Friday, November 30, 2007

Frugal Friday Christmas Organization Tip

This time of year I find my "to do" list getting very long. On top of the normal household tasks that are common, I have the added responsibilities of shopping for gifts (and finding the best deals possible of course), wrapping too many gifts, extra cooking and cooking with ingredients that I don't use and stock routinely (which means more grocery shopping, and sometimes at different stores).

The girls have extra activities in which they must be carted back and forth, sometimes bearing gifts or platters of cookies. We have some charity events that are important to us that require both time and resources. The girls have friends that they want to be involved in little gift exchanges. There is usually at least one movie that comes out that we all want to see.

We also have many family traditions that require both time and planning (special ornaments for each girls representing something significant that's happened in the year comes to mind). We make a Christmas picture every year in the same spot of the house and have a little decorative album that contains them all, one right after the other.

And we have extra visits with family and friends (some from out of town) so through all of this, the house has to be kept in a presentable condition. And it's almost a tradition to clean out the computer/play room and get rid of stuff that the girls no longer want/need to make room for some new things. And we have to find a new "home" for those things.

And trust me, this is the tip of the iceberg so to speak.


Okay, what does this have to do with frugality and what is my organization tip?

Well, I've posted before about how we keep our lives organized with a Wall Calendar that actually sticks to the side of our refrigerator. Starting in October, we keep 3 months worth there.

But that is for our daily lives and routine outside activities. There is no way I could put all of our Christmas activities and more importantly, all of the things necessary to make these activities go off as planned, on that calendar.

So...this year I've started using Print Free.

I wrote my huge long "to do" list and then I went to Print Free and printed up a December calendar. I "assigned" different tasks to different days.

This way when the girls have cupcakes to take to class on Tuesday the 3rd, I have already shopped for any special ingredients (because it was on the calendar) and baked them the day before. I know ahead of time what all has to be done and it has a day (or a portion of a day) assigned to getting it done.

How does this save money? Because I never have to run to the market at the last minute and pay $12 for dry, stale cupcakes, I can make them myself for MUCH less. I've shopped for the girls co-op teachers WAY ahead of time and have their little gifts sitting in a special spot in the pantry AND have it marked on the calendar when to take them to the teachers. So I never have to run out and throw money around buying last minute, overpriced gifts.

The calendar organization has already been a huge help this year. It's still a lot to do, but it doesn't feel overwhelming. I feel like I'm in control of what needs to be done. And when I'm in control, I don't have to spend as much money.

For more frugal tips, be sure to check out Crystal's Blog!


Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

By the time I got to the "tip of the iceberg" part I was TIRED for you!!! I second that big WHEW! ;)

That printfree thing is great!! Thanks for sharing. I was just handwriting my own last night - and not real happy with the results. This is so much better!!

Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

By the way = I keep meaning to ask and keep forgetting to: What's up with Camilla's blog? I saw her apology to her church and leaders, but now her blog is completely gone. Do you know if that is permanent?

My name is Michelle. said...

Alanna, I'm glad you like printfree! I found it a while ago and it's been great.

As far as Camilla goes, I have no idea. I don't really "know" her at all. I've just been a reader and very infrequent commenter on her blog. I saw her apology as well but had no idea she was going to get rid of her whole blog. I would probably write her if I had her email address, but I don't. I may actually try to find that...

I was really sad to see her site down. She was an inspiration to me and I miss that. But I do understand that she has to do what is best for her family. She owes me nothing. :)

Having said all of that, there are many times that I want to post things here but I just don't. Not a single person that I know in "real life" knows about this blog (other than my husband and daughters of course) to my knowledge. But I know that the internet has made the world a really small place and if I vented here about things that really SHOULD be vented about, I fear it would come back to bite me.

Anyway, just my ramble. If I hear anything, I'll certainly let you know.