The following is a guest post written by James Lander Couponing.com.
Our modern lives are fast-paced, frenetic, and chock-full of distractions. Eat, sleep, work, play, shop, sell—it’s all too easy to lose control of yourself (and break the bank in the process!) in this wild whirlwind. But if you put a little effort into keeping organized, you can save some serious money and mold your lifestyle into a much more manageable form. Here are some tips and tricks for organizing yourself rich:
Reuse, repurpose, recycle.
Get in the habit of using recycled containers to organize the items that clutter your living space. Not only will keeping things in order make them easier to find and make you less likely to buy an unnecessary replacement, but utilizing the used boxes and packages you already have will save money and the environment! The possibilities are practically endless:
- Store rarely-used clothing in two-part produce boxes in the attic.
- Pack picnics or school lunches in yogurt containers—no need to buy expensive Tupperware!
- Use cardboard boxes that held bulk water bottles to recycle newspaper.
- Baby wipes packages can hold children’s construction toys.
Carefully plan your routine shopping trips.
Figure out what you need to buy before you’re at the store, avoid impulse buys, and make detailed grocery lists. If you find a sale item that could replace one of the items on your list, go for it!
- Start saving coupons from your local paper or from other sources. Do a little research on the now-popular practice of “couponing” and the internet- and smartphone-based apps that make it easier.
- While planning your shopping excursions, try to save on transportation costs and time by consolidating. See if you can get everything you need in a single weekly outing!
- If you aren’t already, start keeping track of your finances. Think about what you buy; avoid spending money willy-nilly.
- Try recording every purchase you make in a physical notebook or in Excel or Google spreadsheets—save the receipts for large purchases in a safe, accessible drawer.
- Once you have some spending records and you can see where your money generally goes, try setting up a realistic budget for yourself—be careful not to limit yourself too much, especially with necessary expenses like groceries. You don’t need to starve in order to save money!
- Try a computer-based financial organizer like Mint (https://www.mint.com/) or Quicken (http://quicken.intuit.com/)
- Organize or join sharing groups and co-ops—we spend huge amounts on items that can easily be traded and shared; combat this money sink by finding an exchange network, or start your own! Set up an entertainment exchange: create a list of owned, shareable items (videogames, movies, board games, etc.) with a handful of other families or individuals. If the group wants a new title, you need only buy one copy for all to share—rotate from family to family or person to person for new purchases
- Share useful but not-always-needed items like power tools, kitchen supplies, and yard equipment. Again, make sure to keep a list and set up an agreement for the duration of exchange/borrow periods.
Keeping your living space, your schedule, and your finances organized can save you a great deal of money. When you’re in control and you have a clear picture of what you already own, you’ll be far less likely to give over to excess and buy unneeded items. Organize your way to a frugal, balanced, and happy lifestyle!
James Lander writes for the consumer saving site, Couponing.com, which provides top retailer information and tips for entering the world of couponing.
Be sure to check out our other great tips for getting organized on a budget.