Happy Fall Y’all! Since the weather is changing we are going to review somegarage issues and tips. Now is a great time to evaluate your children’s toys. Do they have lots of outdoor toys that they just did not play with this past summer? Do you have a toddler-sized fleet of power ride on toys? Maybe a Barbie Jeep, a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and a Peg Perego John Deere Gator in your garage and your Mommy Mobile has to sit out side?
What is wrong with this picture?
How about if your garage has enough scooters, bikes, wagons and skates to outfit the entire street and your kids are not interested in any of them.
I get that it might be nice for you to say you have a Corvette, an Escalade, a Jeep, a Gator, motorcycle and scooter in your garage but seriously. Winter is coming and wouldn’t you rather have your car in the garage so you don’t have to ice off of scrape your windshield? Just saying.
Look I know how cute her 12” huffy Disney bike is but really she is now 14. When did she last hop in the Barbie Jeep and take it for a cruise? If you need a garage for your kid’s ride on toys and your kid doesn’t ride them you need to let them go. Think sell them or donate them. They are worth some money. Sell them and use that money towards something they will use and play with.
While we are on the subject of toys, which have been outgrown, lets talk about your yard. Are you still hanging on to the sand box or the pink peppermint patty playhouse? Your baby is a boy. He’s 13 there is no way he will be playing in the sand box no matter what you bribe him with. Besides it might now be a kitty litter box. Is that what you really want in your yard? Do you have a trampoline in the back yard that is so worn out it should be declared a hazard zone? Get rid of that accident and lawsuit waiting to happen. There is no reason to keep all the outdoor oversized toys your children have outgrown. Unless you are running a daycare your yard should not look like a toddler used car lot. Embrace change! Let go of clutter.
Paper work. Paper avalanche. Paper chase. Whatever you call it I know papers they are the downfall of many of you. What to do what do you need to keep?
Most financial papers fit in to one of 3 categories
Keep for 7 years
Keep for a year or less
Keep For A Calendar Year Or Less
ATM receipts and deposit slips – when you receive your bank statements you can shred them.
Charge slips (unless it is for a major purchase), for minor purchases once you are satisfied with the purchase. Shred the receipt when your credit card statement.
If you do not have a home office you don’t need to keep your utility bills, monthly mortgage statements or quarterly investment reports.
Keep your pay stubs, credit card statements and investment reports until you receive the W-2 or year-end summaries. Once you have those you don’t need the monthly statements.
Keep Seven Years
Year end credit-card summaries, along with your W-2s and 1099s.
If you itemize your tax return you need to keep all documents you utilized to determine your deductions. These additional documents you should retain include: canceled checks and receipts for all deductible business expenses (such as those for entertainment, home-office equipment, and professional dues), retirement-account contributions, charitable donations, child-care bills, out-of-pocket medical expenses, alimony, and mortgage-interest and property-tax payments.
After 7 years you should scan the actual tax returns or the year-end summaries of your investment accounts as they can come in very handy for future financial planning. Then you can store them on a flash drive or a CD in a safe place.
Keep receipts for major purchases and receipts that show how much you’ve paid for home improvements as long at your own your home. This will satisfy three things: Insurance claims, potential buyers and when you sell your home to reduce possible capital gains.
Keep beneficiary designation confirmation and purchase price slips that show beneficiary designations and the purchase price of stocks, mutual funds, and any other investments you hold.
It goes without saying that you need to keep your will, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, property deeds, and other permanent records in a safe but accessible place near your other financial documents, so you and your heirs will always be able to get to them quickly, if they need to.
Invest in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box for your forever documents.
I suggest scanning and digitizing your important personal documents as a back up copy. More info on this by News Leavitt Just remember a digital copy is not the same as a paper copy but it is much easier to obtain a replacement copy of you have a photo copy.
Also, invest in a shredder. In today’s world you really don’t want personal information floating around out there. You can find them for not much money.
Someone once said do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. I think there is a bit of a misunderstanding in that statement. Just because you love what you do does not mean you don’t work and that you don’t work hard. It just means that you enjoy what you are doing.
With each New Year many of us find that we need to make resolutions or feel the need to take stock of our life. Now is a great time to use the New Year as a way to better our selves or to take the time to plan out the year.
But before you can do this you must first think about what do you really want?
I was having lunch with a group of women and one of the things that we discovered is that we are sometimes not sure what we really want. We played a bit of a game where we were asked to think about these 4 things. We were compelled to learn, reach for, try, test, experiment with, and do by specifically writing down what we needed to feel the following:
If you would like to take a closer look take out a piece of paper or open a new page in your computer and divide it into 4 squares.
In the squares write each of the topics.
Now think about what makes you feel wanted? What do you need to feel wanted?
What makes you happy? What do you need to feel happy?
What makes you feel secure? What do you need to feel secure?
What makes you feel loved? What do you need to feel loved?
Come up with as many as you can. Really think about it and write it down. Any of these could be related to finances, safety, job, education, and flexibility or to family or friends.
Maybe your wanted it to have your family come to you for their needs. That you will always have the laundry done or that your husband has what it need to make you a cup of coffee in the morning. You may feel wanted by knowledge that you are very good at your job or that you are the go to person in certain situations. You are the best party planner; you organize all the family dinners or holidays.
Maybe your secure is to own your own home? Or having a plan for retirement or even for your kid’s college? Your secure could be knowing that you have marketable job skill? Your secure could be related to finances, safety, job, education, and flexibility or to family.
Your happy could be taking a family vacation or maintaining a calm and organized home? It could be that you love to cook and preparing a meal for your family or friends makes you happy.
Your loved could be having a dog greet you at the door and love you unconditionally. It could be having your husband make you a cup of coffee each morning. Seeing the joy on your kids faces each day.
Now that you know what you need, you can check how you can get these things. Now you can make a plan. Whatever it is you can do it. So keep learning, reaching, working, reading, trying, resting, and moving forward.
It’s that time of the year again! Last year I shared our families go to, must have ever Christmas Fudge receipe! By The Way ~ Milnot Is Evaporated Milk! Enjoy
My family has a tradition of making candy on Christmas Eve. We all gather at my parents house and the little kids are already in their pamajas. It’s a great time had by all! Lots of laughter, sugar and of course chocolate! Little kids go to bed early and then the santas helpers work really begins.
It’s almost that time of the year where you will be taking lots of photos and the last thing you need to see is “Memory full” EEEK!
Plus some of you will be sending pictures to the grandparents. Wouldn’t it be nice if those pictures were organized? No one likes to spend hours searching for that picture of Pam on her horse wearing the yellow outfit. Who has that kind of time? At the holidays!! No one.
Well, it would be a good idea to get organized.
Since most if not all of our current photos are electronic here are some tips to organize your electronic photos.
Smile! Selfie! Group Shot! Candid Shot! Look over here!!
OK, now that most of us are living in the digital age we have a camera on our phone and our tablets. Plus many of us have digital cameras. We take lots of pictures. We shoot selfies, our kids, our pets, our food, our flowers, our toes and lots of other things.
I take photos of my grocery lists, of books I want to read, of business cards I want to keep, I snap screenshots of directions, email information and other tidbits that I want to explore further.
Life is too short to keep bad pictures! But no one wants to lose his or her memories.
We have memory sticks; chips, memory cards, DVDs, old cell phones and some of us have negatives.
But did you know that electronic photos can and do create clutter?
How many bad photos do you have? How about duplicates? There is really no reason to keep unrecognizable overexposed or underexposed blurry pictures or unintentional photos of your hand or the floor.
Have you organized them? Most people don’t they leave them where they took them. Cell phone or digital camera. You share them on Facebook, Instagram or by email. But that is also how they can be lost. What should you save? How to organize them? Where are they?
The first thing you have to do is find them. Go through all those old devices and see what you want to keep. Then you will need to decide how and where you want to keep your photos. There are lots of articles and tips on this that can be found all over the Internet.
Electronic photos are fairly easy to organize. You can set up folders and then you can further organize them by subject. Thank goodness electronic photos are dated. So your photos will automatically be by date. It is easy to start with a folder per year. Then you can organize them by the event. You may want to be specific if you are setting up a folder for holidays who knows what holidays are in there.
I find it is easiest and fastest to keep them on USB flash drives organized by year – I can simply grab the one I need, plug it into my computer, and easily find and copy over the image I’m looking for. I have USB drives that are labeled by year with a black paint pen and attached to a standard metal key tag like one of these flash drives. Bonus, your precious memories are backed up onto a flash drive that you can store in a fireproof safe place.
Later this week is national clean out your refrigerator day. So you know what that means…
Empty the containers that are way in the back.
Toss out the takeout from 3 weeks ago. (You will thank me later.)
Do you have an almost empty bottle of mayo or Catalina dressing? Do you even like Catalina dressing? No? Well, why are you keeping the ½ ounce that is at the bottom of that bottle?
Do you have a beer that you have been saving for the Astro’s to win the world series? They did and that beer may not be as satisfying as the last game was. Ditto for any other expired food you have in there. Let it go.
Besides if you live in the USA, Thanksgiving is coming. You need room for all the food. The dressing, pumpkin pie and the turkey, oh my. You must make room for the goodies.
Now that you have tossed the science experiments that were growing in your refrigerator it’s time to clean all the shelves, wash the crisper drawers. Don’t forget to vacuum condenser coils and vacuum out under the refrigerator.
Again you are welcome! Now enjoy your nice clean refrigerator.
So do you have a budget? Do you know when you power bill is due? Does your significant other?
Yes ~no~ maybe? While for many couples money is a point of contention. Each of you needs to know what is going on with and where your money is going. You both need to know how to access to your online accounts and at the very least how much money is coming in and going out.
Are you one paycheck away from disaster? If you are then you need to put the brakes on and talk to someone.
There are so many ways to dig you out of a hole. Such as cut up your credit cards, use cash, use the envelope system, Dave Ramsey’s, Suze Orman, or any number of other systems that are out there. They are easy to find. I am sure you can find one that you can work with. There is even the suggestion to keep only one credit card but freeze it in a freezer bowl of water for EMERGENCIES. That way you have to thaw the card and by having it frozen limits your access. It’s really not a good idea microwave your credit card.
Everyone needs an emergency fund.
Note new shoes or a new outfit, going out to dinner or big TV is not an emergency.
An emergency is tires for your vehicle, car repair, hospital or dental emergency, job loss or home repair.
Have you thought about how you might buy a house?
Are you are looking for a house, will you buy in the city or country? How long will your commute be? Are you willing to do that? Do you have money for a down payment? Can you handle the mortgage payment, insurance, taxes and maintenance? When you become the homeowner you also become the super. Oh no the hot water is out? That is your problem. Leak in the roof. Yep ~ that repair is on you. By the way these repairs are not covered by your standard homeowners insurance. You can purchase a separate home warranty plan that will cover some of these repairs.
So maybe you are in the market for a new vehicle. Can you tell me how much your car insurance is?
If you are in the market for a new car would you check to see how much your insurance will cost on the new vehicle before you purchase it? Did you know that your automobile insurance does NOT cover repairs unless it was as the result of an accident? Not because you didn’t check the oil and you blew up the engine or your drivetrain just wore out. WHAT THE WHAT.
Yes ~ this is why you need an emergency fund.
Do you have children? Are you making a college savings plan? Do you want it help your kids go to college or do you think that if they do it all themselves they will be more serious? But can they? Have you thought of this before?
Have you got a plan for retirement? Do you have a date you would like to retire? Do you know the earlier you start saving for this the less money you have to put in? Right AMAZING. If you have not started saving, now is a good time.
If you do have a retirement date in mind will you be debt free on that date? If you have less money coming in you need less money going out.
What about where will you live? Does your house allow you to age in place? Is there are bedroom and bathroom on the main floor? Stairs are not your friend when you get older. Your knees will thank you.
Do you have a will? Even if you are young you need a will. If you are young parents you need this more than ever. You want to provide for your children. Who will become their guardian?
Are you single? Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care? Lets say you are in an accident, you have a life threating injury and unable to communicate? Who speaks on your behalf? Who are they going to call?
Advanced Directive? Is a written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor.
No financial or legal advice is being give here. I only want to make you think. Organize your finances and get your financial plan started. Take advantage of National Financial Planning Month.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” ~ Benjamin Franklin
So do you have a plan? I love you comments. Please share this with your friends and family.
Hello, Anyone who has been here before knows that I am all about controlling your chaos, organizing your life and corralling your clutter. Clutter is a time thief. If you can’t find what you need you spend valuable time searching. You look under the bed, in the car or between the couch cushions. Sometimes you give up and buy a new whatever was lost. That is a budget buster. You know you bought the funniest birthday card for your sister months ago now her birthday is in a week and you can’t find it.What do you do? You know what you are going to do. You buy a new card. Then the week after her birthday you find the first one. But you can’t send it to anyone else because it says To my Sister for her 30th Birthday…. ARGH!!
You know you need to put some order in your life. But you are overwhelmed? Where to start? I am here to help. You can look back at some of my prior posts to give you an idea.
It does not matter where you start. The first step is to begin. The thing that you lose all the time is a good place to start. If that is keys. Determine a set place for them. Put them there every single time. Without fail.
If it is that your kids can’t seem to get their school stuff together in the morning before school. You have a nightmarish morning trying to like trying to herd cats. Set up a system. Backpacks in a designated spot, homework checked before they go to bed, determine what everyone is wearing the night before and you will eliminate much of the morning chaos. You might actually enjoy breakfast with your kids.
Maybe you plan on making dinner but what to make? What do you have? What do you need? Organize your pantry. That way you will know what you have and if you keep a running shopping list you will not run out of ketchup, butter or sugar. When you open the last of something put it on the shopping list. If you keep this list on your cell phone it will always be with you. You can then make a plan the night before as to what you are making for dinner. You will know what you have and what you need to get.
You can get organized. I am here to help you bring order to your life. Where do you find are your biggest clutter areas? What do you frequently lose?
Binders can be your best buddy to get you organized.
You need a binder for your life if you don’t do file folders then a binder may work better for you.
Today we have a reminder of how an ordinary day can become an emergency. Watching the news and seeing how devastating Harvey has been to Houston makes me realize how important a binder is. So this is a good opportunity to revisit the subject.
Living in Oklahoma as you know is tornado alley. Every spring we would have the threat of severe weather. So when you think there is the very real possibility your home could be wiped off of the map or at the least have parts and pieces end up in Kansas you develop a special set of skills. One of the skills is you have things you know you need to grab on the way out the door.
We lived in Oklahoma on May 3, 1999, when an F5 tornado smashed into and through my neighborhood. Our weatherman said, “People in the path of this storm need to get underground or get out-of-town.”
Since we didn’t have an underground shelter. So we got out-of-town. We were rushing through the house grabbing stuff, our insurance information, homeowner’s policy, health insurance, car insurance, identification papers and even a list of phone numbers. Also, we had just purchased a new vehicle and had yet to notify our insurance agent of this new purchase so some information about our vehicle wasn’t a bad idea. This would have been so much easier and less chaotic if we had a binder.
Well fortunately for us our house was still standing. Our trees and fence were another story and we never did find the owner of a patio chair that blew into our yard.
After that experience, we created a home binder.
Home Binder –
It has copies of our deed to our home and our insurance policies. Each time we make a major purchase we document the purchase; warranty dates then add the warranty and receipt to our home binder. At one time I kept the manuals but now all this is readily available on the Internet. So I can’t find a reason why should I keep them. We do keep a list of maintenance, repairs, and upgrades we have made to our house. This information is helpful for you are selling your home and you have to make the necessary disclosures.
Important Paper Binder –
We have a binder for our important papers. This binder stays in a fireproof box.
For us, important papers are birth certificates, marriage license, passports, social security card, wills and trust documents other licenses and certificates. Additionally, we have a DVD of the inside of our home. (This is very helpful if you have to replace your contents.)
Home Management Binder –
This could be called the ICE or Mom Manual. It will have flyers from your kid’s sports, school events, schedules, and newsletters. Also, it will have an emergency contact sheet. This binder will have school, teacher, baby sitter or daycare provider contact info. Passwords can also be stored in this binder. You can add pages to include your budget and bill payment schedule.
I know some families use a binder for their kids’ artwork and school papers. Every child gets a binder. Papers you want to keep are 3-hole punched and placed in the binder immediately. Then at the end of the year, you can scan the ones you want to preserve forever.
There are lots of templates online for pages of anything else you might want or need to have.
The purpose of the binder is to put everything all together and easily accessible. I look forward to hearing about your binders, how they simply and organize your life.
The time to create a home binder is before you have an emergency situation.
Now that back to school supplies are everywhere. It’s the perfect time to pick up and create a homework box. It could be a tote, box, basket, or crate. The purpose is to have everything your kids need to do their homework all in one spot.
Add things like pencils, a pencil sharpener, erasers, crayons or colored pencils, markers, calculator, index cards, tape, ruler, paper, highlighter and post it notes. You might even add a timer. Your kids will have everything they need, will not spend time looking for and putting off doing their homework.
While you are at it you might as well set up an after school snack zone. Fill it with Mom approved snacks your kids can grab when they get home and are starving.
A shoe organizer with pockets is a great way to set up a snack zone. You can hang it on the back of your pantry door. By placing Mom approved snacks in the zone your child can reach. Older kids snacks can be placed in the higher pockets.
Next have a discussion with your children about homework expectations.
When they are to do homework? Do they get a certain amount of playtime are there scheduled breaks. This is where the timer will come in handy. You know how long you kid can work before they need to blow off some energy.
Snack before starting homework or after? If you are giving them a sugar snack you know they are most likely going to need to burn off the sugar energy. When did they have lunch? My husband is a little bit crabby when he is hungry and he is a little bit hungry all the time. ❤ So, I always have snacks and you know a hungry person can be a cranky person.
Where are they to do their homework? Chose a place with minimal distractions. (Like TV and toys.)
Where is the homework box kept? Remind them that if they use the last of anything to let you know so it can be replaced. Don’t forget when you open the last package is a great time to add it to the running shopping list.
After the homework is completed where should your child put it for Mom or Dad to check it? I’m going to suggest you have them put it in a folder in their backpack. Once you have checked their homework they can return their backpack to the designated spot you have near the door.
If you would like to have a homework routine checklist
a whimsical life has a great one. A Whimsical Life Homework Routine Remember if your children know what is expected and they know they have a checklist there should be less nagging.
So are you excited that the kids are going back to school or are you sad?
Have a great day!
If you like what I have to say feel free to re-blog. Help yourself, help me and help others.