Clutter 04/06/2012
 
This isn’t a direct money saving tip but in the long run it really will save you... I want to talk about CLUTTER!!!  

Clutter is any womans nightmare and if we're honest with ourselves, we all have it.  Clutter will drag you down emotionally and financially.  It keeps you from having control of your life – it makes your home feel unloved and the possessions you cherish the most will go unnoticed. 

Clutter WILL cost you!  How?  You were pretty sure you had a brand new pair of black pantyhose but your bedroom is such a nightmare you can’t find them so you’ll just pop down to the store and buy another pair!  That clutter just cost you when you know full well as soon as you replace that pantyhose you’re going to find the ones you were looking for in the first place!

Can’t find your car keys? Purse? The pants that make your butt look incredible!?  The average disorganized person will spend an average of 10-20% of their day looking for items they have misplaced!  Wondering how to get some extra hours in your day? Let’s get organized!!!

Start with just a few simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to a clutter free life, a less chaotic day to day life, a clear mind and a home that you will love.  The foundations of how my house functions come from Flylady – I have followed her system for years and it has done wonders for my family.

* 1 in 1 out – each time you bring home a new item you must get rid of an item!  This is a minimum!  (If I bring home a new t-shirt I will generally try to get rid of two or three) 

* Take just 15 minutes each day and declutter one spot in your home – set your timer and see how much you can accomplish!  If you don’t love it and it doesn’t bless you it doesn’t deserve to be in your home

* Try a 27 fling boogie (the kids will love this) Grab a garbage bag and crank your favorite song!  You need to find 27 items to throw away before the song is over

* When you find something to declutter get it out of the house ASAP.  Keeping a gigantic pile of “things to get rid of eventually” will never leave the house.  You’ll start picking items out again and before you know it that whole pile will be all over the house.  There are recycling and clothing drop off bins all over the place – no excuses, get it out of the house

* Key thing to remember – your home didn’t get this way in a day, it’s not going to get better in a day, babysteps is key to success

* I saved the best for last… LET GO OF YOUR PERFECTIONISM!!  Flylady says that “housework done incorrectly still blesses your family”.  Life is too short to fuss over a perfect house, you have a husband and children who love you and value your time more than your vacuum ever will. 

 
 
Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to save money, time and hassle!!  It can be done weekly, biweekly or monthly to coordinate with your shopping schedule.  I do a big shop once a month so I do a monthly meal plan which is most cost effective.  If you feel like a month is too overwhelming start small and try a week at a time.  Here are some tips to help get you started!

* Give each family member some recipe cards to write their favourite meals on

* Go through the weekly flyers to find out what’s on sale (if there’s a great deal on ground beef then maybe you can have chili one night and lasagna another, you could even make a double batch and freeze it for your next meal plan)

* Check what’s already in your freezer and pantry!  You probably have a few meals that you can already put together with the things you have on hand

* Make a list of the meals you’ve compiled from your family, your pantry inventory and the flyers (include all your items – meat, side, vegetable) and all the ingredients you will require for each meal


* Try to space out similar meats to keep the family from getting bored but keep similar produce together (if you have two difference recipes with tomatoes try to put them within a couple days of each other so they don’t spoil before you use them)

* Write the meals on your calendar (make sure you leave room for nights where you will have leftovers or a takeout treat)

* For nights that are busier try to incorporate a slow cooker meal, if you have to have the kids at soccer by 630 you can slow cook a chicken or roast all day and avoid those golden arches

* Write out your grocery list – I like to write mine according to grocery store aisle so I don’t miss anything – I keep meats together, produce together, dairy together, etc.

* Head to the store!  This is key – you need to stick to your list.  You aren’t saving yourself any money if you’re picking up a bunch of extras – if it’s not in the meal plan and it’s not a killer sale price, chances are you can live without it until the next shop

* Prep what you can to make weeknights easier.  When I bring my groceries home I prep everything that I can beforehand.  I pre-cook my hamburger before freezing it, cube up any chicken needed for certain recipes before frozen, and portion out and chop up any veggies that can be done in advance

 

 
 
One of the many perks of couponing is building a stockpile for next to nothing.  Here's some basic tips to get your stockpile growing!

- What can go in my stockpile?  A stockpile can have anything in it from canned goods like soup & beans to dry goods like cereal, rice and pasta.  You can also include you family's hygiene items like deoderant, soaps, shave creams and razor blades.  Don't forget about meat!!  You can buy ground beef, chicken and pork when it's priced at it's lowest and freeze it until you need it

- Get organized! Make sure you have a dedicated space for your stockpile so you can keep it organized.  If it's spread out all over the place in disarray you'll end up over-buying and having items that will spoil because they're buried in the pile

- Know your sale cycles!  If you know that your favourite laundry soap goes on sale at it's "rock bottom" price every three months then make sure you buy enough to last you until that sale comes along again.  

- Keep an eye on expiry dates!  A stockpile is just like a grocery store; as you add new items you should rotate the older items to the front to avoid them spoiling before you get to use them.  If you won't use 15 bottles of ketchup before they expire then only buy 6-7, otherwise you're just throwing away that hard saved money.