Simplify

How to Shop Without Overspending

By on June 29, 2017

shop, shopping, budget

Shopping is something that I enjoy doing. Especially with my girlfriend. Each time we go shopping, we have a competition to see who can spend the least amount of money. On one of our outings, I beat her by only 11 cents. It’s a good way to keep me in check so I don’t overspend.

It’s important to stick to a budget when you go shopping. Spending extra money without planning ahead can potentially cause you to have regrets in the long run. So, how can you keep from overspending when you go shopping?

shop, shopping, budget

Set a Budget

If you are planning to go shopping, it’s important to set a budget ahead of time. Especially if you are not shopping for anything specific and just going with your friends. Figure out what you can afford to spend ahead of time and stick to that budget while you’re shopping. You also need to weigh your options while you’re shopping. If you don’t absolutely need it, don’t get it.

shop, shopping, budget

Bring Cash

When you charge your purchase to a credit or debit card, you can’t see the immediate impact that it is having on your account. If you use cash, you can immediately see the amount of money that you are spending. Bringing cash while you go shopping not only gives you a set budget, it also guarantees that you won’t overspend if you see something else that you want.

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Forget the Cards

In bringing a preset amount of cash, you can leave your credit and debit cards at home. This will keep you from overspending when you see that item that you just can’t live without. It’s easy to use your card when there is something that you want. You can prevent that from happening by leaving your cards at home.

shop, shopping, budget

Stick to a List

Before you go out shopping, create a list of the items that you need. Stick to that list and avoid making any unplanned purchases. If you see something that you want, add it to a wishlist for future purchase. Keeping an additional list will keep you from making impulse buys. If you add it to your list, it gives you think time and you may decide that you don’t need it after all.

shop, shopping, budget

When shopping, it’s important to set and stick to a budget. It’s helpful to only bring cash, leave your cards at home, and stick to a list. In this way, you won’t make any unplanned purchases that you may regret later.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Organize

Get Things Done When You Feel Like Procrastinating

By on June 26, 2017

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Procrastinating has taken over at our home. Earlier this year, we cleaned out my Mom’s home. Some of the items were things that I chose from the estate to add to our own home. We are storing furniture in the lower level of our home for our boys. They will take it with them when they move into their own homes later this year. There are also files and memory boxes that we will need to sort through eventually. There are more items that have been added to our already long to-do list and it has become overwhelming.

When you are overwhelmed, it is easy to procrastinate. There are always other things that need to be done, and it’s easy to put off the things that are just waiting for you to take care of them. How can you get things done when you feel like procrastinating?

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Make a List

No, it’s not the neverending to-do list that you normally keep.  Make this a short list of the items that need to be completed. Keep this list to only two to three items. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by the length of the list. Number the items according to the order of importance that you want to complete them.

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Tackle One Thing at a Time

It’s important to focus on one item at a time. Start with item number one and once that is complete, you can think about completing item number two. It’s easy to want to get everything done at one time. Realistically, though, we know that isn’t going to happen. It’s better to focus on one task at a time rather than spreading ourselves too thin by tackling everything at once.

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Break Things Down Into Manageable Steps

Once you have determined what task, to begin with, you need to break that task down into manageable steps. Procrastinating takes place when the steps are too large to handle and you don’t feel like you have the time to complete what you have set out to do. Consider the amount of time that you have to complete each part of the task, and plan accordingly.

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Celebrate Your Progress

Even if your progress is a small victory, take the time the to celebrate it. Indulge in some me-time whether it’s just relaxing or spending time doing something that you love. This not only rewards your efforts, it also helps to motivate you to continue.

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It is easy to procrastinate when you are overwhelmed. Instead of putting things off, make a list of what needs to be done, choose one item to complete, and break that item down into manageable steps. You’ll feel so much better when your list of items is complete instead of hanging over you.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Plan

How to Organize Your Next Gathering and a Free Printable

By on June 19, 2017

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A family gathering is one of my favorite things to do. I love getting our entire family together for dinner. With a son in the military, we are able to get all of our kiddos together about once a year. I truly look forward to those times and want to spend my time talking and visiting rather than working to get a meal prepared and cleaned up.

The summer season is the perfect time for get-togethers consisting of barbecues, picnics, or bonfires. How can you organize your next gathering so you can spend more time socializing with your guests?

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Plan Ahead

One way to get a jump start on organizing your gathering is to plan it out. Who is going to be invited? What types of food and drink will be served? With there be any decor to set the mood?

It’s much nicer to have everything ready to go so you can spend the day of getting ready and seeing just to the last minute details.

Using the free Gathering Planner printable below, you can start the planning to get your party going. The planner is two pages of planner goodness. Everything you will need to plan out the perfect gathering. Click on the image of the Gathering Planner to join and get access to your free download.

 

Keep It Simple

Keep your gathering simple so you can spend time with your guests. It will also allow for quicker clean up after everything is finished.

Choose foods with easy prep and don’t feel the need to make everything yourself. You can purchase items and add your own flare if you decide to.

Decor can be made up of things that you already have around your home. Glassware and candles can be set up as a centerpiece or in another prominent place where your guests will be mingling. Flowers also make a great addition to any setting. Use seasonal flowers that can be found at the store, garden center, or even in your yard.

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Prep Ahead

Prep your food, set up your place settings and serving dishes, and decorate ahead of time so there is minimal work that needs to be done when everyone is together.

If it is a picnic or barbecue, many of the food items can be prepared ahead of time so that the only work that will need to be completed is grilling and setting out the food. That way you can spend more time visiting with your guests.

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Plan a summer gathering and invite your family and friends. Once everything has been planned out and put into place, take the time to spend with your guests. Talk, visit, and make memories.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Simplify

How Journaling Can be a Beneficial Outlet

By on June 15, 2017

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My youngest son recently started a new chapter in his life. This requires him to be away from home during the week without any contact with home. I’ll admit, it’s difficult to go the entire week without seeing him, speaking to him or texting with him. I often wonder how he is doing. Journaling has helped me out during the week. I can write down my thoughts and feelings each day.

Do you journal? Have you thought about it? Journaling can be a beneficial outlet by providing a place for you to record your thoughts, ideas, and memories. So, how do you get started with journaling?

You will need to find a journal that you like. It doesn’t have to be expensive unless you find one that you absolutely fall in love with. A spiral notebook will work just as well. Or, you can use a binder and add pages to it as needed. The journal can be kept each day, during a particular time period, or as a travel journal.

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Just Write

Journaling doesn’t have to consist of all writing, but it could. The writing could consist of prose or poetry. You could even create song lyrics if the mood strikes you. Personally, I keep my journal like a diary. I add dates with writing, embellishments, and pictures. In the end, it is more of a memory journal than a diary.

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Creative Outlet

If you are artistic, a journal can serve as a spot to add your creative flair. Instead of getting a lined journal, you can purchase one that has blank pages so you can add your artistic touch. The artwork, along with your thoughts or feelings, will make a keepsake that you can enjoy for years to come.

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Picture Pretty

A journal can serve as an inspiration point for just about anything. Instead of keeping an inspiration board, keep it in a journal. Add photos or drawings that represent what inspires you. It will be a go-to resource that you can carry with you.

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Bullet It

A bullet journal is kept with bulleted lists. You can keep track of your day, goals, or wishlists. You can also add embellishments such as washi tape, stickers, and pictures to make the journal more personalized. A bullet journal can be a place to keep everything that you want to keep track of each day.

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Journaling is an outlet for you to record your thoughts, ideas, and memories. But, it can also be so much more than that by adding your own creative touch. Choose a journal, personalize it, and make it your own.

Until next time,

P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

P.P.S. – Sign up for Living a Simplified Life’s Free Resource Library. By signing up, you not only get access to our Resource Library, you will also receive our weekly emails that offer exclusive content and more free printables that you won’t find on the blog.

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Simplify

How to Cope When You’re Missing a Loved One

By on June 12, 2017

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At certain points in my marriage, my husband has to travel for a week or two at a time for mandatory training. Although I know that he will be home eventually, it’s still difficult to be apart from him for so long.

There are times in life when you may have to be apart from a loved one (spouse or child) for a period of time. Whether it is a work trip or your loved one is away at school or in the military, it can be difficult to be apart. Sometimes, you can keep in touch each day. Other times, you could go days or weeks without any communication from your loved one. How can you cope when you’re missing your loved one?

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Stay Positive

Even though days and weeks may seem to drag,  it’s important to remain positive during your loved one’s absence to help you cope with it. Staying positive is especially helpful if they contact you. You don’t want them to worry that everything is okay at home.

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Keep Yourself Busy

The days can drag by when you have a loved one that is absent from home. It’s important to fill your day with things that will keep you busy. Find things, at home, that need doing and get them done, or find a hobby that you can take up while they are gone. Reading, either fiction or nonfiction is also an excellent way to pass the time. You could also take a walk each evening to help pass the time.

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Write Letters

If you can send letters to your loved one while they are away; do it! Even though there may be texts, phone calls, face-to-face calls, or emails, a letter can brighten your loved one’s day. It is also something that they can keep once they return home.

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Keep a Journal

Keep a journal of what you are thinking about your loved one each day. Add pictures of family, friends, or daily events, and when your loved one returns home, you can give it to them. Your entries don’t have to be long or detailed unless you want them to be. Write just enough to provide them with a snapshot of what you’ve been up to while they were gone.

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Get Together With Family or Friends

When your loved one is away from home, one of the best ways to pass the time is to get together with family or friends.  It helps if you have people to spend time with, especially in the evening when the day’s activities slow down. If you can’t get together, make some time to talk on the phone.

cope, missing, lonely, loved one

When a loved one is away from home, it can certainly be lonely. In order to cope in their absence, it’s important to stay busy. Remaining occupied with other things will help take your mind off of their absence until they finally return home.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Are you overwhelmed by the stuff in your life? Need some help getting started? Download my free Decluttering Tips and Checklist printables. You’ll also receive my weekly emails with even more content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Plan

Making the Most of Your Summer

By on June 8, 2017

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As a former teacher, I looked forward to being able to rest up and get things done during the summer. My husband works year round and I would spend the summers doing things around the house that were put off during the school year and needed work. To get ready for the new school year, I spent time planning out the new school year, lesson planning, rewriting curriculum, and attending training. Of course, we also spent a week or two on vacation.

Summer is a busy time of year. If you have kids, they may be little ones or have completed the school year, and the summer adventures begin. If not, you’re looking to get out and enjoy what summer has to offer. What activities can you do to make the most of your summer?

summer, summertime, summer activities

Get Outside

Swimming, bike riding, taking a walk, or starting a garden are activities that can get you outside during the summer months. Pick your favorite, or another outdoor activity, and enjoy the warm weather and the sunshine.

summer, summertime, summer activities

Read a Book

Whether fiction or nonfiction, summer sometimes offers lazy days that can be used to catch up on your favorite book or a book that you have wanted to read.

summer, summertime, summer activities

Farmer’s Markets

There are farmer’s markets throughout many areas. Take some time to go to one and soak up the atmosphere. Many farmer’s markets offer live music while you look around. You may even find some fruits or vegetables that would make a fresh addition to your dinner plate.

summer, summertime, summer activities

Garage Sales/Flea Markets

If looking for a bargain to use or repurpose is your thing, there are many garage sales, and flea markets to be found during the summer. It’s a way to add something new to your home without having to cost a lot of money.

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Festivals

Whether a music festival is your jam or an arts festival is more your style, there are plenty of festivals to choose from during the summer months. Get out and enjoy your favorite.

summer, summertime, summer activities

Museums

Museums are often a low-cost way to spend the day. Pick your favorite and start exploring. You never know what you may learn in the process.

summer, summertime, summer activities

Baseball Game

Whether it’s a major league game or a minor league game, it’s fun to take in the game in person. There’s always a lot of action off of the field, as well. You can satisfy your taste buds with your pick of your favorite ballpark food.

summer, summertime, summer activities

Day Trip

Planning a day trip allows you to experience somewhere that you’ve never been or revisit a place that you love. Choose somewhere that you can get to in an hour or two and spend time exploring the area. A day trip doesn’t have to be expensive. Instead of buying a meal when you reach your destination, pack a picnic lunch and find a park to spread out and eat. There are plenty of things to see and do that don’t cost a lot. Figure out how much you want to spend, including gas, before your trip and stick to that budget.

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Make the most of your summer by doing things that interest you. Whatever it is that you decide to do make sure to rest, relax, and enjoy all that summer has to offer.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Decluttering Tips and Tricks printable and a Decluttering Checklist printable. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize | Plan

Planning for a Move and a Free Printable

By on June 5, 2017

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My husband and I have talked about downsizing after our kiddos move out on their own later this year. The idea of packing everything up and moving it is overwhelming for sure.

Moving is a word that you either think of with excitement for the new journey ahead or dread because of the massive amount of planning and packing that you need to accomplish. Either way, the task ahead may seem daunting. How can you make your move go more smoothly?

It’s easy to get into the mindset of throwing it all into boxes and dealing with things after the move. It may be easier on the front end, but frustrating when you’re trying to unpack and set up your new home. Nobody wants to spend hours looking for the silverware. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, there is a way to plan your move and pack your items, so things go more smoothly once your move is complete.move, moving, plan, planning, organize, organizing

Planning Your Move

Planning and organizing your move is essential to helping things run smoothly. You should begin doing this as soon as you make the decision to move. Start by downloading and printing the free printable below and add the tasks that you need to complete. Click on the image of the Moving Planner to join and get access to your free printable.

Arrange the Move

Whether you hire a mover or opt to do it yourself, you need to arrange the date and moving company for your move. Once you have that set, you can prepare for the move itself.

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Pick Up the Items You Need

Using your moving planner, make a list of the things that you need to get to help your move go more smoothly. Things such as boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, and tissue or newspaper to wrap your fragile items are needed. Permanent markers are also helpful when marking boxes, so they are easily visible.

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Pack Up Your Things

While packing up your home, pack like items or items from a particular room together. For example, it is evident when packing up kitchen or bathroom items to pack the items in the same boxes. However, when it comes to items that are decorative, you can pack the items together in several boxes or put the decorative items from one room into a box so they can go into the bedroom in your new home.move, moving, plan, planning, organize, organizing

Label and List

When you pack up your things, take the time to create a list of what is in each box. Creating a list may seem time-consuming, but it will save you much frustration later on. You can label the boxes with a room name and a number that corresponds to a page number in your list, or you can attach the list to the box itself. If you choose to do the latter, make sure that you cover the list completely, so it doesn’t fall off or get damaged during the move.

Purge Unused Items

Moving is the ideal opportunity to purge items that won’t fit into your new home or are no longer being used. You can either give away or donate things that won’t make the move. Doing this while you are preparing to move is better than moving the items and having to deal with them after you move.

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Whether moving is your jam or you dislike even the thought of moving, it’s important to plan and prepare to make you move go smoothly. When moving, take the time that you need to create a seamless transition from one home to the next. It will be worth it in the end.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Decluttering Tips and Tricks printable and a Decluttering Checklist printable. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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Organize

Keeping Things Fair When Dividing Up an Estate

By on June 1, 2017

My family recently had to divide up my parents’ belongings so their home could be listed and sold. It was a long and stressful process especially when most of the work happened on the weekends after working all week.

At some point, you may have to sort through a loved one’s home to settle an estate or obtain the financial means necessary to care for a family member that’s in long-term care. It’s not an easy or quick process especially when memories are attached to many of the items. It also becomes more increasingly difficult when multiple siblings or family members are also vying for the same pieces with memories of their own. Is there an easy way to approach this? Not necessarily. There are some ways that you can make the task more tolerable for everyone.

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Determine a fair and equitable system

Before you begin, establish a system of dividing the items that everyone believes is fair. Dividing items will become increasingly more challenging with things that are in contention. Determining your method of attack ahead of time can help alleviate hurt feelings that could happen during the process.

estate, family, dividing assets

Hire an appraiser

One way to keep things fair is to hire an appraiser to give you a value estimate of specific items. The higher priced items can be chosen from at one time, or put in a group with other like items. It will also help when it comes time to record the things that you have taken from the estate, along with their value. Jewelry items will most likely need to have a separate appraisal.

Group like items

Grouping like items together before you choose allows you to see everything that’s there and make your choice(s) accordingly. Instead of grouping all Christmas, ornaments, and cookie cutters together, do the Christmas items in one group, the cookie cutters in a second group and the ornaments in a third group.estate, family, dividing assets

Take turns picking

If your sibling/family member picks first on one group of items, they will move to the end of the rotation on the next group of things. Taking turns allows all siblings or family members to have an opportunity to choose first, second, third, etc.

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Keep track of your items

It is important that you keep track of the things that you take from the estate along with their value. If the appraiser didn’t value an item, you could look it up online to see what it the value is. Keep a record of the items as you get them, so you remember what you have, and it isn’t an overwhelming task once everything is complete. When the estate is settled financially, you can equal out the amount for everyone based on the monetary value of the items they took.

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Sorting through and dividing up an estate is not an easy task. It also becomes more increasingly difficult when family members are vying for the same pieces. Work from the beginning to keep things as fair and equitable as possible, so there aren’t hurt feelings in the end.

Until next time,

P.S. – I need your help. Could you take a couple of minutes and fill out a quick survey about our blog, Living a Simplified Life? Thank you so much! I truly appreciate it. You can access the survey here.

P.P.S. – Keep in touch with Living a Simplified Life: Our email offers a behind the scenes look at the blog, and a peek at my personal life. It includes content and printables that you won’t find on the blog. As a thank you, you will receive a free Decluttering Tips and Tricks printable and a Decluttering Checklist printable. Sign up to get our weekly emails, so you don’t miss anything.

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