This is my motto for the new year. I have the potential to accomplish so much with this simple two- word declaration. It’s on my monthly task calendar, my daily to-do list and a sticky note reminder at my desk. I can’t fail. I can use this mantra to apply to any area of my life I would like to improve. To be successful, all I need to do is take “baby steps.”
A website I visit quite often that inspires me is www.clutterdiet.com.The website’s creator, Lorie Marrero, is an Austin-based clutter guru who provides countless ideas to achieve a more organized life which is helpful even for those with no clutter habit (I confess: I have one!) Even if you’re not a full-fledged member, you can benefit from her site. She provides weekly email newsletters with new ideas, a delightful blog and a wonderful library of YouTube videos to educate and motivate you to get organized. The following video encouraged me to make my own motto for this year:
Each month, I will explore areas needing self-improvement, but for the month of January, I am focusing on finances – budget control in particular. It is a formidable task, but I am up to the challenge!
I am among the ranks of those who spent way too much during the holidays, and I am now bemoaning my depleted money backup fund. With college tuition for two kids, property taxes and yearly insurance premiums all due this month, coupled with the general cost-of-living increase, it’s time to take better control of my spending habits. Luckily, my husband is all for this and willing to help out!
The first baby step towards budget control starts with our monthly “household” allowance. We have been using our debit cards, credit cards and checks for every trip to the grocery store, meals out, gasoline and other spur of the moment purchases. I typically reconcile expenses only once a week and this has led to over spending – not to mention the hassle of documenting all those pesky receipts.
We have gone back to the “weekly” allowance system, which worked well in the past. Each Sunday, we set a cash allowance to use for grocery shopping, gasoline and meals out. To better control the grocery shopping trips, I set up a monthly rotation dinner menu plan. I use my planner for dinner menus to save me the time and trouble of trying to decide what to make for dinner each day. Clutter Diet offers a monthly menu planner, which you can edit to suit your own meal preferences. Click on this Clutter Diet link, and scroll down to the bottom of the list of free forms on the left side of the web page.
After checking my pantry, freezer and fridge for items I have on hand, I shop for the foods I need and other household items I’m running low on. I’m still tweaking the system, but the goal is to make only one trip a week to the grocery store to avoid impulse shopping. So far, I have managed to stick to my shopping list pretty closely and stay within my budget. I have even had money left over, which is a miracle for me!
Next month I’ll focus on another area in need of self-improvement – clutter control. Do you have a motto or theme for your New Year resolutions?