4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Assignment #8 (update)

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

I’m so excited about how many of you are joining us for the 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge! If you missed today’s assignment, you can find it here.

I flew to Colorado yesterday for today’s radio show taping with Focus on the Family. So I didn’t get yesterday’s update posted last night.

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

I used Homemade Cleaner to clean the doorknobs. Love this stuff!

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

Shiny doorknobs make me happy! :)

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

My top dresser drawer — I cleaned it out not too long ago, or it would probably look much, much worse!

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

Much better!

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

We cleaned out our homeschool baskets and came up with a pile of stuff to get rid of!

How you do on Assignment #8? I’d love to have you share your progress and success with us so we can be inspired. Either post a link to your blog post below or leave a comment with your update.

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4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Assignment #6

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

I’ve set aside the month of March to really focus on organization in my home and life. And I’d love for you to join me!

Day 6 Assignment

::Get dressed in something that makes you feel great {there’s something about dressing in clothes that make you feel great that just gives you more energy and zest for life!}

::Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and create a list of weekly goals. I’ll be posting my weekly goals later on today.

::Complete your morning routine. {If you don’t have a morning routine, take some time to create one today! Read my How to Develop a Routine That Works–And Stick With It series for step-by-step help.}

::Set the timer for 15 minutes and run through your home quickly picking up everything that’s out of place and putting it away.

::Clean out the inside of your vehicle. Remove all trash and clutter. Use a vacuum attachment to vacuum all the seats and floors out.

::Find 7 items to get rid of today. Throw them out, stick them in a donate or garage sale box, give them to a friend who can use them, or list them on Craigslist or eBay.

Note: If you work outside the home or have a really busy week with little time for extra projects, just do the bolded project above.

Get Your Free Ebook + Printable Checklists

I put together an ebook with encouraging articles, all the daily assignments, plus printable checklists so you can know exactly what’s planned for the month and to allow you to work at your own pace, if you’d like. To grab your free ebook so you can participate in this challenge, just fill out the form below with your name and email address. You’ll need to confirm your email address and then your free ebook will be sent to you instantly.

Are you planning to join us today? If so, leave a comment below!

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4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Assignment #2 (update)

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

I’m so excited about how many of you are joining us for the 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge! If you missed today’s assignment, you can find it here.

It was so, so good to get back home today after a week and a half away. We had a wonderful time with dear friends and it was such a refreshing gift to have time away after a busy few months, but it’s always good to be HOME!

Here are pictures from our kitchen-cleaning adventures…

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

4 Weeks to a More Organized HomeCleaning in process

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

Oh how I love a clean kitchen sink!

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

Even though it’s not fall, I’m still slowly burning this delicious-smelling candle.

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

Tackling the refrigerator4 Weeks to a More Organized

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

And here were the 7 things I found to get rid of — a few clothing items and some other odds and ends.

How you do on Assignment #2? I’d love to have you share your progress and success with us so we can be inspired. Either post a link to your blog post below or leave a comment with your update.


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Q&A: Help! How do we stop spending more than $1,000 per month on groceries?

Carrie contacted me through the Money Saving Mom® Facebook Page with the following question:

HELP!! I’m failing my family at staying within our grocery budget. I know all the things I’m “supposed” to be doing, and I’m just not approaching it in a logical, orderly enough way to accomplish these things.

Will you help me by reviewing the “basics” – reminding me of what I should be doing, and perhaps showing me some things I’m missing?

I know I should clip coupons more. I forget.
I know I should buy sales more. I forget.
I know I should stay away from brand names. I’m picky.
I know I shouldn’t buy “extras.” I’m lazy.
I’ve tried carrying a calculator with me through the store. I get overwhelmed.

I *do* make a menu.
I *do* make a list from the menu.
I *do* look at what we already have in the house so as not to duplicate.
I *do* shop Costco to save on bulk items.
I have downloaded the Safeway app to receive extra savings.

But I invariably go over budget on groceries every month. We are a family of 5 (one child being an infant) and we budget $700/month ($350/paycheck) for groceries, yet I usually end up spending closer to $1,000.

This is ridiculous! I’m better than this! I shouldn’t be having this problem. What are some practical steps I can be doing to help get on top of this and be proactive from the front end so I’m not squeezing to make ends meet every two weeks?? -Carrie

First off, Carrie, please don’t beat yourself up, okay? Do you know how many people have never even considered having a grocery budget or menu-planning? You’re already doing a lot, so cut yourself some slack and be encouraged that you are doing some things. And doing something is always better than doing nothing.

After reading your email a few times and contemplating it, here are my thoughts on some action steps you could take to start finding success in lowering your grocery budget:

1. Stop Telling Yourself You Can’t

As I encouraged people to do in 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, you’ve got to remove the word “can’t” from your vocabulary. If you tell yourself that you can’t, than you will believe that you can’t. When you believe that you can’t, then you invariably won’t.

It’s totally okay to deliberately decide, “I am not going to focus on lowering my grocery bill because I need to focus my energies on X.” Or to purposefully commit to keeping your grocery bill as is (or even raising it) because you want to support local farms or buy fair trade products or you are choosing to eat all organic as a family.

None of these things involve “can’t”, they involve choice. There’s a big difference there.

2. Aim to Lower Your Grocery Bill By 1-3% Every Month

Instead of trying to overhaul your grocery bill overnight, set a goal to lower your grocery bill by 1-3% every month. While this might not seem like this will make much of an impact, over time, your savings will really start to add up. And, by doing it gradually, it will seem a lot less overwhelming and doable.

3. Analyze What You’re Spending that $1,000 Per Month On

Gather up your receipts from the past few shopping trips, if you have them, and take a good look at where that $1,000 is going. What are the areas where you’re spending the most? Right off the bat, you might realize you’re spending an exorbitant amount on meat or diapers or produce.

Whichever area is the biggest spending culprit is the area I recommend that you focus your energies on lowering.

4. Pick One Money-Saving Technique to Focus on Per Month

Rather than trying to work on a bunch of different areas of your grocery budget, just focus on one specific and realistic money-saving technique per month. Use the analysis you did in step #3 to decide which area to focus on first.

For instance, maybe you are spending a lot on produce. For the next month, plan your meals around the few different fruits and vegetables that are in season and on sale that month. Focus on this money-saving technique only for a month.

Don’t worry about that long list of other ideas you come up with when you’re reading frugal blogs. You can add those things to an ongoing list of money-saving ideas you want to implement, but only worry about adding one new thing each month.

The next month, if you’re feeling comfortable with that focus area, add in something else, like shopping with cash or planning meals that use less expensive ingredients.

5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Bloggers or People You See on “Extreme Couponing”

Finally, it’s easy to become discouraged when you see savings of like 80 to 100% on blogs or the Extreme Couponing show. You can feel like you just don’t measure up because you’re over there working really hard and only seeing 30% savings.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but yourself — unless you want to end up feeling discouraged. You can only do what you can do. Plus, I promise that those folks who are highlighting their amazing 99% savings shopping trips are not seeing those kinds of savings every single shopping trip.

What advice do the rest of you have for Carrie? I’ve love to hear!

For step-by-step help in lowering your grocery budget, be sure to check out my 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget series.

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4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun: Free food at Chick-fil-A (Day 19)

The kids had so much fun planning out and dressing up in their cow costumes for Chick-fil-A’s Cow Appreciation Day today.

We used stuff we already had on hand and I was really happy with how their costumes turned out.

Kaitlynn didn’t want to use one of the tails I printed out from Chick-fil-A’s website, so she made her own!

I think the kids had the most fun seeing all of the crazy costumes other people had concocted. I had told them ahead of time that probably other people would dress up, too, but I guess they didn’t quite believe me until they got out of the van and saw all of the cow-decked people headed inside.

They kept laughing at the hilarious things people had come up with — and, let me tell you, there were some doozies! I couldn’t believe how many teenage boys and grown men dressed from head-to-toe like cows. Some of them looked like they had put a whole lot of effort into their costumes and seemed not a bit embarrassed about wearing them for all to see!

We arrived at 11 a.m. and I’m so glad we did, since we were able to get a table back in the corner away from all of the throngs of people. Plus, we didn’t have to wait in a line that stretched out the door!

Some dear friends of ours who currently live in India but are back in the states for a few weeks met us there and we enjoyed getting to catch up and visit for awhile while the children played.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience — and definitely something we’ll be doing again!

Did you do something fun and frugal as a family today? If you blogged about it, I’d love for you to leave a link to your blog post below. Or, you can just tell us what you did in the comments.

Note: Since the purpose of this series is to encourage you to be intentional about fun in your home this summer, please only link up posts showing pictures/sharing details of fun things you did as a family today (or within the last few days). Posts that do not adhere to these guidelines will be deleted in order to make it fair for those who are putting forth a lot of effort to participate in this challenge.

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4 Weeks of Frugal Family Fun: Free Movie & Kool-Aid Ice (Day 18)

We met Angie and her four children at the local movie theater for their Free Kid’s Movie showing today.

It was a wee bit crowded and noisy, but you can’t beat the price of free!

We headed over to Angie’s house afterward and she made Kool-Aid Ice with Sprite for the kids while we moms snacked on Fudge Babies.

Did you do something fun and frugal as a family today? If you blogged about it, I’d love for you to leave a link to your blog post below. Or, you can just tell us what you did in the comments.

Note: Since the purpose of this series is to encourage you to be intentional about fun in your home this summer, please only link up posts showing pictures/sharing details of fun things you did as a family today (or within the last few days). Posts that do not adhere to these guidelines will be deleted in order to make it fair for those who are putting forth a lot of effort to participate in this challenge.

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