My Organized Life

A place for everything and everything in it's place helps my busy life run much smoother and it saves money too!

Financial Information

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Organize a binder that contains all your important papers including investment statements, insurance (life, health, homeowners, auto, etc.), credit card, bank accounts, etc.

When new statements arive, replace the old and shred. In the event of a fire, natural disaster just pickup the binder and GO! If there is an unexpected death, theft of a wallet, accident or other tragedy you'll have all policy numbers and phone numbers at your finger tips. This will hasten the payments due to you in your time of need and give you great piece of mind. Include copies of your prescriptions too!

Bill Paying

  • Pay bills at the same time each month (payday or the 1st and 15th). Getting into this habit will allow you better control of your finances. As bills are received, place them in a large envelope or file folder to avoid losing them. Set any bill up on automatic deduction from your checking account to avoid late fees. (I have my mortgage, car payments, all insurance payments including life and homeowners and newspaper) I am adding my phone and water bill to the list this month.

    Have your paycheck automatically deposited to your account if available through your employer. This way bills can get paid even if you are on vacation! No more late fees.

  • Stop using credit cards. Save up to pay for what you want to buy. No more interest payments and no more late fees. Cancel your cards in writing.
  • Check your credit report annually using the three FREE credit reporting agencies. Make sure it reflects your canceled cards. Review carefully for any unusual activity which might indicate your identity is at risk.

Cooking List

  • I keep a running list of what we've eaten for dinner so I don't duplicate meals too often.
  • I plan my main course for a week or so at a time depending on what is on our calendar for the evening. Eating in is more nutritious and saves money. Planning allows me to purchase the items when I am at the grocery avoiding a run to the store.
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  • I plan on having each of my Dear Daughters (age 16 and 10) cook a meal one night a week starting this summer.
  • I keep an accordion file of recipes I'd like to try divided into categories like pasta, poultry, desserts, etc. Occasionally I'll sort them out, throwing those away I know I'll never try and selecting a few to cook over the next month.
  • Use what is in your pantry.
  • Don't forget that grocery list: Train your family members to record an item (I have a wipe off board on my refrigerator). If it NOT on the list it doesn't get purchased.

Make Lists

  • Grocery: Keep a running grocery list in your phone or day planner so it's handy when you shop
  • Task List: Make a list of tasks or cleaning projects to be completed each day, week, year. I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I mark one off as done and it keeps me on my toes as to what chores need to be completed in what order. My list includes items like cleaning the blinds and windows, cleaning the silver, cleaning closets, ordering mulch, planting bulbs, etc.
  • Clothing or Shopping Needs: I do most of my clothes shopping at outlet malls. I keep a running list of items we each need to be as efficient as possible. These twice yearly shopping trips act as a mini-vacation and actually save me money because I am not at the malls on a regular basis. I save up to $50 each pay period for these trips.

    My girls do all their summer shopping in April and their back to school shopping in August. I do Christmas shopping in November. I also stock up on seasonal gifts for my secret pal, Sunday school teachers, accountability ladies, etc on these trips.

  • Christmas (or Birthday) List: I purchase Christmas gifts all year long. I LOG these in a spread sheet which also tracks the cost of the item. These items are stored in a plastic storage bin under my bed so they don't get lost.
  • Reading List: I keep a list of books (reviews cut from magazines or the newspaper too!) so I can always check out something interesting from the Library.
  • Movie List: I have a list on my computer of all the VHS and DVDs we won (CDs being added soon!) This way if I need to suggest a movie title for a gift, I'll know what we have. Print the list and store in your important papers binder in the event of a fire ot tornado. It will make it easier to claim on your insurance!

And the most important . . .

  • Wish List: I keep a running list of the things I'd like to accomplish before I die, places I'd like to visit, etc. I just turned 50 and will be crossing off "Take drum lessons" soon. A goal is just a dream you have written down. If you can dream it you CAN do it!

This may seem a bit compulsive to you but I didn't start all these lists at the same time. Select the ONE that will simplify your life and give it a shot! You'll be glad you did

By Diana from Prospect, KY

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

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April 4, 20080 found this helpful

What are the 3 Free Credit reports names?

Editor's Note: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Experian was formerly known as TRW.

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April 2, 20160 found this helpful

A big congratz - you have it all together!

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April 4, 20080 found this helpful

you are an inspiration! i used to do the 3 ring binder thing as well but when i returned to school all of my organizational abilities focused on college. it really helped me though and i think i will dig it out again to get me back on track. thanks!

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April 5, 20080 found this helpful

Diana, you've written a wonderful essay. I especially love your wish list - you gotta have a dream. Thank you for your inspiration.

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April 7, 20080 found this helpful

Diana,

I agree with your bill paying tips. I do, however, have one major credit card -- for emergencies, etc. -- that is free as long as we use it at least once a year. When I do use it, I pay the full amount on the very first bill.

One more suggestion: The auto bill pay is GREAT. The first one a person should do is have a set date for automatically withdrawing from your checking account and depositing in your savings account. This will help attain some wishes!

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November 15, 20081 found this helpful

Wonderful suggestions, Diana! I found several I plan to implement starting with the binder.

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March 21, 20120 found this helpful

Some of this is not good advice. Cancelling credit cards will affect your FICA score which can result in higher insurance premiums and in some cases higher interest rates when financing cars, etc. I use my credit card for a lot of things and pay off the balance IN FULL each month.

Therefore, I've never paid my bank interest and I've gotten money for points. Also, I can look at my statements and get a better idea of where my money is going. I'm not a big spender when it comes to unnecessary purchases and I don't pay more for an item just because I use a credit card like some would suggest. It takes disclipine when using credit cards and only becomes a problem when one lives beyond their means.

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June 20, 20141 found this helpful

Have you never heard of Flylady? or Cozi. Cozi is a free calendar you can use on your computer or phone. It has menu ideas and running lists that are easy to use. Flylady has a Control Journal that can be downloaded and is also easy to use. Check them out, save paper and time, the formats are easy to use and very adaptable to specific needs. The works is already done for you.

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April 2, 20160 found this helpful

I am definitely going to check out these sites. Thank you for sharing.

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