Thursday, January 24, 2013

Simple ways to simplify your life

Occasionally I find myself looking around and feeling overwhelmed by stuff! Do you ever feel this way? There are times that i'm cleaning house and think to myself how QUICK this would take if we had less stuff. And I am already TRYING to live on less. I want a simple life. I am ok with a simple life. But some things tend to make me crazy!

PLASTIC BAGS. This weekend I finally went through and did some purging. I was tired of these plastic bags attacking me when I opened the cabinet. This is nuts. No one needs THIS many plastic sacks.

My SPAM folder. I have no clue how I get so much spam. Fortunately it all goes to SPAM but I get this tight feeling in my chest when I see that I have 219 messages in my spam box. SO, I took the time to go through and click "unsubscribe" at the bottom of EACH email. I have no clue why I am unsubscribing to something I never subscribed to, but at last it seemed true... and I took the time to handle that. 

PAPER. I have no clue how there are ANY trees left in the world because I feel like they are ALL in my house. Between my school and Ava's school, and bills and junk mail... it seems that paper is everywhere! I am working on getting THAT organized. 

My stock pile room. Somehow I have lost the organization that I once had in that room. I would go to the store and buy something and then come home and see I already had it. That makes me nuts. I tended to that.

These are just some recent examples but we ALL have things in our lives that would be much more simpler if they were tended to. Here are a few ways to simplify your life:

1. clean out your car every night! I am so guilty of NOT doing this. And then every morning I sigh and try to find the bottom of the clutter so I can grab the ONE notebook I need for class. By spending 3 minutes after getting home and cleaning out your car this can make your mornings seem SIMPLER. And isn't this something we would ALL enjoy?

2. Clean out your inbox. If you have read it and don't need it... delete it. Or move it to a folder. Don't keep your email a mess. Because when you DO need that ONE email, it will be easier to find and will cut our stress.

3. Dump the plastic. Keeping more than 10 bags is probably overkill. Dump them. Recycle them. Do something besides keeping them piling up in your house!

4. Put stuff in the SAME spot. This has eliminated stresses for me. I NOW put my keys and sunglasses in the same spot every day. This has saved many a mornings running around like crazy searching for keys.

5. If you don't use it-dump it! Pretty simple.

6. (Some will call this overkill but...) Keep a list of what you HAVE in your closet. Make one. Try it. This will eliminate shopping when you need nothing and this will make mornings easier. When you see a list of what you have it just HELPS.

7. See #6 and do this for anything and everything. 

8. Do the laundry RIGHT after the dryer dings. Don't let it pile up. This will only cause stress and LOTS of work at once. 

9. Plan meals. Plan your day. Plan plan PLAN! Doing this doesn't mean you can't change the plan. It does not mean that you aren't fun or spontaneous (Even though some people will think this). It just keeps you organized and therefore simplifies things. 

Sure wish I had a #10 but at the moment I do not. :)

What do you do to simplify your life? What should we add to this list? 

comment or email me at

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saving money on just about anything

Isn't that what it's all about when it comes to your finances? Do you often ask yourself "HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY?" I know for a long time I did that, and sometimes I still do. It's OK to have to stop and reevaluate what you are doing to see if you can cut back on some expenses. Just recently I have had to do that and I have once again gotten motivated and am ready to save even MORE! It's like a new diet or a new work out plan... you know you NEED to do it, but you don't really want to. BUT, once you start seeing results then you are fired up and ready to do more. Same thing with money. Not always easy or fun, but once you start seeing the $aving$, you will want to do MORE!

I recently saved money the following ways:

1. Dish. I started examining our bill and thought to myself "This is nuts"!!!! We basically watch the main channels (4,7,11) for our news and TV shows and then other than that everything we are watching is RERUNS. I love TV Land, and Nick at Nite but let's face it... we own half of the shows on DVD already! We were also paying for a second dish with 2 dvr boxes in two rooms that we rarely used. So I called to see if I could cancel the 2nd dish with the 2 dvr's we dont use and they said SURE! Shaved 17 dollars off our bill just like that! Then I have spent time evaluating the packages offered by DISH and it looks like we are about to save an additional 23 dollars a month when I downgrade our package. As long as you don't cancel your membership with them then you can make all the changes you want and still be within your "contract". handy piece of info. I didnt think I could do that.

2. Clothes shopping. I am not extreme. I have seen the show "Extreme Cheapskates" and Dear Lord Please NEVER let me be like that!!!" BUT, there is nothing wrong with asking for a deal. I recently found a super cute dress and it had the tiniest of rips in it, but hey--it was worth asking. And I saved an additional 15%! Not too shabby!  Don't hesitate to ask. Also, some places will offer up a discount just for asking. Just an FYI, if you ever shop at Shoe Carnival and they are not currently advertising a "Buy one Get One 1/2 off sale" just ASK. They will honor that ANYTIME if you simply ASK. There are savings right in front of you!

3. Electricity bill. I HATE paying this bill. I DESPISE it with everything in me. It seems ridiculous to pay THAT much just to have electricity, but alas it is a necessity. :) Turn off lights. Turn the heat down when you leave the house. Unplug things. Don't leave fans going if you aren't home. Close doors that you don't use so the heat isn't trying to warm those. Shut off vents! We have done that in two rooms that we rarely go in. What's the point in heating them? Close your blinds and curtains at night to help your house stay warmer and this will allow you to turn your heat down!

4. Call your cell phone carrier. They now have (at least Verizon does) a way to run a little test to see the average minutes/texts/data that you use. I did this and was shocked to learn that I was paying for FAR more than we ever use. $17 dollars saved just by making a phone call.

5. Grocery store. I'm still in the middle of an experiment with our local stores--trying to see which one is REALLLLY the best deal. Avoid Walmart for meat. Go to a GROCERY store. Ask the butcher if he has any markdowns he's about to put out OR ask when would be a good time to come back and get some deals. Ask him what he's marking down. They love talking to customers. They hack meat all day for goodness sakes... they enjoy the break! THIS can save you some serious cash.

Alright, of course there are more things but here are some reminders for you. What can you add to the list? Comment or email me at to let me hear YOUR tips!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

6 months of bargains: UPDATE

In case you missed the first post, check it out HERE!

SO far, so good. I have already come up with a few conclusions about items that are cheaper elsewhere, BUT, I am sticking with the plan!

I have 15 more days left to do my shopping at Walmart. I have determined thus far that:

1. Their meat department BLOWS. It's an awful selection and it is SO expensive!!! WOW--I am so ready to get to Kroger. I miss their meat.

2. Their household/beauty item prices aren't THAT much lower than Krogers. I have always said that Kroger is where I would buy my food but we all needed a Wal-Mart close by for facewash, tampons, makeup, and cleaning products. I'm starting to think that's not true... with coupons I bet I could at least MEET if not BEAT Walmart's prices... i'm anxious to find out.

3. Walmart is a dirty store. Don't they have a cleaning crew somewhere? It's just gross...

Walmart, you have NOT impressed me enough to make me stay here, but I am a trooper so I will finish out this month with you... and then I hope to NEVER return.

Things that are cheaper:
tuna fish. I noticed that right off the bat because I buy about 10 cans a month!
Snack food (fruit snacks for Ava's lunch, chips, etc)

Now i'm not saying that other people couldn't save a TON by shopping at Walmart. I am strictly going off of MY list. And for the Matthews household... Walmart didn't save us any money.