one super fast. Then rummaging through to find the most beautiful tissue paper to go along with the bag. And then just cramming all the stuff back in the closet and hope the door closes. Does that ever happen to you? Never, right?

I am so thankful I have an Ikea near me. I have been eyeing these stands and basket holders for a while and thought they would be perfect for the closet under the stairs. Since these are easy to put together I just did it myself. There are six baskets and they hold a bunch of stuff. I purchased two for under my stairs and they fit perfectly.

Here is a list of what I have put in each of the baskets:

1. Boy birthday Bags
2. Girl Birthday Bags
3. Gender Neutral Bags (Mainly for adult parties)
4. Baby Shower Bags
5. New Tissue Paper
6. Used Tissue Paper (I use these for crafts)
7. Easter eggs
8. Easy Bake oven stuff (Cleared more room in my pantry for a larger stockpile!)
9. Party decorations
10. Ribbons
11. Misc.
12. Empty

I also store 2 food dehydrators, Easter baskets, Vacuum and sweeper in there.

After Picture I Organized My Closet:

 If you are trying to get organized and get clean this year. Be sure to enter my Safeguard Your Home Giveaway. You can register to win 6Environmentally Friendly cleaning products. I love the Parsley Plus all purpose cleaner for my granite counter tops. It leave them nice shine every time!

Do you have any organization projects going on in your home? Leave comments I love to hear from my readers.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Money Saving Monday - Realistic Budget

How did you do working getting all your money divided out into buckets? Were you able to capture every dollar you spend? Probably not, but you should be able to see where the majority of your money is going. I not a financial expert, but I would like to share some ways I have found to save money and still be able to get have a great lifestyle. Now let’s take a look at some areas where you can shave some money off your budget.

1. Impulse buying

One important thing is to stop spending money on the little impulse buys you make, such as a drink at the convenience store or fast food restaurant for a soda. How about that extra coffee you get on your way to work? If you can cut $10 out of your budget on these items a week, you will save $40 a month or $520 a year. If you really enjoy a good cup of hot coffee from that great coffee chain based in Seattle, ask for gift cards for items like this. This makes your coffee FREE and you still get to enjoy a great cup of coffee.

2.  Entertainment Expenses

This depends on your family size and how often you go to some type of entertainment. Look to see if there is an alternative that is less expensive. Like going to the movies, see if there is a $1 movie or matinee in your area. You can still enjoy a movie for a much reduced cost. Evaluate all your options to see if there are also some FREE things you can do as a family. Parks are great and very inexpensive.

3. Going Out to Eat

This one is one that many people don’t realize how much they spend on eating out. This should be considered a treat. Spend your money on something worth eating, not always fast food. One way to stop getting fast food all the time is to have ready made food in your freezer or use a slow cooker. Try to make and have a few freezer meals cooked and ready in your freezer one weekend. These are great for when you are sick or just don’t feel like cooking that night, you will have something ready to go and not stop by to get some fast food before you get home. Also start something in the morning before you leave for work and let it cook all day in the slow cooker, you will have a nice warm meal when you get home. These are usually healthier options as well. You may just find being frugal will help you lose weight too!


Now start trying to implement a few of these changes this week. See if you can start cutting back on a few areas. Examine your priorities and find out where you really want your money to go. If you are in a place where a flat tire would put you into debt, stop by next week where I will discuss how to start savings and what is a good amount to have in your savings account next week. You may be surprised.

Stay connected with Pounds4Pennies on Facebook or join me at Pounds4Pennies on BlogFrog community for more great savings.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Money Saving Monday - Realistic Budget

I took a little time off for the holidays to spend some time with my family. I am glad I got to spend some time with them, since my brother is in the hospital having gall bladder surgery. I just heard from my mom he is out and doing well.

I also got a wonderful gift from little face this Christmas. He is now potty trained. Right before Christmas he was dry for two days, so after that I said no more diapers and put him in underwear. He now only wears diapers for sleeping, but most of the time he wakes up dry. Since this has occurred, I will be reducing my budget down to $50 a week for the new year. New year = New challenges.

Since it is a new year I want to talk about budgeting and how this can help your marriage or any relationship you are in.  This will help everyone keep realistic expectations when it comes to money. I am not an expert in this field, but this is what works for me. I think it is better if you can see your actual budget on paper and see the picture of how this works. I will also be happy to help answer any questions about your budget to see where you may be able to cut some expenses. I love helping people.

How do you create a realistic budget?

One of the first things you need to do is see where is your money is going right now. Do you purchase most of your items with your debit or credit card or do you use cash? If using debit or credit pull out one or two of your statements. If you use cash this is a little more difficult, since you will need to collect all of your receipts and add them up at the end of the month. Go into excel and create a spreadsheet with row for each category. I will explain this in greater detail below. This way you can see all the buckets your money falls into.

Next look at your house or rent payment. This should not be more than 30% of your take home income. If it is more, you should consider moving or refinancing your home. This is the standard housing allowance for budgets. I worked in the mortgage industry for five years and when analyzing budgets this was our cutoff. If your interest rate is 6% or higher, you should consider refinancing now. Mortgage rates are very low right now. If you don't own, you may consider purchasing a home. By refinancing when the market is low, you may be able to save quite a bit on your mortgage payment. We have refinanced twice and saved $500 off our current payment.

Now take a look at your bills such as electric, water, gas, car payment, insurance and any other bills you may have to pay on a regular basis. Make sure you do an average for things like electric, water and gas, since you are more likely to use more electricity in the summer to cool your home than you use in the winter.

Now review your spreadsheet with all your other statements to see if you have captured every dollar you spend. Do you have any annual expenses you pay? Be sure to include that in your monthly budget and set that money aside every month.

Ok let’s review your spreadsheet. In the first box, put your total household income you actually bring home. Then subtract all of your expenses for the month. How much do you have at the end of the month? If this is nothing or a negative number, you have a problem and need to cut unnecessary items from your budget or reduce one of your boxes. Did you make a payment to your savings account? If you are not saving any money, where are some of the areas you can cut? You should always try to make payment to savings no matter how small. This way if something comes up that you didn't expect, you can pay cash instead of using credit and paying interest which is like throwing your money in the trash.

Next Monday I will talk about areas you can cut or ways you can save. Have you ever actually sat down and created a budget like this before? Now is the best time to start, since it is at the beginning of the year. Wouldn’t be a great habit to save money? Let me know if you have any questions. I would love to help you save some money this year.

Stay connected with Pounds4Pennies on Facebook or join my Pounds4Pennies on BlogFrog community for more savings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Money Saving Monday - Stockpiling

I wanted to write about stockpiling today, since we are in another season where it is good to stockpile items. If you have noticed all the baking supplies in the stores have gone on sale. It is baking season and it is time to stockpile on all your baking supplies. Each season has different items you want to stockpile.

Here are a few items that are on sale right now at most stores and have great coupons to match:

Canned Soup
French Fried Onions
Corn Starch
Chocolate chips

The time you want to stockpile and item is when it is FREE or 70% off retail price. I will be making a list and publish it soon of what I found to be my rock bottom or stockpile price for an item. I started my extreme couponing hobby in Feb. of this year and I have now seen all four seasons and I am more familiar when to stockpile an item and when to wait. I used coupons before, but I would only clip the ones I was going to use and when I went to the store the next time I would buy that item. I shopped at Walmart so the prices didn’t change. Or so I thought. Walmart does change their pricing and they do have sales on items. Especially this time of year. Walmart will change prices about once a month or once a quarter depending on the season and the item.

At first this is difficult creating a stockpile. You need to manage having enough food for your family to eat each week and create a stockpile. You may wind up spending more in the first month, but once you acquire a lot of coupons and a lot of variety of items and learn the sales cycles, you will be a pro in no time. If I can learn how to do this, so can you. After the second and third month you should start to see a significant savings in your grocery budget. You will find your list of items you need will decrease, and you spend more money on less expensive items. Saving you money all around.

In order to stockpile you will need a large number of coupons to combine them with the sales. The more coupons you have the easier it is to match up with the items on sale. The general rule of thumb is to purchase as many papers as there are members in your family. I purchase 4 papers and clip the coupons from those in order to match them with the sales when they come along. I print additional coupons on items I really think my family will eat. But normally four papers will do it for us. I can then purchase four of the sale item and create my stockpile when that item is at its rockbottom price and this will be enough to last me through the next time this item will go on sale. You don’t need to clear a shelf of an item. That item will go on sale again and it will have a coupon to match.

I am now at a point where I have a great variety of food to where I can buy at the rockbottom price and still have enough to eat. This takes around four to six months before you have a wide variety of food in order to do this. Stockpiling takes time. If you are like me trying to stockpile and are on a very strict budget it is difficult to accomplish both, but I like a challenge.

Here is what my stockpile looks like.
My pantry
Canned and Baking goods

Boxed items, cereal, breakfast items, Boxes meals, Pasta

My laundry room shelf with juice, Paper towels, a few other items

A shelf in my closet with my bathroom items

Monday, October 10, 2011

Money saving Monday - Extreme Couponing

Good news… My neighbor CC, who lives right behind me, was out shopping at Wal-mart and a lady noticed her binder and how organized her coupons were. She asked CC if she would mind doing a class showing how she coupons and gave CC her card. She works for a women’s advocacy place. Where they try to teach women how to get back on their feet after a tragedy or who need assistance. My neighbor said she would call her back after she talked to me. I was so excited she told me about it and gave me the opportunity to do this with her. I have wanted to teach a class. So I am going to be expanding my Couponing 101 series and featuring this on my Monday segment Money Saving Monday. I will be writing most of the copy and she will help with graphics and the Power Point. She is much better than I am. If you don’t want to miss the posts, be sure to join via GFC or LIKE Pounds4Pennies on Facebook to receive all the latest updates.  I post more items on these sites than my blog.

Couponing 101

How can I save 60% or more on my shopping trips? I will show you all the basics to learn how to start extreme couponing, where to get free coupons, how to organize coupons and how to stockpile by using coupons. Each store has a sales cycle that runs anywhere from a 6 to 8 week cycle for an item. Then the item will be at a rock bottom price. This is when you want to purchase the item and combine it with a coupon to get the most food for your dollars. 

How and where do you get coupons?

1. Ask your friends if they are going to use their coupons in their Sunday paper. If not, ask if you can have theirs.

2. Purchase 2-6 papers. So you can have multiple sets of coupons. Also Parade Magazine is in the paper and has coupons in there from time to time. And check through the paper. I have found coupons on the back of some of the sections in an ad. A good rule of thumb is to buy as many sets of papers as you have in your family.  Why so many? If there is a good sale on a product you will want to buy as much of that product as you can to have enough to last you until next time that item goes on sale.

3. All You magazine has many coupons in the magazine. It usually over $50.00 in coupons. This usually pays for itself each time I purchase this magazine. It is well worth it.

3. Places of business. Check with your local coffee shop, auto care center or dr. office to see if you can have the coupons from the Sunday papers they receive. I have to say I have never done this, but I have heard you can try.

4. Grocery stores or convenience stores have blinkie coupons. Blinkies are the little smart source machines in the Grocery store that blinks at you to take a coupon. Now that you are looking for them, you will be surprised at how many you will see. Again rule of thumb would be to get 4 or so, but don’t take them all. Leave some for the next person. You probably aren’t going to use them all anyway.
5. Coupon fairies leave coupons by products that they are not going to purchase or they do not want. You may get lucky and find some coupons there. I always leave formula coupons by formula for people with babies.

6. Products have peelies that can be peeled off to use at a later date. These are usually higher in value than other coupons. Also be sure to look to see if there are any peelies on the product you are going to purchase or if there are coupons included inside the product.

7. There are several sites you can print coupons from and some even reward you for printing and using a coupon from their site. I use quite a few printable coupons every week. I recommend getting a cheap laser printer. Some time the printed coupons are a higher dollar value than the ones in the papers. Go to SwagBucks and signup. You will get rewards for using coupons.,, Red and Target are other great resources for coupons. You can normally print these coupons twice. You will need to use another computer to print more coupons.

8. Facebook is a great resource for coupons. Many times if you like the page of a particular item you can then get a printable coupon from them. Please note they will then want access to your friends and your information. After you like them and print your coupon go in and remove that program from your apps to prevent them from gathering your information and your friends information.

9. If you have a favorite product visit their website to see if they have coupons available to print. Check back once a quarter to see if they will refill the coupon prints. At the start of a quarter they will usually reset the coupons for you to print.

10. Call or write the company and tell them how much you enjoy their product. Sometimes they will send you coupons to get the item for free. I know several people who do this and get free items, even for meat products.

Bottom line More Coupons = More Savings

Ok now I have tons of coupons what do I do with them?

How to organize your coupons?

I don’t have the best answer for you, but I can tell you what I do to organize all my coupons. I started with the Clip and go system, then I transitioned to the Binder System. I use the binder method to organize my coupons. I like knowing all my coupons are always at my finger tips whenever I go to the store. This is more time consuming than the other methods I will show you, but you can ensure you will always have your coupons with you.

The CLIP and go System

This filing system is one of the easiest to get started. Take your inserts from the paper and put them in a hanging file folder. Label the folder with the date of the inserts. This is easy and I feel this is the best way to get started so you don't feel so overwhelmed at first. You just pull the insert from the folder and go to the coupon you want and clip it.

Baseball Card Binder System

The second way is the Baseball card holder/Binder system. Purchase baseball card plastic holders and place them in a large binder. You will need at least a three inch binder or bigger and a lot of baseball card holder pages. Cut coupons you would most likely use. File them in baseball card holders. I have seen several different methods used for this.
  • Alphabetically by product name
  • Grocery aisle
  • Categorized by products ie (healthcare, cereal, dairy...)
However your brain works to categorize things is the best way for you. There is nothing set in stone here. You customize this to the way you are going to remember how to find the coupon when you need it in a moments notice. This just depends on how much time and energy you will have to devote to this.
Combination system

Clip the coupons you are most likely going to use and file them according to the baseball card/binder system and organize them. Then the left over coupons you can file in the clip and go system for deals you may still want to get on items you may not normally buy, but you may need later. This is great for seasonal items. I like to wait until a good sale to stock up on.

Ok now you know where to get coupons and how to start organizing them. Take some time and figure out what your plan of action is going to be to acquire coupons and what method you are going to use. Go out and purchase the items you need to get organized and set up your system. This will make it easier as you get more coupons you can file them right away and be done with them.

Leave me a comment on how this goes for you or if you have any questions. I will do my best to help.

Happy Couponing!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tips for Tuesday

My husband thinks I am not organized at all. However, I feel I don't have all the tools to help me get organized and stay organized.

One of the things that helped make this theory more concrete for me, is when we purchased our fabulous bookshelves in the kids playroom. Everything is now picked up and off the floor. All of this stuff in the bookshelf was lining the walls of the play room. It was aweful. I wish I had taken a before picture. I just love going in there now.  We even created little stations for the kids to play. Now I just need to paint this room.

The other day the kids got a lot of toys out to play with. It was so easy to pick them up because we knew where everything went. When we were done it looked just as fabulous. It has looked like this for almost a month. It is so nice to go in there and not have all that STUFF on the ground.

 My next project is to organize my closet under the stairs. This is where I keep my birthday bags and tissue paper for presents and a few other items. It is a weird space, but I know if I put a large chest with some drawers in the back and the rest was lined with shelves I could organize everything in there. Plus have room to store more things like food!
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