Do you receive gift cards via email? I suggest creating a digital file folder labeled “gift cards”. Move them into that folder immediately. Do you get gift cards? I recommend creating a place in your office to keep them. It can be in a drawer, file, cubby, any container but put them all together and only in that spot. You may want to put them in your wallet immediately. I’m using the word immediately a lot but we had a gift card snafu happen in our family a couple of times and let’s just say it was a pain in the rear!! Don’t let this happen to you. You might be saying, “If I file them away I’ll forget I have them.” If you need them out keep them together but in a place you can see them: a couple of ideas are in an envelope tacked to a peg board or simply add it to your calendar as a future To Do: use my gift cards.
I find many unused gift cards when I’m organizing my client’s homes. Some of them expire so act sooner than later. The same goes for Gift Certificates. I sell Gift Certificates for my services and I put a 1 year expiration date on them. Contact me via phone or email to purchase a unique gift for someone this year. Services include: Daily Money Management, Professional Organizing and Senior Downsizing.
Gifts or Experiences
If given the choice I would choose experiences every time. This year my family is meeting in Washington D.C. for a couple of nights; then we are headed to New York City. We will exchange small priced gifts this year….NOT CLUTTER!!! We ask our kids and family what they want or need for Christmas. The last thing I want to do is give something to someone that is going to become CLUTTER. You may not be comfortable asking what people want. Why not give a gift card to their favorite Restaurant or Movie Theater? I love buying food and goodies from Trader Joe’s, Earth Fair and Fresh Market.
My best friends do a White Elephant Exchange every year. We have a party and always have a blast opening the White Elephants Gifts. I have 2 parties every year that does a White Elephant Exchange and they are so much fun. We save a lot of money this way and we get to spend time together which in my opinion is the best gift of all.
I hope you have a wonderful Holiday with your loved ones.
Most people do not like the word budget. Budgeting is associated with restriction and deprivation. Why would anyone want to follow a budget…right? Budgeting can be viewed as an awful experience or a liberating choice. Especially if you want to pay off debts. It takes a lot of discipline to follow a budget.
I think parents have a strong influence on their children’s financial viewpoint. Lifestyle choices and financial philosophy towards spending versus saving impact our children. My mom, Pat, paid cash for cars; she did not finance. Pat was frugal; she had to be, living on a Teacher’s salary in Louisiana. She shopped at Thrift Stores and did not buy a lot of stuff. She bought good quality furniture and our house was always neat and tidy (shocking I’m sure!). That was after my mom and dad divorced. My father, John, was the opposite—he was a Hoarder… he bought and kept lots of stuff. I’ll never forget that he purchased all the King Tut items from the New Orleans Museum of Art Gift Shop when the King Tut exhibit was there. I’m not exaggerating and unfortunately someone stole the items out of our home.
However, my dad taught me to pay bills when I was only 8 years old and he created a game: Transaction, that was sold to Colleges and Universities designed to teach college students or any adult how to “play” the Stock Market. He was an Inventor and Chemical Engineer. He also was a good delegator teaching me how to write checks, it was an important lesson. Little did we know that I would use this skill in my own business: Financial Organizing and Daily Money Management Services. I try to convince my clients to let me pay their bills electronically but if they are not on board with this idea, I fill out checks for them.
My parents had differing philosophies about finances and my husband’s parents were not the greatest financial role models. My father-in-law, Jerry, did not save any money for retirement and my mother-in-law, Susan, did not save enough. My husband, Karl, did not receive the financial education from his parents that he should have and schools did not teach Financial Literacy. My son, Connor, is a Junior in High School and his favorite class is Financial Literacy an Elective. I strongly believe that this class should be mandatory not an Elective. Everyone needs to know how to manage their daily finances, if they want to be successful in life.
I handle the financial duties in my household: paying bills, reviewing Credit Card Statements, Investment Statements, monitoring cash flow and renewing Insurance Policies. I have set us up with two Budgeting websites: Mint and Personal Capital. I prefer Mint for two reasons. 1) they have a tool that compares your spending with people of the same financial and age demographics. 2) Personal Capital has one of their Financial Professionals call to review options for Investing with them. I told them to take my name of their list and luckily, they have not called me sense. Both of these websites are free.
If you know that you will not follow a budget or maybe you are lucky enough that you don’t need to, I still recommend putting together a financial worksheet which includes:
This will show you the big picture: what you are earning versus expenditures. You also may be surprised by a few discoveries for instance how much money you spend on Starbucks Coffee or your local haunt… Jittery Joe’s where I live, lunches, or clothing. It’s never a good idea to bury your head in the sand when it comes to your hard-earned money. Knowledge is power. You can make informed decisions about spending and saving once you do this extremely important exercise. When you complete the above exercise, you will have the information you need to make a budget; if you choose to. Remember budgeting can be a positive experience and enhance your life significantly. When you take charge of your finances you decide where you spend your money.
I was Broke Now I’m Not, IWBNIN, is a great website with free budgeting tools and excel worksheet. According to I Was Broke Now I’m Not: “A written spending plan for your money (or a budget) that includes giving, saving, and spending is critical to achieving financial freedom. There is nothing more powerful than planning your spending BEFORE any of the money ever shows up and BEFORE the month begins.” IWBNIN lists these reasons to start a budget.
5 Reasons why budgeting is important
In addition to I Was Broke Now I’m Not, there are many Personal Budget Websites and Apps that can help you create and monitor a budget. Here are two that are very popular Mint and YNAB, You Need a Budget. Mint is free and YNAB has a small monthly fee. However, if you want to reach savings goals and get very detailed on your budget, I would use YNAB. Nerdwallet is a great website to research everything financial.
Do you want help creating a budget and/or setting up Mint or another program? Simple Solution Organizing LLC can help with this process. We are passionate about helping our clients achieve their goals.
Daily Money Manager, Professional Organizer & Downsizing Expert
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
Digital notes are a great way to organize information that you want to keep. My philosophy is don’t hold onto post-it-notes or random papers unless you are storing them in an organized way. If you know that you will not be able to locate the notes or papers that you are keeping then why keep them in the first place? It only helps you if you can retrieve it when you need it. Apple does allow you to search for words in your notes making them easier to find. Just scroll down in your notes section at the very top and a search bar will appear. I’m not familiar with other phones.
If you want to keep track of Ideas, Books, To Do lists (when traveling or when you don’t have your favorite Planner or Notebook with you) and your current system is NOT working, then give this a try. Think of each note as a file or notebook. Label each note appropriately. Here are a few notes that I have:
You can easily share notes by pressing , then choose how to send your note (text or email). You can also collaborate on notes in iCloud. I hope this motivates you to start using digital notes in an effective way.
Chief Executive Organizer
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
June / July 2019
Financial Elder Abuse on the Rise
Elder Abuse is a serious problem. According to the NIH, National Institute on Aging, 1 in 10 people age 60 and over will be the victim of Elder Abuse. There are many forms of abuse: Physical, Emotional, Sexual, Neglect, and Financial. As a Financial Organizer/Daily Money Manager I witness Financial Elder Abuse with many of my Clients. Some examples are fraudulent credit card charges, renewing subscriptions years in advance, and Private Caregivers taking thousands of dollars from their client (before I was working for them). The NIH website highlights stories from real people who have suffered abuse. Sometimes children take advantage of their own parents.
Someone I know (they did not want to be identified). We will call her Martha (not her real name), is a 79 year old woman who was living independently and has recently moved into Assisted Living. Martha, gave thousands of dollars “loaned” just under $8,000 to a man who was helping her with computer coaching. Martha paid him about $1,200 a visit on 7 different visits. Martha’s sister who lives near her found 7 sheets of paper that had his name, address, and the details of the loan; stating he would pay her back eventually.
When Martha’s sister Diane (not her real name) discovered the “loans” she took action. Diane is now Martha’s POA, Power of Attorney and she is listed on her checking account. Diane is handling all of Martha’s financial affairs now. Martha is being treated for Dementia. Unfortunately, most people are not proactive when it comes to this important area of their life. They wait for a crisis and don’t put preventative measures in place that may prevent problems from occurring.
However, there are no easy solutions to problems like this. Everyone wants to have control over their own finances and I have not met any clients in my 16 years at Simple Solution Organizing that voluntarily handed this task over without their Physician, Family Attorney, or Adult Children encouraging them.
Credit Card fraud is a huge problem for everyone. Elderly people are more at risk because they may not be reviewing their credit card statements and may overlook transactions because they simply can’t remember. It is so important to review financial statements immediately. One of my client’s credit card was compromised by someone who spent thousands of dollars at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Another client had charges from YouTube TV and they use Charter. I asked if she had switched to YouTube and she said no. I called the credit card company immediately in both cases and had all the charges disputed. Charges were refunded since it was within 90 days of the charges. Credit card companies will not dispute charges, if you wait too long to notify them. If you have Elderly Parents or you are Elderly it’s time to take steps to protect your assets.
What are some simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones against Fraud?
Adele Gross, owner of Simple Solution Organizing LLC, has been background checked and has 2 Insurance policies: General Liability and an Accountants Policy. We are here to help you or anyone that wants help organizing their Daily Money Affairs.
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
Spring is a very busy season for Simple Solution Organizing LLC. We are prepping client’s taxes and their homes to go on the market. We are also working on several Downsizing projects. One of our Downsizing clients told Adele that her sessions feel like a massage. That the organizing and downsizing are therapeutic and it feels as if she had a massage. We love hearing Testimonials like that.
Adele Gross, gave a presentation to Athens Clarke County Employees for one of their wellness programs. It was one of their best attended presentations. The room was packed with women and 1 man, a very smart man.
I am sharing a blog post from Sarah Anne Hayes that she wrote in February 2017. This post is beautifully written. It describes the difference between Decluttering and Minimalism. This article will motivate you to do both.
Becomingminimalist shared this article and I am copying it from their website. These are great resources to inspire you to live a simpler life.
The Difference Between Decluttering and Minimalism
Decluttering. Simplifying. Minimalism. For a movement that’s focused on removing excess from our lives, we certainly seem to have a lot of words to describe ourselves, don’t we
The thing is though we often use words like “decluttering” and “minimalism” interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same thing.
I spent a good chunk of time decluttering my home and my life before I officially called myself a minimalist. I also know a lot of people who have decluttered their homes in recent months—many as a direct result of Marie Kondo—but would not consider themselves a minimalist and have no intention of becoming one.
It seems that one can declutter their home or life without becoming a minimalist, but one can rarely be a minimalist—and certainly not become one—without first going through the process of decluttering.
So what, exactly, is the difference between decluttering and minimalism? It’s pretty simple: decluttering is an action, while minimalism is a lifestyle.
What is Decluttering?
Let’s start with decluttering. After all, that’s where most people’s minimalism journey begins.
There are a variety of different reasons you might begin to declutter your home. Perhaps it’s because of a life change—you’re preparing to move to a new city, you’re getting married and need to consolidate belongings, or you find yourself no longer needing items you once considered necessary.
Your desire to declutter might also come as a result of a feeling or shift in perspective. Perhaps a parent or relative has recently died and, in the midst of sorting through all of their belongings, you realize that isn’t the kind of legacy you want to leave for your own children.
Or maybe, like myself, you simply find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of unnecessary stuff in your life and you feel a little bit like you’re drowning.
Regardless of the personal tipping point, decluttering is an action you take as a result. You might declutter a certain aspect of your life, like your closet, your home, or your schedule, or you might declutter all of the above.
A lot of people assume that decluttering is a one-time thing—that once you rid your home or your clothes or whatever from the unnecessary extras, you’ll never have to do the same thing again. And it’s true you might never go through a major declutter or purge again, but only if you maintain.
It’s in the maintenance that I believe many people transition from simply decluttering to becoming a minimalist.
A Change in LifestyleLike I’ve mentioned before, I decluttered a lot of areas of my life before I considered myself a true minimalist. And there are even days where I look around my home, still feel a little bit overwhelmed by the excess, and wonder if or when I’ll be a “real” minimalist (whatever that means).
I don’t know if anyone who begins to remove clutter from their life specifically starts with the goal of becoming a minimalist. It’s possible that is the case for some, but I think it’s probably rare.
Rather, what happens most often, and what happened for myself is that, as you travel down the path of decluttering and removing excess from your life, a shift in perspective happens.
You begin to see how much calmer your home feels without clutter and mess all over the place. You notice how much easier it is to choose an outfit in the morning and how much more confident you feel when you purge and curate your wardrobe.
You see how your heart and soul can breathe a bit easier when you narrow your commitments down to only the essentials. You recognize how much better your body feels and looks when you nourish it with simple, whole things. You find you can hear yourself think again when you choose to consciously consume by unsubscribing, unfriending, and unfollowing.
Sooner or later, these moments of clarity and revelation add up and you begin to see that the old adage “less is more” has some serious weight behind it.
You begin to see the possibilities open to you when your life isn’t always filled to overflowing. You begin to see just how much you were missing when life was packed full of unnecessary things, commitments, information, and ideas that added no real value to your life.
Becoming a Minimalist
It’s in these moments that I believe minimalists are born. As we remove the excess from our lives—no matter what area—we begin to see that a simpler, slower, quieter life offers far more lasting value than a life that never stops.
No one wants to live a mediocre life. Even if we all aren’t destined to change the world on a global scale, I believe, deep down, we all want to know that we didn’t waste the time we’ve spent on this earth. We want to know that we’ve focused on the things that have lasting value—family, friends, memories—instead of things that will fade away.
Sometimes I still feel a little weird when I tell people I’m a minimalist. If they’re in my home, they usually raise their eyebrows and not so subtly glance over at my bookshelf, which, admittedly, has a not-so-minimal number of books on it. If we’re somewhere else, I can see the images of what they think minimalism means floating through their head and all the ways I don’t match up to it.
But here’s the thing, minimalism isn’t prescriptive. There isn’t a formula and a right or a wrong way to do it. My minimalism, as a single, 20-something bibliophile, looks different than the minimalism of a married couple without kids, which looks different than the minimalism of a family with young children.
The important thing isn’t how you do it, what you keep, or the number of things you ultimately wind up with. The important thing is allowing that shift in perspective—fighting against the cultural message that the things you own represent your success, that you must be busy in order to be productive, that who you are and what you have will never be enough—and recognizing that the most important things in life were never things.
*Note — This article was originally published at Sarah Anne Hayes.
Chief Executive Organizer
Simple Solution Organizing LLC