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Organizing

Erin Condren Address Book Review




Erin Condren Address Book Review

– This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you purchase the product or service through the link, which will help support this website –

I always wanted to get the Erin Condren Address Book. When I placed my last order with EC a few months ago, the address books were not available. I think they were being re-designed. Fortunately, they were available again this month when I ordered my EC planner. I am very happy with the way the address book looks and excited to use it. Here is a quick review with lots of pictures.

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Erin Condren 2018 Planner review

Erin Condren 2018 Planner review

– This post may contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you purchase the product or service through the link, which will help support this website –

I just received my new 2018 Erin Condren planner and I am soooo excited about it. Here is my Erin Condren 2018 Planner review. Last year I ordered the vertical layout in neutral colors (Erin Condren 2017 Planner review). It was the first year the planner was available in a black & white theme. It was great since the pages could be decorated with any colors you  wanted and it looked great.



This year I decided to go with the vertical layout and the colorful theme. I really like the new “painted petals” design and think it looks great in color (see pictures below).

If you are interested in ordering own planner from Erin Condren, please use my referral link to receive $10 off your first Erin Condren Order. I will also receive a $10 credit to my account

Planner Overview

As mentioned above, the new design for the planner pages is called “painted petals”. I ordered my cover in the same design so everything matches great together. I personalized the cover with my name on it but keep the standard platinum coil. You can order a black, rose gold or golden coil for an extra charge. There are many different cover designs available and many can be customized with your own colors and pictures.

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Plan with me – Weekly Sticker Kit for Erin Condren Planner

Plan with me – Weekly Sticker Kit for Erin Condren Planner

– This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you purchase the product or service through the link –

 



Hi everyone, here is a plan with me of my recent weekly planner spread. I am using the Erin Condren planner and the sticker kit is from my Etsy store.

If you are thinking about buying your first Erin Condren planner you can use my referral link for $10 off your order and I will receive a $10 credit on my account.

planner start

This weekly sticker kit comes with 6 sticker sheets. It includes the most common stickers for your planner.

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My new Monthly Erin Condren Planner

My new Monthly Erin Condren Planner

– This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you purchase the product or service through the link –

My new Erin Condren Monthly Planner arrived today and I can’t wait to set it up and start using it. I will use this planner solely as a budget book where I will enter my income and my expenses for each month and record important financial information. There will be a separate post on how I will set it up, so please check back soon.




In this post I will show you some of the different pages in this planner.

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Meal Planning Made Easy – 5 Easy Steps

mealplanning1Meal Planning Made Easy – 5 Easy Steps

I have been keeping track of our expenses for the last few months using my printable worksheets. It is great seeing where all the money goes but also a big eye opener on how much money we are actually spending (wasting).



One of our biggest expense is food, this includes groceries and dining out. We have consistently spent about $1,300 each month. We are not a large family and knowing that other families only spend about $500 – 700 on food each month, our grocery budget needs to be at least cut in half!

I know there are certain factors that led to the high spending. My husband and I are both working full time, often stopping at the grocery store after work to pick something up for Dinner. Because we didn’t feel like spending a lot of time cooking once we got home, we usually pick up something that was already prepared or just needed to go in the oven. Oh, and don’t forget the snacks! We are eating out a lot on the weekend or before/after our son’s Hockey practice during the week.

Next month I will try to cut our grocery budget to $700. That would be about $600 dollars in savings!!! Wow!!! That is a big motivation to plan my meals ahead!

Step 1: Download printable meal plan layout

I believe the best way is to plan your meals ahead for the next week or even month if you like. This shouldn’t just include dinner but also breakfast, lunch and snacks. You can download a free printable layout here that will help you plan. I will be using it for my meal plan this week.  You can download the file here -> weekly meal plan

My meal plan starts on a Monday because I usually do my planning and grocery shopping on the Sunday before. If you would like to start your meal plan on a different day (many people start their week on a Sunday) let me know in the comments and I’ll upload another version of the file.

mealplan

Step 2: View local flyers for great savings

A good idea is to look at your local grocery flyers for items that are on sale and plan your meals around these ingredients. For example, if ground beef is on sale maybe have Spaghetti, Chili and Hamburgers that week.

Step 3: Write down meals for the week

Now it’s time to write down all your meals in the meal plan. As you write down the meals I would also write down all the ingredients for each recipe on a separate sheet and use it later as your grocery list. That way you won’t forget anything. You can download a printable copy of the shopping list here ->grocery shopping list

shoppinglist

Step 4: Keep favorite recipes

There are some recipes you might make more often than others. For these recipes I have a separate binder that I keep in my kitchen cabinets. I will post some of my favorite recipes in a separate post in the future. You can find the recipe printable file here -> recipes

 

recipe




Step 5: Cook ahead if you have the time

If you have extra time during the week or on the weekend, you can cook some of your meals ahead or prepare all the ingredients so when it’s time to cook you are not busy washing, cutting and mixing everything.


Another idea might be to keep a log of frequent products that you buy and prices throughout the year or just the regular price and sale price. That way you can see if the “sale price” is a good deal or not and if there have been better sales before. I have seen items that had a great big sale sign and when you looked closer it was only 2 cents off the regular price. That was for a $2 item. Many people would just see the big sign and grab two or more items because they are on sale.

On your recipe sheet you could write down the estimate price of the ingredient and calculate the estimate cost per serving. I know it seems like a lot of work but just focus on main ingredients.

Let me know if you have any other ideas

 

Simple Washi Planner Layouts – Erin Condren Planner

Simple Washi Planner Layouts – Erin Condren Planner

I have been using my Erin Condren planner for over 2 months now. I usually prepare my new layout on the weekend before the new weeks starts and fill out the fields as the week progresses.


Over the last 10 weeks I have accumulated over 125 rolls of washi tape. yikes! However, I did not purchase any additional planner stickers other than the ones that came with my planner. I am quite happy with just using washi tape for the layouts.

purple washi layout

This blog post will show some my weekly layouts. They usually look very similar but will have different colors and designs.

blue washi layout

I am thinking about trying to make my own stickers soon. It shouldn’t be to hard and I will make a post with instructions as well. The stickers will be great for kids sports schedules, bills to keep track off, pay days and TV shows for example. Something that is reoccurring. All I need to get is sticker paper and a color printer ( currently only have a black laser printer).

Sometimes there is a lot of white space left over when there is not much going on for day. I usually try to fill it with washi tape when the week is done.

flower washi layout

Using washi tape instead of store bought stickers is in my opinion a lot easier on the wallet. I was able to get most of the washi that I bought with a 40% off coupon. They come in tubes with 9+ rolls.


I like the tubes that already come with color combinations that match. It makes it easier to put together a great layout. As you can see there are various sizes of washi tape included.

washi tube

I have done a few layouts with only one kind of washi tape. There was this blue tape that I really really liked (below) but nothing else went well with it. I think it still looks great. Too many colors are sometimes too distracting.

Washi Layout plain

And another one that I had to do already for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ahead but so much fun to put together. Can’t wait to do a Christmas theme in December.

fall washi layout

You can see that I cut the tape in to flags or weekend banners. Sometimes it is a bit time consuming but worth it.

Click here for my Erin Condren Planner review and Instructions on how to create one of these layouts

 

Thank you for reading

 

Plan with me – EC neutral horizontal- Simple Washi Layout

Plan with me – EC neutral horizontal- Simple Washi Layout

I have had my Erin Condren Planner for a few weeks now and did my first weekly layout last week. It is a simple washi tape layout. I think it turned out well and I was able to track everything important that I wanted to keep track off. This spread only used Washi tape and some of the Erin Condren stickers that came with the planner. I am pretty happy with the layout and the white space.



There are many awesome “Plan with Me”s on YouTube and they just look amazing with all the different sticker kits, but I think it is not my style. I am probably gonna try it out anyways some time but there is something about covering up the planner pages with too many stickers. I enjoy using my different color pens and filling the white space the way I want to. Sometimes stickers don’t have enough space to write on, or the next week is already pre-planned but something else comes up. Do you remove sticker or cover them up with a new sticker?

This is my second week planning in my Erin Condren Planner. I have decided to take pictures for every step so you can follow along if you like the layout. There’s going to be a lot of pictures.

Plan with me – What you need

This layout uses only a few small stickers, different colors of Washi tape and Injoy Gel pens.

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This is what the blank pages in the planner look like. It is the new 2017 Erin Condren Planner in neutral style with a horizontal layout. 20160630_215200

This is the Washi tape that I will be using. It was bought at Michael’s and came together in a tube with other tape as well. The colors and patterns usually go pretty good together.

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These pens are the Inkjoy Gel Pens 0.7mm. They are great for writing on the planner pages as they do not bleed through. There will be some light shadowing on the other side of the page though. I like the way they write and the colors look nice. Since I won’t be using a lot of stickers, writing in different colors will help distinguish between different tasks or appointments.

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The other pens that I will be using are the Sharpie Ultra-Fine-Point Permanent Markers. These pens WILL bleed through the pages and are not recommended for writing directly on the planner pages. However, they are great for writing on stickers and Washi tape and come in many great colors!

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When I ordered my Planner, I also ordered these little stickers. They are great for categorizing different kinds of appointments or tasks.

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I found these tiny stickers at the dollar store. The sheets included many different designs such as flowers, hearts, stars, circles etc… Great for making the pages a little prettier 🙂

Plan with me – Step by step

Ok, now let’s get to the planning!

 

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First off, I put Washi tape along the top of the page above the days.

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Next I put the “Love” Washi tape between the last vertical fields and the lines at the bottom of the pages. This acts like a divider. Same goes for the small Washi pieces on the sidebar and for the weekend. I like to keep the weekend separate from the regular workweek because the differ from our regular schedules and routines.

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The next couple of pictures show some different design ideas you can add to your layout.

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I put some strips of Washi tape in some of the fields ….and cut Washi tape into flags. I also cut some little triangles to place into corners.

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Now here is were I am using the tiny little stickers I mentioned earlier. I used the circles and triangles because the colors went well with the other colors I used for my layout. The sections with the stickers will be used for lists or to-do’s. 20160630_224239



I added a banner for the weekend. The “flags” were also cut from Washi tape. I usually put the outer flags first, then the one in the middle and the other two in between. This will help placing them evenly. Originally I had cut out two more flags but there was not enough room.

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This is the final picture of my layout. It is hard to see but I also placed pink Washi tape on the two Washi pieces on the sidebar and above the weekend banner. The Washi is just pink and I will be writing “Weekend”, “To-Do” and “Meals” on them with the Sharpie makers.

I hope you like this weeks layout. The layout is pretty simple but offers a lot of functionality. It leaves room for anything you would like to keep track of without pre-determining what the fields are being used for.

Show me your designs – Tag me on IG @organizedandhappier

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Happy Planning

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

How to use a monthly budget worksheet

Free printable monthly budget worksheet

A great way to keep track of your monthly income and expenses are worksheets. The information can easily be written down and everyone can use them.



Worksheet

The worksheet that is featured in the post is the Monthly Budget Worksheet. It will give you an overview of your monthly income and expenses and how much money you have left at the end of the month.

There are 3 tables that focus on Income, Expense and a Summary. The income and expense tables are divided into budgeted and actual amounts. To better keep track of the actual amounts, a separate worksheet should be used for each category and filled out daily (free printable worksheet for that will be posted soon)

As you can see the expenses are divided into categories. I have listed the most frequent ones and left a few blank spaces to enter your own.

How to use the worksheet

First step at the beginning of the month is to enter your budgeted amounts. These amounts are estimates and do not need to be right to the penny. Rounded amounts in hundreds are good. Start with your estimate income. Let’s say $5,000 month. Obviously you do not want your expenses to be higher than your income. If you want to save $300 every month for example, enter total budgeted expenses at $4,700. Now allocate the $4,700 between your expense categories. You want to start with your fixed expenses such as Mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities and other bills. The amount that is left is your disposable income and can vary each month.

During the month keep track of expenses for each category. Enter them as purchases are made or keep the receipts in an envelope and enter them when you get a chance.

At the end of the month add up all expenses for each category and enter the amounts in the Monthly Budget Worksheet. By calculating the difference between the budgeted and actual amounts you can see if you over- or under-estimated your spending in the different categories. It might be necessary to adjust your budgeted amounts for the following month if they were way off. Or maybe you were shocked to see how much you are actually spending on fast food this month and try to cut spending next month.




The notes section is for anything you might want to take note of. Write down if you had any extraordinary expenses that month or additional income. Maybe you were very satisfied with your budget and spending that month and would like to do the same in the next month or if you were not happy suggest what can be done better in future months.

You can download this free printable worksheet here

 

 

 

1 – 2 – 3 …..get cleaning!

Who enjoys cleaning? Most people will tell you they’d rather do other things. I tend to “enjoy” cleaning when I’m in a bad mood. I’ll put on my headphone, turn up the music and forget about everyone and everything and just scrub and dust around the house like crazy, lol. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

Weekend are our big cleaning days. At least that’s when I do most of my cleaning. A lot of things during the work week get left for the weekend. It is usually a big catch up and pretty much repeats every weekend. I would rather do other things on the weekends than clean the house, especially in the summer.

I came up with a great idea for our family where we can all contribute to the cleaning and have a clean house for the weekend.

It is a simple idea and will work great with kids. You can turn it into a game or competition. It will not take a lot of time but will make a big difference!

  1. Pick a time of the day when everyone is available. For us it is right after dinner. We usually have an early 5pm dinner. You can turn up the music in the house or each person can listen to their own music.
  2. Decide how much time you want to allow for the cleaning. I think 30min is a good time. If you have smaller kids maybe 15min will work better.
  3. Set a timer for 30min (or whatever time you chose)
  4. Now let the fun begin! Each person will clean as much as they can in that timeframe. They can clean whatever they want. Scrub tiles, put laundry away, clean baseboards….whatever they choose.

Now think about it. For example, we are 3 three people in our household, that’s 1.5 hrs of cleaning everyday x 5 days/week that is a total of 7.5 hrs of cleaning!

Doing a little every day will avoid big clean ups at the end of the week. We have done it for a couple of days now and so far it seems to be going well. Will update in a couple of weeks……..

 

 

 

 

First post

I have decided to write a blog about making everyday changes in my life that will help me stay more organized, prepared and less stressed as well as giving me more time to spend with my family and friends.

This blog will cover areas of Cleaning, Cooking, Organizing and Finances.

So why do I feel like there is so much to do and I don’t get anything done?

I am a mom, I work full-time, I am a part-time student and I am  trying to keep the household . Nothing too crazy and I am sure a lot of you can relate.

It seems like there’s not enough hours in the day for me to get everything done. After work, I cook dinner, get lunches ready for the next day, clean up, maybe a load of laundry, spend time with my son and then it seems to be already bedtime for him. Once he’s all tucked in, it’s time for me to take out the text books and study for school. I usually try to go to sleep at around 10 – 11pm. Doesn’t sound too bad….right?

Until you see the piles of dirty laundry, piles of clean laundry that haven’t been put away yet. All the paper mess on my desk from stuff I haven’t got to yet and never mind those dust bunnies in the corner which our Golden Retriever is contributing to with his shedding. My kitchen cabinets are full of stuff and yeah…sometimes plastic containers might fall on you (just like in one of those commercials). Dishwasher is waiting to be emptied while the dirty dishes are waiting to be cleaned. And I could just continue and continue…..

I have noticed that I get moody and stressed out when I see all that stuff that needs to get done. I get overwhelmed and do not know where to get started and then end up doing nothing. Not helping the situation either.

I believe if I can get more organized somehow, have things prepared in advance, and stay on top of everything I can enjoy each day without being stressed out about everything.

This blog is not about giving you advice on what to do from someone that already has their life perfectly in order. This blog is just follows me along the way of trying to make small changes to be more organized and prepared. These ideas might be great or might not work out at all. It’s about trial and error but hopefully some changes will stay 🙂

I hope you will enjoy this blog.

Thank you for reading,

Melanie

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