Mama Says … It’s time to declutter your life!



Here is that de-cluttering system I was touting as the next best thing to sliced bread. (Speaking of bread, do you have your bread in a breadbox or in bags all over the counter?)

According to Mrs. Deniece Schofield, the organized homemaker, there are 6 basic rules of organization that apply in many circumstances (and some of these are great rules to abide by in human relationships), and not just when you are trying to tame the lion of messiness. These four are: 1) Think before you act; 2) Discard and sort; 3) Group; 4) Be motion minded; 5) Practice preventive maintenance; and 6) Use your accrued benefits (more on this one at another time).

Industrial and motion experts have estimated that workers are only 50 to 70% as efficient as they could be. Why, you wonder? Simply because they act before they think. Some people think that the time they spend planning could have already been used to get the thing they are trying to do done. If you are like this, can you think of a time(s) when you just went off and did something only to find yourself redoing it because what you did didn’t work out? I know I have. To me it is worth my time to think about what I am going to do and how to best do it. This has saved me a number of times from going back to the store for something I missed to tearing apart what was done and doing it the smart way. A person definitely does not save time (nor energy nor frustration) going about something without planning. (I can’t say I have become perfect at it, but I’ve gotten a lot better since taking the organization class and reading the Organized Homemaker’s wonderful book.)

Now here is the simple but effective way to clear up/out clutter. Determine what function each specific area of your house is going to serve. Do you really want electric saws and fishing gear decorating your bedroom? Ouch! Then work in 1 area at a time. Keep 3 boxes or dishpans in the area along with one large trash can. Our expert calls this the “four container method.”

I don’t like things being out of place once they are done being used. So as I go about straightening the house when I find something in the wrong room I immediately pick it up and return it to where it belongs. I usually try to return 2-3 items a time. Seriously, a waste of time on my part running back and forth. Well, hello Box #1! This box is meant to hold everything that belongs in another room. Sure saves time with the running back and forth. You can just take a friendly stroll replacing things directly from the basket to the area where they belong, and voila! you are done with that little chore.

Box number two is for those items that you want to give away or sell. Just be sure you get those donated items to the right destination in a minimum of time. If you have determined to sell the items, not a bad idea for a little extra cash, get to the swap meet or have that yard sale soon. What’s the point of de-cluttering if you are only going to have those items sitting around ad infinitum?

Box number three is for those things you aren’t sure what you are going to do with them. Should it stay or should it go now? Just make sure that you’re unsure box isn’t overflowing and you are keeping more things than you have gotten rid of.

Trash can – obvious. Perfect receptacle for the broken comb, last night’s candy bar wrapper, pantyhose with giant runs, etc. You get the idea.

The goal is not to just move things from one pile to another, but actually do something with the piles. And don’t forget the “year rule.” If you haven’t used it in a year or in two years maximum you most likely aren’t going to use it. Get rid of it. My instructor, Senor Acosta, was adamant about the year rule. I’ll be generous and give you a bit longer time.

I know that sentimentality makes things hard to give away. I am not saying part w/ everything. For example, several years ago a coworker who knows I am a chocoholic gave me the cutest little fondue set with a tea light to melt the chocolate, 4 dessert plates, and little tongs for Christmas. I had meant to use that a million and one times, but never did. So I donated it to our church thrift store. I haven’t seen that coworker in just about as many years so there was no point in me holding on to it. It can be done.

Trust me. You will feel so much better when you get rid of some of the excess. Your home will be neater and more comfortable to be in. You won’t be afraid to have visitors over. You will possibly make yourself some extra cash or at least bring a little joy into your life by giving your goods to someone in need. The added boon is you won’t have to polish it, clean it, dust it, etc. With all the pros involved what are you waiting for?


My partner in crime and administrator of our blog and I have come up with a tiny little column that offers quick and simple tips and advice. We decided to call it “Sugar and Spice Advice” after the name of our really fledgling handmade business. Please feel free to give us your tips as well. We do love to hear from our readers. We’d also appreciate it if you would share our blog with your friends and family. Muchisimas gracias!


Sugar and Spice Advice


water aerobic running


Water Workouts – That’s right. Get fit while cool-
ing off in the pool. Water has a natural buoyancy that
provides gentle resistance for your muscles. You can
build your strength without hurting your joints or back.
For a big girl like me that makes a lot of sense. It’s
also great for seniors, those with arthritis, pregnant
ladies, and those who don’t find running to be the
way they want to work out. And if you are still suf-
fering from the heat as we are in Cali, the pool is
ideal. So listed below are 3 exercises that target
various muscle groups.
CoreStrength – Hold on to the pool deck with your
back up against the wall and your legs elevated to
90 degrees. You’ll be in an L position. Swing your
legs slowly to one side and return to center where
you will bend your legs in and out and then swing
to the right. Do this 10 times w/o letting your chest
or lower back sag.
Shoulders – Raise your arms out to the side in a
horizontal position and then lower your arms for
10 reps. Raise them out in front of you and then
lower them for 10 reps. The resistance of the
water will not only help strengthen you but will
aid you in getting rid of those “substitute teacher
arms;” this was a phrase my daughter taught me.
The name applies to that loose, excess fat hang-
ing from the triceps area that jiggles when writ-
ing on the chalkboard.
Legs  – Hold on to the side of the pool with your
back against the deck. Bring your legs up so that
you are in the L position again. Open your legs to
a V angle and then close them for 10 reps. Good for
the hips and thighs. With your legs straight down do
scissor kicks for 10 reps. Good for you upper and
lower legs while giving the abdomen a work out, too.
(I don’t know if there is such a thing as “substitute
teacher legs”, but if there is, I’ve got them, and
want to get rid of them.
Working out in the pool seems like a cool idea
to me.

Brought to you by Sugar and Spice Designs, purveyors
of fine homemade items.

Mama Says … Let’s Talk About Time Management!



That class I took entitled “Get Organized and Have More Time for Yourself” offered some great ideas, but somehow I haven’t found more time for myself. I hope Senor Acosta, the instructor, doesn’t find out that I have failed the time management portion of his class. You won’t tell will you?

In the class we were taught that we need to carve out an hour a day for “me time”, or even more. An hour?  Sounds good, doesn’t it? On a rare day I manage it. Most days “me time” is a pipe dream. Why do you think it has taken me so long to write this blog article? It has been on my mind every day, but getting it from my mind to the keyboard has been a different subject. I love blogging and hearing from you all. So how come what I want to do is often pushed to the side in favor of the dishes, the laundry, taking the dog to the vet, and more? I am sure your lives are just as busy. It seems we are in high gear from the time our toes put the slippers on in the morning to the time we take those slippers off at night, crawl into bed, and die!

Why is that? Why can’t we find that precious time for “me?” It truly is as important to recharge our batteries and do what we want to for a bit as it is to make sure the batteries in our flash lights are working. We need to take care of ourselves and renew our spirits in order to take care of everyone who needs us. It’s that old thing with the oxygen masks on an airplane. In order to help your child you have to put on your oxygen mask first.

I am thinking that maybe I just need to start small with a half hour of “me time.” Surely, I can find that. I know I spend a bit of “me time” when I read my inspirational books and study my scriptures. That is very refreshing, I can honestly say. But what about time to read other books? What about time to blog?

I would be happy to hear how you find time for yourself. Share, please!

    I know that getting organized saves time in the long run. I am not a sloppy person. Everything has its place. However, I have learned how to save even more time in small ways. I got some of these ideas from Senor Acosta and some from a book I happened to espy while, guess what, working at the library bookstore? 

Senor Acosta said that we have too much stuff sitting around taking space and that clutter can drag us down. I think more people than him have said that. I sure know that clutter makes me crazy (crazier than I already am, right?). Are you keeping things you consider to be heirlooms or treasures that you intend to pass on to someone in the future when you are too frail to enjoy them? His suggestion – why not give them to that person now so they can enjoy it? Do you have things lying around the house that you haven’t used in a year (this is not referring to Christmas or Halloween decorations)? Are you thinking that maybe in the future you might need them? If it has been over a year, the likelihood you will eventually use “it” are mighty slim. Sell it, give it away to someone who will use it, or donate it to the Amvets, Deseret Industries, or Salvation Army Thrift stores. (I vehemently objected when he told to get rid of my book collection. Arrrgh! He didn’t believe that I will re-read the books. Ha! I have my favorites and as I read new books I pass them on if they don’t set me on fire. I am doing what I can, Senor Acosta.)

He really harped on developing a personal filing system that works for you. Are your warranties for appliances scattered around the house? Have you got your insurance papers in one place and your utility bills in another? Do you remember what is where? It may take some time in the beginning to get organized, but how awesome will it be to go to one place and find what you are looking for in a snap? Saves more time than scratching your head and rummaging through who knows how many piles.

When you are fixing dinner and you are looking for the lid that properly fits your bialetti pan do you have search a couple spots only to find it is shoved in the back of that endless cupboard? I have had that problem. What a waste of time not to mention wear and tear on the arthritic knees when you have to get down and your hands and knees and reach for that lid. Well, thanks to the writing by the Organized Homemaker there is a simple solution. Buy a dishpan or other container that allows you to store all your lids in one place. I did that and have my lids arranged from smallest to biggest. When I want a lid I just slide the container out a ways and voila! I can easily grab the one I want.
When putting the silverware in the dishwasher put the spoons together, the forks together, the knives, etc.  Sounds obsessive compulsive? Nope. You need a spoon for your cereal grab it right off from the dishwasher. Emptying the dish rack? It really does save time when you can put the silverware away in the right slots without having to sort them. Little time savers can add up to a little (more) “me time.”

The Organized Homemaker and my favorite house management lady, The Fly Lady, have an awesome way of de-cluttering and cleaning up. Will share that in the near future.

Honestly speaking, I know that working night shift is not conducive to “me time.” Sleep is broken up and not enough sleep time either, in my opinion. Sleep can be hampered by the usual noises made in the day, the sunlight, whatever. I know I am often very tired. So I may have a little “me time” but I want to spend it napping. I am optimistic that I’ll have more energy and more “me time” when I switch to the day shift. There will be a lot of adjusting, as well, but I’ll be sleeping at night. Hopefully, by sleeping better on a routine I will find more energy and I will find “me time” amongst the daylight hours. Wish me luck!

Blog You Later! Keep in Touch. We love hearing from you.
          (And I promise that I won’t let so much time go by before I blog again.)

Mama Says … Happy (Belated) Labor Day!


Originally written: Monday, 1 Sept. 2014


Happy Labor Day!!
Summer is over, right, or is it?

    The summer heat isn’t over yet. It will still be hot into October, at least, in Southern California. And there is always Indian summer back east, right? So, if we think of summer in terms of temperature then summer is still here. If you think about it in terms of the seasons then Fall is here as September is the first month of Fall. After all June, July, and August are the summer months. The traditional school year starts after Labor Day, so I guess some of the signs are indicating that Fall is here. (Many school districts here in Cali have year round school and many students started back to school in July.) But, that aside, traditionally Labor Day marks the end of vacations and the end of summer. Be that as it may, let me share some thoughts with you about Labor Day.
    How many of us grunt and groan when the weekend or vacation is over and we have to return to work? I hear it at work and I am sure you have heard it, too. If I am being honest, I myself have uttered those words, “Do I really have to go back to work? No. I don’t want to.”
You would think I would be immune to these thoughts after being laid off and out of work for 6 months. Everything came to a standstill. No money. Unemployment didn’t go far. Then it got cut off because I was honest on my paperwork that I was required to submit every two weeks. I got a tentative job offer from the County of San Diego but had to go through a background check and a physical. Because I listed that I was tentatively hired the unwise powers that be at the unemployment department terminated my benefits. It didn’t matter to them that the hiring process would take two months and that in the meantime I would have no money. (Ah, government bureaucracy and idiocy. Who hasn’t been touched by that?)
  So when I finally got hired and was happy with the work position and the company I was ecstatic! Finally, money for food and the mortgage and clothes and petrol for the car, etc. Truly I am grateful. Every now and then the “please don’t make me go back to work blues” hits me and I suspect I am not alone.
    It’s not that my job is awful. It’s just that sometimes being at home sitting on my big fat fanny reading a good book or taking a nice afternoon snooze is more appealing than work. I don’t have the life of Riley and I am not a millionaire so I must work. Honestly, though, I do enjoy my work a lot. Work is really a blessing and not for solely monetary reasons.
     Working gives you a sense of purpose. Work allows you to order your life. Work makes you put your skills to work and hopefully, work challenges your brain, your problem solving  skills, and your social abilities. Employment allows you to feel useful and needed. You can have a sense of pride in your job. There are so many gifts and blessings that come from being gainfully employed. It is a big bonus if you love what you do. I can say that I do.
     In light of the fact that it is Labor Day I have some tips courtesy of the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan. Did you know that your Labor Day celebration could bring you better health? Here are some of the whys and ways to celebrate the day and life in general:
    1) We would be wise to list our assets, the good stuff in our lives. Make a list of the things you appreciate about yourself. (Don’t even dare to say that there is nothing good about you. That’s a lie. Everyone has been blessed with gifts and abilities. It sure doesn’t matter if yours are different from other folks. Differences make the world go round. Think about one of my favorite quotes – How silent the woods would be if only the best birds sang. Amen to that.) It is okay to feel good about yourself and your abilities. Think about your artistic talents, your good penmanship, maybe the ability you have to make people laugh. List every quality that you value in yourself. If you write this list down, highly recommended by the way, you can reach for it to give yourself a boost when you negative inner voice starts putting you down. When you accept yourself you are better able to spread the goodwill to others.
    2) Give thanks. You know I have definitely written about this before. Sincere gratitude is a gift. You know that when you thank someone from your heart you have made them happy. They feel lighter than air. Everyone wants to be acknowledged. If you know how good it makes you feel, pass this blissful feeling on to someone else. Write a note to someone to tell them what a great job they have been doing on that work project. Thank you mail carrier when you see your mail being delivered. There are a million ways to give thanks to family, friends, co- workers, and people in the community. Researchers have discovered that saying thank you can boost you energy, help your immune system, and can even help reduce pain. How do you like those apples?
    3) Volunteer. Studies show that even if you can only give a couple of hours a week you can reduce depression and boost your spirit. What are you waiting for? Find a cause that is close to your heart. Do it on your own or get a family member or good friend to join you. The more the merrier. There are so many charities and causes out there that anyone can find some- thing that fits them.

    Yes, it is Labor Day. Let us be glad for this great country and the freedoms we have and the opportunity we have to labor. Work is noble. Things don’t get much better than this.
    Coming soon, I will be starting a journal on this site so people can keep track of our diet efforts and the ups and downs of life. I promise it won’t be some morose thing nor will it be filled with bragging about myself. On the contrary…    
    Till, then, Blog You Later!!

Mama Says … Are You Prepared?


California has its droughts (which we are in right now) and its wildfires (which we experienced just a couple of months ago. I had friends and acquaintances who had to evacuate their homes because the fires would literally in their back yards.) The Northwest has its rainstorms. The Midwest has its tornadoes and dust storms. The East has its blizzards and ice storms. The South has flooding and hurricanes.
     Have I captured an overall picture of the events across the United States that can put people in a state of emergency? Whoops! I just remembered another joy that Californians get to enjoy – earthquakes! Lately, it seems that Mother Nature is pretty upset as there are now the tremblers in other parts of this wonderful country.
     You know that I am not a doom and gloom person. I really am an optimist and love to see the glass at least half full. So then you may be wondering why I am listing some of the unpleasant weather conditions that we all experience instead of speaking of sunny days and picnics, etc. Well, because I know these things happen. When, I don’t know, but they will come. And I believe that if we are prepared the shock and trauma may be controllable.
     How do we lessen the fear and trauma? By something as simple as having 72 Hour Kits. Have you heard of 72 Hour Kits? Why 72 hours and not a week? Because the disaster experts have figured out that if you are displaced from your home in an emergency situation you will need 3 days worth of supplies before disaster services will be fully in place. In the meantime services may be spotty. There is a wonderful saying that goes like this: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”
    How do we make a 72 hour kit and what goes in it? Use a large backpack and have smaller ones for the children. These kits should be kept in a place where you can grab it quickly and carry it if you have to walk a ways to get to a safe location. The kits shouldn’t be hidden in some back closet with golf clubs, skis, etc. on top of them. My children and I have 72 hour kits that are in the rolling luggage that you see at the airport. Big enough to hold what we need and yet easy to pull instead of carrying something heavy on our backs. What you choose is up to you as long as it holds what you need and is portable.
     Before I forget to mention this, set a date every year to twice a year in which you pull out your 72 hour kits and go through them. I haven’t managed to be good at doing it twice a year, but at least we get them out and go through them the day after New Years. Adults and children can grow and change clothing sizes. Some of the food contents may need to be rotated, adding fresher items to the kit and using the items from the kit for snacks or lunches, depending on what you put in them.
     Pack clothes to cover hot and cold temps. Have you seen those reflective blankets that look like a sheet of tin foil but are flexible and fold up into little squares the size of a man’s wallet? They really do work to keep a person warm and water runs off them. You’ll need flashlights and extra batteries. A supply of medications for those family members who need them. A first aid kit. Pack $20 dollars in your kit and get pre-paid phone cards. (Why not your cell phone? Because what if the disaster has interrupted the electric supply? You won’t be able to charge your phone.) While you are at it tuck in some important phone numbers. When in an emergency situation everyone gets a little rattled and phone numbers may slip your mind. Lighter, matches, flares, a portable radio so that you can hear updates as they come in. (There are radios that can be wound up and then you don’t have to worry about toting extra batteries for a radio. We each have one. They weren’t that expensive.)
    Other items to include: a tube tent, 50 feet of nylon rope, shovel, sewing kit, whistle, and of course, duct tape. It does have a thousand and one uses! Food for each person and water purification tablets. The food can be in packages like granola bars5 or canned. Pick items that your family will eat. If your family members won’t eat Spam (and I agree with that) don’t put it in your kit. If they’ll eat tuna, put that it in the kit. Base your kits on your individual family’s needs. Hand sanitizer and a 2 gallon sized ice cream bucket, minus the ice cream, to use as a port-a-potty if you can’t dig a hole in the ground. Grim detail, but you have to prepare for anything.
      And if you have kiddies don’t forget baby formula, diapers, diaper wipes. (We call them butt wipes for short and even grown-ups might need these.) Take a deck of cards and some crayons and portable games. You might leave the hand-held Nintendo at home since it will run out of batteries in no time and let’s face it, batteries are heavy. You may have to tote them around until you find a safe shelter.
     Last but not least, important papers. Copies of medical info, birth and marriage certificates, SSNs, insurance, wills and up to date photos of family members.  If you should get separated it will be a lot easier for the rescue workers to have a picture of who they are looking for.
     This is by no means an exhaustive list. I just didn’t have enough room to list everything. You can contact the American Red Cross as they have plenty of info and recommendations for a 72 hour kit. Or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to send the info we have to you.
     So sorry I haven’t blogged lately. I guess I need to improve my time management skills. (I’m reading a book on that now.) Have a great week!
                                             Blog you later!! 🙂

Mama Says … Lend a helping hand



It sure is nice to be able to give to help others in need.

     It is past time to share another one of my favourite charities with you. This is something we all can do and it will only cost you postage.
     Have you heard of St. Jude’s Ranch  for Children?  It is an orphanage in Nevada that takes children in need of all ages, including teenagers. They run a really good program where the children receive schooling, clothing, a good place to live, and practical skills, such as learning how to earn an allowance or working with horses. I discovered them by accident when I was reading a book some years ago on charities. How to spot a good one. How to determine if the majority of the money is really going to the beneficiaries  or to employee wages and overhead. Even ones that can be supported with very little money on the donor’s part.
     St. Jude’s fits all three. Curious as to how to help? Let me tell you. Do you buy products with the “Box Tops for Education”?  Simply clip those, collect them, and mail them to St. Jude’s.  The box tops can be turned in for computer equipment, school supplies, etc. St. Jude’s turned the label into a van to transport the children. Pretty awesome, right?
     If you have school aged children you may be saving the box tops for their schools. That is cool, too. You can help in another way, though. Do you receive birthday cards, Christmas cards, or any other type of greeting cards? I am sure most of us do. Do you hate to throw them away but don’t know what to do with them? (You’re reducing clutter, remember?) Here is a chance to give them a second life and make someone else smile.
     The children at St. Jude’s will take your old greeting card fronts and make new greeting cards. They sell these and that is one way they earn allowance. One year I bought a set and they were really cute. Here’s what you do. Cut the front page with the picture off the card. Keep it in a large envelope. Recycle the rest. When you have a full envelope seal it and mail it. That’s all there is to it. There are two card brands they cannot take because of copyrights – Hallmark and Disney- so don’t send those. Also the inside front of the card cannot have any writing on it. (When I’d run out of room I’d write there, but since knowing the card isn’t usable when I do this, I write my blah, blah, blah on a separate sheet of paper.)
     You can always buy a set of the cards if you are interested. I honestly can’t remember how much they are, but I know I didn’t pay big bucks.

Ready to help? Here’s the address:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, Nevada

     Who know that helping others could be so easy? I really believe that giving to others makes the world go around. And you really can’t feel bad when you are doing right, right? Keep Smiling and Sharing !
                                          Blog You Later!
                                         PS – Thank you!

Mama Says … Let’s Talk About Saving Money



Saving money.

Doesn’t that sound like an impossible thing to do in this day and age? Many people’s budgets are strained to the max and somehow putting money aside for a rainy day or a vacation or college, etc. doesn’t seem feasible. I am here to tell you it is possible. Believe me, I am doing it. Now I am not saying I am putting away enough money for a summer cruise as that would be an out and out lie. But the point is I am putting a few bucks away each pay day. That is more than I have done in a very long time. (Or if I was a valley girl, “Like a way long time.”) Let me share a couple of things I have done or am doing plus some awesome ideas that I got from the debt management book I had been reading. (Debt-Free on Any Income by Lyle and Tracy Shamo.)
There is a very wise old saying, and one I predict most of us ignore than obey, that goes like this: The best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket. The simplest, maybe not the easiest, is to just hold off on spending that extra few bucks calling you from your pocket or wallet. One way to do this is not impulse buy. Think about your purchase for 48 hours and decide if it is something you really need or have to have then go ahead. If not, save it and you are already ahead.
Separate wants from needs. What do you need to survive and what would be an extra? I am sure that my body thinks I need that sack of Hershey’s kisses down on aisle 8, but my head and the scale know differently. I have to be strong and say “no” to the cravings, especially when I know that the few bucks I am saving can go toward petrol for the car or in the bank to earn interest.

But shopping is so much fun! I know that is what has gotten me into the deep doo-doo I am still mired in. Limiting ourselves does not mean don’t enjoy life, it just means be wise, trim the fat (which has so many meanings in my personal life), and think about the future.

There are a lot of TV lovers out there. My son loves movies and Daphne loves TV. So how then could I cancel cable? I canceled it and we are all still alive. You can get movies and TV shows on line. Even a monthly membership in a movie service is way less than the monthly cable fees. In actuality, it has given us more time together as a family, allowed us time to explore our talents, and there is less of a din raging in the house with the TV off. We actually found that we have more time by not sitting in front of the screen for hours. We have also become selective in our entertainment choices because we want the best for our time and aren’t just satisfied with whatever is airing at the time.
Canceling cable is not your idea of a good time? Maybe cancel one of the premium channels. That can save a few dollars. Or pass on that sack of Hershey’s kisses that is yelling out your name and put that money in your savings account. I realize that with inflation a penny saved is pretty insignificant, but what about $3.99 for the chocolate?

Do you have an affinity for crafts? Do you knit? Are you good with a jig saw? Why not turn your craft into a secondary income? Just think, you can make some “pin” money (another expression of my father’s) doing what you already enjoy doing?

Daphne and I have literally just started an independent business called “Sugar and Spice Designs.” We listed our first item on ETSY a couple of days ago. We are making greeting cards from scratch. (Darn cute if I say so myself.) I also knit beanies, make hand-poured soap, and bath salts. In the past I have sold quite a bit of these items, except the cards. Those are a new venture for us. Why it has taken me this long to start selling again, I can’t say. Probably the old proverb applies, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” We are thinking of hosting a little party featuring our products and serving some homemade goodies.

Let me share some money saving tips with you that I gleaned from the above-mentioned book.

1) Drive at a safe and reasonable speed and avoid fast starts and stops. Believe it or not you can save as much as 50% of the energy needed to run your car.

2) Running the air conditioner is more fuel efficient that driving with the windows down. (My children will be happy to hear that. I can’t stand using the car AC thinking it costs more.)

3) Slow down. By reducing your speed from 70 mph to 65 mph you will save $5 for each hour of driving and about $10 if you drive a truck or SUV.

4) Donate things you are no longer in need of or have not used in 1 -2 years. (That’s the rule for clearing out clutter, so say the experts.) Donate books to the library for resale. The money raised helps library activities. Donate clothing and household items to a thrift store like Deseret Industries, Salvation Army, or Good Will.  Estimate the value of your donation based on what a thrift store might charge. Get a receipt and you can deduct the value from your taxes.

5) Get a little exercise at the supermarket. Look for items above and below eye level. Sometimes you will find the best deals there.

6) Buy small gifts at the dollar store.

7) Remember those old Christmas Clubs at the bank? My parents used those faithfully. My siblings and I were blessed to be spoiled at Christmas. Banks may not offer them now, but set aside some money just for Christmas. Open a savings account and leave enough to keep it open for next year when you are done making your purchases.

8) Maybe the best advice yet. Be happy with what you have. An incredible amount of time and money is spent trying to impress other people who don’t really care. Be grateful and happy for what you do have and enjoy it. Remember the famous adage, which is quoted frequently around our house, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

It isn’t easy always to tighten the belt buckle or the purse strings, but think about the fact that you are living within your means. The weight of debt on one’s back and mind is very costly. Avoiding debt is a great stress reducer and a formula for peace of mind.

Blog you later!