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The Impact of Your Home on Your Finances PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti

Awhile back I received a message from a Twitter follower who replied to the post, “Is your home environment warm, comforting and expressive of who you are?”
The reader commented that he appreciated the sentiment, but asked how it relates to money management.  It’s a great question!  How does your home environment affect your personal finances? 
When your home is warm and inviting, you’re less likely to feel the urge to escape by going out.  Going out usually means shopping, dining and other forms of pay-for-entertainment which, are just distractions from the problem that you’re not comfortable in your own home. 
Too often, the reason people don’t want to be at home is clutter.  They’re overwhelmed by the piles and just want to get away.  Clutter is a manifestation of improperly spent money.  If the items purchased were truly wanted or needed, they would have a purpose and not be relegated to piles in the corner.    
If you find that you just can’t relax in your own home, and are looking for easy ways to declutter and keep it clean, RSVP for The Savvy Home Webinar. 
The webinar will focus on:
  • How to keep your home clean without giving up half your Saturday.
  • Simple ways to declutter without getting overwhelmed.
  • How to prioritize home projects and actually get them done.
Details for the webinar are below including how to RSVP. 
The Savvy Home Webinar
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
9am PST / 11 am CST / 12pm EST
Presented by: Melissa Tosetti
Hosted by: Financial Advisors, Karen McCanless, MBA and Meredith McCanless of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
This is an information seminar.  There is no cost or obligation to attend.


Small Space Organizing PDF Print E-mail

A few years ago I reviewed the book Small Space Organizing.  I just found out that the publisher is doing a "spring cleaning" promotion for it, dropping the Kindle price down to just $2.99.  

Whether you live in a small or a large home, there's information in this book that can make staying organized so much easier!  It's well worth the original price, let alone the $2.99 sale price. 

I've pasted below my original review to give you a taste of the material.  To purchase the book, just click on the link above.  Happy organizing! 


Small Space Organizing
By Melissa Tosetti

I am a big fan of small houses and often write about the subject.  Just some of the benefits of small houses include: 

  • Small mortgages
  • Small utility bills
  • Less cleaning
  • Less opportunity for clutter which has a way of expanding to fit the size of its environment

Admittedly, living in a small home does have it's challenges - like a lack of storage space.  Although the goal is to keep the accumulation of "stuff" to a minimum, the vacuum cleaner still needs a proper home.  Small homes can easily look cluttered if there isn't a place for everything and everything isn't in its place.

Small Space Organizing by Kathryn Bechen is the answer to the storage issue.  Bechen takes you room-by-room and offers easy to implement solutions for maintaining a well organized home.

In addition to being filled with ideas, she also includes plenty of resources at the conclusion of each chapter.

Much of her advice goes beyond storage, creating unique decorating opportunities like: 

  • Remove front doors of one cabinet and create your own coffee bar by housing your coffeemaker, cups and coffee there.
  • If you have room, paint an old dresser and use it as a kitchen island.  The drawers can hold dishtowels and cloths and you can mount your own paper towel holder and hooks for cooking utensils on one end. 
  • Lean an old wooden ladder against a bathroom wall to hold towels and add a bit of architectural interest.

For many years I've been putting into practice one particular tip she offers for the kitchen:  Buy large clear glass jars with lids for storing things such as rice, beans and cereals.

I use Mason Jars in a variety of sizes.  I can easily see when I'm running low on an item and my beans, pasta and rice no longer have the opportunity to break out of their containers and spill everywhere.

Small Space Organizing is a book that will remain in my personal library and be referred to again and again.  Consider picking up a copy for yourself.  Implementing the tips will transform your home no matter what its size. 

Taking The Torture Out of Chores PDF Print E-mail
By Mark Parker
I used to hate the dishwasher. You have to empty it and put away the dishes. You have to rinse the dirties and load it. Next comes the sink and counters. You have to organize, wipe and scrub. What a pain.

I also used to hate doing laundry. It was not so much the sorting and prepping, since boys can wash almost everything together. It was the folding and putting away. Ugh!

Then there was the killer: paying bills. It felt like it took hours and was an emotional drain. My bills were such a cluttered mess and it seemed to take so much time just to get them organized.

And then one day, I decided to see how long it really took me to accomplish these tasks.

And everything changed.

I found that when I put my mind to it, I could empty the dishwasher and put everything away in 90 second. Filling the dishwasher took even less time.

I could organize, wipe and scrub the counters in four minutes and the sink took another two minutes. With focus, I could fold a full basket of laundry and have it put away in less than 10 minutes. Matching socks included!!!

So what changed? I found that I was wrapping very simple tasks in unnecessary layers of drama. It wasn’t the unloading of the dishwasher that was the problem; it was my inclination towards procrastination that made little jobs appear to build until they were huge and daunting. I found that if I attacked the little things immediately, no drama ensued and I gained the added bonus of the satisfaction that comes with a job completed. I no longer built up dread as the tasks kept piling up: because there weren’t any tasks to pile up!

From there, I became proactive.

Since I am a cook, I started in the kitchen. I found that keeping the kitchen clean affected my health. Keeping the kitchen in a ready to use state meant that I would be more likely to cook a healthy meal from scratch, instead of trying to get by with something out of the microwave. I also found that keeping a cutting board and knife out on the counter made me even more inclined to cook. The kitchen seemed inviting.

I learned to keep all my laundry baskets in the laundry room. This forced me to put clothes away instead of living out of the basket. Twice a week I gathered all the empty clothes hangers and staged them in the laundry room. That way all the clothes went straight from the dryer to hangers instead of onto all the other pieces of furniture that used to act as my closet in transit.

Bills became easy once I learned to simplify. I gathered all my bills, and then struck a match. No, just kidding. I now open my bills when they arrive and separate the statement page and the return envelope, and all the rest of the junk goes directly into the recycle bin. This simplifies things and keeps me focused. When I am ready to pay my bills, they are ready and waiting for me to pay them. An added bonus of opening my bills when they arrive is no Bill Pay Day surprises. I know in advance if a particular bill is bigger than normal.

The bottom line... in the end, I did not change my household tasks. I changed my thinking by eliminating the drama I commonly associated with even the most menial chore. I now find myself happier in a cleaner house. I can find all my clothes. My bills are paid and I have time for bigger and better things. Like mowing the lawn. Or, maybe I should wait till later… after the grass grows a little more… when it is not so warm...


How Not to Conquer Clutter PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
Last week I was in Canton, MI for a speaking engagement.  During the presentation I talked about how your home environment affects your personal finances.  When you're not comfortable in your own home, you don't want to be there.  When you don't want to be there, you're likely out spending money - at the movies, dining out, at the mall, etc.
I shared with the audience a very personal story about my own experience...
For many years, I couldn't relax in my own home. It was so cluttered that I always felt on edge. Each room was a visual reminder of all the cleaning and organizing that I needed to do - cleaning and organizing that was never finished. I would get so frustrated that the only time I felt relaxed was while on vacation staying in a hotel. I kept thinking, “Shouldn't I be able to relax in my own home?”
In the back of my mind, I knew the clutter was also an indication that I didn't have my financial house in order. Yes, I was paying my bills on time and staying debt free, but I wasn't managing my money once it transitioned from cash to a possession. I would go shopping for clothes and what I would purchase would stay in the bags on the couch for a week. If I really wanted those items, they would have been taken out of the bags and hung on hangers as soon as I got home.
It sounds dramatic, but I would literally panic any time someone would knock on the door. Paul's mom was one of the most organized, neatest women I had ever met. Several times she caught me at home with my house in embarrassing order. I found myself constantly apologizing to my friends for the state of our house. After a while, I couldn't fake that it was a temporary situation. 
When Paul and I would entertain, I would do marathon cleaning sessions prior to the party. By the time our guests arrived, I would be exhausted and a tiny bit grouchy. I knew there had to be a better way. 
I finally hit a breaking point and decided to take a few days off from work to focus on the problem. The week before my grand makeover, I was psyched and excited about the clean up. I even cleared my schedule the evening before that first vacation day so I could jump right in.  I likened my cleanup project to the makeover shows that were becoming so popular. I knew it was going to be hard work, but by the end of the weekend, my house was going to be magically transformed into a Zen-like retreat.  
When I got home from work that day I changed clothes, pushed up my sleeves and immediately -- became overwhelmed and started crying. I didn't know where to begin. Within 30 minutes I made the excuse that I needed plastic bins to organize my stuff and left the house. I didn't come back until after 9:00 pm, because I couldn't face it. I ended up spending a silly amount of money bringing more stuff into my home - the plastic bins. Ultimately, I wasted my vacation days, accomplished nothing and my depression grew. The following Monday I found the Flylady website and by following her habits and routines, I was able to get in control of my home.
Recently, a friend of mine sent an article to me from Good Housekeeping titled, 10 Biggest Organizing Mistakes.  The article hit home for me.  To this day, I still have to be careful about not having too many projects going on at once and putting things somewhere "for now".  If this sounds familiar, check out the article and I also recommend visiting Fylady's website.  



A Dab Will Do PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti
When it comes to most products, less is more. In many cases, you don’t need to use as much as you may have been led to believe.
  • Try cutting the amount of shampoo and conditioner you use in half, if not more.
  • Instead of a full line of toothpaste like they show you in commercials, try just a small dot. 
  • Instead of a full scoop of laundry detergent, try just a tablespoon.
  • Instead of filling the dishwasher receptacle with detergent, try just a tablespoon.
The Savvy Life Philosophy is to save money on the things that aren’t as important to you so you can focus your spending on the areas that are important to you. By making the products you purchase last 50 - 80% longer, you can save a hundred dollars or more a year. 
I’m sure you can think of something much more fun to spend $100 on than cleaning supplies! 

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