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Procrastinating - Lots of Thoughts to Share

November 20th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

The weather is cold (not going outside)! and there is absolutely nothing to be done today.

I should be readying the house for T-Day, but I am procrastinating. As long as I get going by noon, probably have plenty of time to clean up the house AND work on some fall cleaning. (We picked up a bit last night - family is a great help - so not much left to do). I suppose that is the plus side. We were going to dinner at our neighbors, but they canceled due to sickness.

Oh yes, and we had wanted to go to the free museum day today but had changed our mind with dinner plans. I suppose I will look into that - there is a really cool exhibit going on - some "mad scientist" from the Bay Area - has all sorts of cool looking robots and things. We were thinking of just going on one of our days off from school/work, but might as well take advantage of the free day with no other plans. I am planning on getting a family museum membership, but our plan was to check out some of the free days and figure out the parking situation. If we never go because the parking sucks... So, it will be a bit of an experiment.

This is the kind of art that the kids can get excited about:

http://www.crockerartmuseum.org/exhibitions-collections/exhi...

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When it comes to the online blogosphere and such, I generally settle down somewhere for a period of time, and then move on when life changes. For example, I found pregnancy support message boards to be incredibly invaluable while pregnant, but didn't find what the community evolved into post-birth to be terribly useful. I am sure there was probably a lot of wisdom and tips to be gleaned in such groups, but the problem is you have to wade through the minefield of sleep-deprived hormonal new moms. NOT a pleasant experience. Wink Throw in the mommy wars, and I found the experience pretty useless. Beyond useless - it was a pretty toxic environment.

When I moved away from that and found savingadvice, I settled here and has definitely been a VERY positive experience. I have often wondered when I Would move on and where I would be taken next. I think it all started with "Small Notebook." I LOVE that blog and really identify with it on many levels. I find myself finding more and more blogs that are along the same lines. I don't think I had ever really thought about it, but a running theme in my own life is simplification. I find most people make things far harder than they have to be. I am ALL about the short cuts! & so I am really digging finding bloggers who focus on simplicity and love thinking about things in new ways and getting new ideas.

That said, I don't think I am going anywhere! No matter where I am in my financial journey, I am an accountant at heart. I have always delighted in organizing my finances, and I always will. I often go to work and can't believe how well I get paid for simply doing what I love doing. So, I don't think I am going anywhere.

But, I share because I have been linking more and more of these blogs to my website links, AND the more I read them and focus elsewhere, the less posty I have been. & I suppose that is my intro as I start to think more about how I do simplify things in my life, if there are any tips I can share, and I why I am excited to share new things I am learning.

Anyway, I read this old blog post this past week and thought it was fascinating:

The myth of doing it all: modern moms and hiring help

http://thehappiestmom.com/?p=3217

Love love love this article. It really made me stop and think about the cultural norms that are behind the attitude we have often gotten for our own personal choices when it comes to hiring help.

What kind of attitude?

A - our parents think it is TERRIBLE that we hire any help at all. We hire a gardener. Interestingly, our parents were always supportive of us hiring out childcare (as women who could not afford it - they realized we were incredibly lucky to be able to - better for both us and our kids).

B - From very frugal friends, we always got a LOT of attitude about hiring out daycare though my spouse stayed home. To me it was always a "What the hell is their problem???" kind of thing. Even though we stretched a bit to make it work, I wouldn't change it for anything. Towards the end I said specifically in this blog, "Why do people with HUGE car payments get so judgmental about such a practical, and so very temporary, expense?"

Ding ding ding - societal norms. Society says be in debt forever in your car, but only snooty/wasteful Stay-at-home people hire help. I was thinking that daycare help was much more pleasing for the soul than a brand new car. Big Grin

C - A friend of mind who is deep in debt, orders lattes every day, and goes to the salon endlessly, well her or her husband have made several "it must be nice" comments to us over the years, about the fact that we have a gardener.

Again - societal norms. Forget that they are paying WAY more on a monthly basis for simply salon visits. Hired help just has a much bigger stigma.

& what I realized thinking about this was that on every level, getting to think outside the box and look at things differently is so freeing. It really does make life easier to not to be so conformist. I have never had a lot of problem being different. But reading that post made me look at things a little different. I think next time anyone makes a snide comment about any decision to hire help, it will be easier for me to see where *they* are coming from. & maybe I know better how to reply to help open their own eyes. It's like I realized, but I didn't really realize. A bit of an *aha* moment.

So next time my friend makes an "it must be nice" comment (honestly, I think it is her husband, not sure she has ever said the same?), I think I will just smile and say, "yes, it is nice." What can you do?

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In other news, I made a new step in organizing in my house, after reading this post:

Clearing the �Counter Pile� with a Tickler File

http://simplemom.net/clearing-the-counter-pile-with-a-tickle...

I am a big believer in manila envelopes. I organize my life pretty much in manila envelopes, anyway.

BUT, when it comes to bills and stuff, my way is not overly organized. My method is simply this. I don't procrastinate. So, when papers come in, I send them back out. I either shred them, or pay the bills, or send back the school forms, or whatever. If it can wait a bit, I just throw it in a pile. The pile never gets very big, and I know where to find anything I need.

It works.

BUT, the idea on this blog post was to have one manila type folder for each month, and to file things away by month. So, if a bill is not due until January, I could file the bill in January, rather than leave it in a pile. If I have a form I want to take care of next month, I can file it away for next month. So simple, and yet so genius! I went one further and got out some folders for coupon categories and also labeled one for each kid. In the kid folders I put school stuff that I may need to reference, but didn't want to toss yet. Or stuff they may need next month, or later.

In addition, I put an envelope in each month to keep all receipts. Talk about a simple way to get mega organized. I will probably toss most the receipts once the month is over, but I too often have to ask dh what this or that purchase was for, or forget some purchase I made 4 weeks ago. So, this should help simplify.

So yeah, I organized all of the coupons into folders, too, by category. Our old method was a pile of coupons. I can't say it was working overly well.

I already put EVERYTHING on the calendar as a simple way to keep organized, so I find I didn't have to follow this tickler system to a tee. I just have to remember to check the folders every month, is all. I like the tip to put, say, wedding invitations in the month for when the wedding is. That is something that is generally sitting in a pile. We had a birthday we went to that we got the invite MONTHS in advance. So we just left the invite in the "pile" for many months. OF course it was on the calendar, but I just had no where to put the actual invite, aside from the "pile." Oh, that folder system would have been so nice for that. Big Grin

Anyway, read that link - it may change your life!

The funny thing was I had went to the store for manila folders a day or two before I came across that post. All they had was a set of 50. I probably only needed a few. I thought, "well, here is a lifetimes supply of folders," and just bought them since it was all I Could find. So I have suddenly found much use for all the extra folders.

4 Responses to “Procrastinating - Lots of Thoughts to Share”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    I too am always looking for the easiest/quick but effective way to do things. When we had the (gifted) maid service coming once monthly last year it was WONDERFUL. I did feel awkward at first - like "I know we can do this ourselves." I think one of the comments was something like "if the helper didn't do it, it just wouldn't get done." And I can see that. It gets done, just maybe every second or third month. I really think that once our cc debt is paid I will be looking to add house cleaning service.
    Re: your friend who says it must be nice to have a gardener. I would say, (not catty, just truthfully) "It's almost as nice as having my nails done twice monthly." Smile ----
    The folder idea is very good. Currently I have a drawer these papers go in. Invites, tickets and appointment reminders I pin to a little corkboard in the kitchen.

  2. Amber Says:

    I love going to the museum and also take advantage of the free Saturdays as well.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    Okay - the museum was totally awesome!!! Membership - done. We will go back to see this exhibit again, for sure. We also picked up a great doodling/coloring book for budding artist LM (Christmas gift from BM).

  4. scrappytappy Says:

    I have often mentioned to my hubby that I would like to have someone come in and clean once a month. Sweep and mop the floors, vacuum, clean the bathroom and kitchen appliances.

    We might do these things every other month, if we're lucky. I had someone tell me they paid someone $60 a month to come in for 3 hours and do all the big cleaning that I mentioned above. TOTALLY WORTH IT IMO. After I get my cc's paid off, I think I'll add that into the budget because I seriously dread doing that stuff. My happiness is worth $15 bucks a week!

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