Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Organized Simplicity: Week 3 in Review

Happy Independence Day!!

A few thoughts on a few key points made in this week's reading:
  • "Simple living is a state of mind.  It's a choice to not let the consumer-driven culture dictate how you live, what you invest in, and how you spend your valuable resources." (Chapter 5, pg. 69) --The same could be said for the Christian faith, no?  With both simple living and Christian living, it's a choice to go against "what everyone else is doing" and make the decisions that are right for your family.
  • "It is infinitely easier to practice simple living when you don't have any debt." (Chapter 5, pg. 70) --Amen and amen!  We have been debt free now for several years, and the feeling of paying off that final debit is priceless!  Knowing each month that every dollar of our income is assigned a specific place OF OUR CHOOSING is most certainly more simple and so much less stressful than deciding how much will be paid to which particular place that owns us because we owe them money.
I talked briefly about my personal home management notebook the day of our workshop.  Mine is modeled after Tsh's, but personalized to make it work for me.  I cannot emphasize enough how important I think it is to figure of some sort of home management notebook or system that will work for you.  Having everything in one place will reduce your stress greatly and will greatly simplify the daily workings of your home.

For a few years, I kept mine in a 3-ring binder, which is nice if you aren't sure what all you want to have in your notebook.  You have the flexibility of adding to or subtracting from the notebook or system based on your needs.  After a few years of fine tuning and tweaking, I felt like I had the contents of my notebook pretty well refined, so for this year's planner, I had it bound at Office Depot.  I have loved having it bound, and the bound version is much more portable than the heavy, bulky 3-ring notebook I had been using.

The sections for my home management notebook include:
  • Daily planning page:  This is a laminated page that is similar to Tsh's daily docket that she refers to in Chapter 6.  I chose to go the laminated route so that I could erase and reuse the same sheet day after day rather than using a new sheet of paper everyday.  It's worked well for me.
  • Calendar:  I make my own calendar pages in Excel with one week per page.  I've done this for several years and was prompted to do so because I could never find a planner that suited my needs like I wanted it to.  Each page has a small monthly calendar at the top, the seven days of the week, with space for menu planning and notes each day, and an overall notes section at the bottom of the page.  You can also find templates for planning pages here on the Microsoft Office templates page.
  • Notes:  This section just has sheets of pretty paper (I like dressing things up!) that I use for anything I need to take notes on (i.e. plans for family vacation, birthday party plans, Christmas gift ideas, etc.)
  • Finances:  I have a copy of our budget in this section as well as some notepaper to make notes on other finance-related things.
  • Misc. Lists:  This section is just what is says--various lists, including a list of important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc), a form where I keep my internet passwords for various websites, shopping lists for when we go to Amarillo, and such.  Next year I plan to combine the Notes section and Lists section--there is some redundancy there, and I sometimes get confused as to which location I've used to make note of a certain thing.
  • Homeschool:  This section is for all things homeschool-related (co-op notes, curriculum notes, etc)
For my dividers for each section, I used simple pocket folders and cut them in half.  That gives me a pocket in each section to place various notes, coupons, and other related items.  I made myself a cover sheet for my notebook and had Office Depot put a heavy cardstock sheet for the back cover and a clear sheet to protect the front cover.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have regarding my notebook--I'm happy to share my tips and ideas!

This week's discussion questions:
  1. What is your greatest challenge regarding money management?
  2. What do you see as the greatest benefit of being debt free (whether you've experienced it yourself or hope to experience it once your family gets there)?
  3. What will you include in your home management notebook?
Here's a reminder for the upcoming week's assignment (Week 4):
  • Read Chapters 7 & 8
  • Memorize Romans 14.19
  • Evaluate your home in light of your family's purpose statement.  Identify at least one change you feel needs to be made.
Have a great week!!  I look forward to hearing your discussions on this week's topic!


Nicole H said...

Just thought I'd check in! I've pinned the blog to my bar, and am writing a comment. I'm on chapter 3. Playing catch up from 2 weeks of camp! Aaacck! Who can get organized when they are under piles of bills and laundry! I'm working to get back to "normal" (only to turn around and leave again for 2 weeks next week!) but hope to catch up here before I do leave, at least so that when I return - maybe it will be organizationally simpler to return! :)

Clydene P said...

I so agree that we have to choose to live simple, the world is always pulling in so many ways to do this or buy that, but the reward of simple living is so worth that choice we make. We have several missionary friends leaving for the field right now, that have told me how liberating it is to go through and only take the things they really need. We even talked about it the other day when Colorado Springs fire was going so bad, what we take, it was amazing how few things we really wanted and needed!
Our greatest challenge is staying focused, and not listening to the worlds lies. At the same time the Lord has laid a missions trip on our hearts and some big missions projects to take part in, so this is encouraging us to become debt free, and stay focused. Christmas we will have the car paid, and 48 months until the house is paid, if the Lord doesn't pay if off earlier.
I have a huge dry erase board by my fridge that I put all the importatnt events for the week on, and also my lists of things I am needing to be done. I keep all of my finances on the computer so they are easy to update. Then my planner has my calender/to do list/ and notes in it.

Anonymous said...

One of my kids told me this morning that I should live a simpler life and do all the laundry by hand. Not sure they quite understand simplicity.

I think my biggest challenge with money management is time management. When things are busy and crazy, I don't have time to make my monthly budget and I don't follow it.
Being debt free brings a measure of peace and a freedom from fear. When things are tight, I don't have the worry of the mortgage or the car payment. Once you are completely debt free you look at purchases thru a different lens. I wouldn't trade my small house, cramped as we are, for a mortgage any day.