Do you Plan?

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I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still playing catch up! I finally got my car unpacked and all the clothes washed and put away-Yay! However, I have lots of emails to still go through, so I’m sorry if you’ve asked a question and I haven’t been able to answer it yet. I also want to apologize for not answering questions in the comment section. I’m trying to prioritize my time right now and well, answering questions, to be honest, is not my top priority.

On a positive note, though, I hope to be organized and ready to jump back into my normal blogging routine by next week, maybe sooner! Thanks again for being so patient with me!

Anyway, on to the main reason for this post. I want you all to realize something about me… I try to be frugal, BUT let me tell you–sometimes life gets the best of me and I end up making choices that are far from frugal! On vacation, to say the least, we spent way too much money. We ate out quite a bit (without coupons), bought toys for the car without really contemplating the price or if they fit in our budget and we just spent, spent , spent!

When we got home on Sunday, as you can imagine, there was no food in the fridge… so what did we do?! Ordered pizza! Monday rolled around and I was still getting unpacked, so what did we do again? Order take out! The worst part– today I went to the grocery store without ANY coupons! Did you hear that right? I didn’t bring one single coupon with me! Yikes!

As weird as this sounds, though, this was actually a good experience for me. Why? Well, it made me realize it’s ok to get out of your normal frugal routine once in awhile (as long as you get back into it)! I also learned a big lesson and it’s called PLANNING!

When you’re living below your means you have to plan! You’ve got to plan everything, so you can do it in a frugal way. If I had taken the time and planned our trip more–I know we would have saved lots and lots of money.

So I’m challenging myself… and well, I want to see if any of you want to join me on this challenge! Starting on Monday, I am going to get organized and plan something new each week. One week could be meal planning, another week could be planning a grocery list, another week could be planning free kids activities for the month and so on!

If you’re interested in starting this “Planning” challenge with me, then please let us all know in the comment section. I’d also love to hear any ideas you have for what you would like to plan!

Join The Discussion

Comments 49

  1. Cara

    I have been talking about doing this for awhile. I am ready. I know it would make life easier in the long run and way more efficient so I could get to all the items on my to do list. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

  2. Steph

    Thanks to your blog & similar ones, I have been saving a lot of money. So, my husband & I have decided to open up a separate bank account, just for grocery & household supplies. Each week we will put in the same amount & then see were I am at at the end of the year (with rebates/freebies/sales, etc.). I have been so excited for this, now the money won’t just get absorbed into our accounts, but I can actually see progress. I am also planning on decreasing my weekly budget as an added challenge for me. I am hoping to save so much, I will be able to splurge on something with all the savings!

  3. CandraWynne

    I would love to join you in your challenge. I would love to challenge myself to do one project a day so that things around the house don’t get behind. I get so overwhelmed when I clean the house because it is such a big chore but I know if I did one or two small things a day the house would be more kept up and I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed and have to do a huge cleaning day and be exhausted after it ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m excited to hear your ideas!

  4. Anonymous

    My husband and I are both Type A’s. We probably plan WAY too much. Before we had kids, my husband and I were married for 12 years. We could always plan and everything would normally go as planned: vacations, budgets for the entire year, daily errands, work, school, you name it, we didn’t do anything without lists and/or planning. We are still like that to a certain degree, but with kids, as everyone knows, they don’t always follow our “plan”. It has actually been quite refreshing to be a little more spontaneous, but I still feel much more comfortable having a plan (and multiple lists)!

  5. Tara

    I am in on the planning! Steph I have been trying to do that for the longest time now, but a bill always gets in the way and i empty the account to pay it. Hubby is supposed to be getting crazy amounts of overtime in the next coming months so i hope to get the ball rolling and stick to it.

  6. Sarah

    I don’t have any suggestions, but I just wanted to say – thank you so much for this site! Besides taking care of your kids and home, I think it’s amazing that you run this wonderful site! Keep up the great work, and know that it’s ok that you “slacked” a little on vacation – that’s why it’s a vacation!

  7. Traci

    I’d love to hear about your plans to organize. I need all the inspiration & motivation I can get!

  8. nicole

    I have a question does anybody know of a website that covers stop and shop or price chopper deals? thanks

  9. Susan @ organicdeals

    I’m in! I used to be such a neat, organized freak, but with a toddler I have given that all up for down time! Shame on me.

    I am ready to get back to it ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Rhianna Garber

    I can’t wait to see all the good ideas that everyone has out there. Are you going to set up a specific place where we can check out ideas or are you going to update as things come up?

  11. Jodi

    I would love to do better at planning meals. I get home at 6:00 and struggle to figure out what’s for dinner. We often eat at 8:00 or 8:30. Luckily it’s just the two of us, but that’s still way to late.
    I have tons of recipes cut out and subscribe to myrecipes.com which sends a “dinner tonight” email on weekdays.
    I don’t know if it’s possible to get me past the good intentions stage or not. I can’t wait to see the ideas.

  12. mellisarock

    hey I think this is a wonderful idea…same goes for me with the eating out…we got back from vacation a week ago and same thing– spent way to much while there and way to long to get back to our frugal ways…I have already started saving for our vacation next summer and have started research also…this way I will be able to look for specials and all that! Thanks for all that you do! I love it’s hip 2 save!!

  13. Kelly

    This is great! I just started meal planning last week (this is my second week). So far, so good! It takes me about 20 minutes. We are spending about $50 less/wk on groceries because I’m not wasting money of food we “might” use and we can defrost our meat the night before and when we get home from work, we’re not rummaging around trying to find out what to cook. This is truly one of the best moves I’ve made in a while! Thanks for all your hard work!

  14. Anonymous

    I’m excited for planning! I have not been able to figure out how to plan for a lower grocery bill! Do you meal plan and then get the groceries to fill in the meals or buy what’s on sale with coupons then make meals from what was cheap that week? Which is better? That’s what I need to figure out.

  15. Ellen

    I know the feeling…we had to move out of our house for a couple of months due to a flood and while living w/ my parents we didn’t have email and I slacked on coupons. We’ve just gotten back into the swing of things and I saved my usual 30% at the grocery store the other day and it felt SO GOOD!!! I know I can do even better but it takes more planning so I will try it with you!THANKS FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO!!!

  16. Amber Berry

    I would love to get organized, any organization would be better than none!!!
    Planning the use of the coupons would be awesome…I always get excited about a high dollar coupon and then forget to use them. They are in place, but the day is odd from the other days and it slips by me. HELP!!!

  17. Keri Lyn @ She Saved

    I totally agree with you…what a refreshing post!! You rebel you!
    Life it too short to miss out on the good stuff while you are busy worrying about the stuff that won’t matter in the the long run.
    While being frugal is a good thing…you can have too much of a good thing sometimes. Everyone needs/deserves a break!

    Good for you … and thanks for sharing! I’m in too!

  18. Mandy Nelson

    I am ready to take the challenge! Between working full time, graduate school, my hubby and two small boys I NEED more organization! I am looking forward to any ideas! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Anonymous

    My challenge is to keep my husband and I on the budget i have set and have made a goal to pay off our debt and be out from underneath our credit….This site has been awesome and very helpful in that

  20. Amanda

    I’d love to join in this!

  21. Anonymous

    I would like to find more organization for grocery list + Coupons…. And finding free things to do in the area for my family. Thanks to your website I ALWAYS save money when I go to the grocery store. Thank you!

  22. Anonymous

    Love the idea!

  23. Frugal Girls!

    Great ideas! I agree ~ planning is so important to keeping the budget in check! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. sabrinabiziarek

    I wanna do it too! I love your blog soooo much!

  25. Baker Tribe

    I am SO in!! LOL…I NEED this! I LOVE your blog and have missed it while you have been on a much needed vacation! But I’m sooo glad you’re back!! Hope you had a GREAT time!!

  26. Valerie

    I am ready to join you in this challenge. I will follow your lead. I need leadership.

  27. rose

    too funny that you mention this! i just got married and we’re redoing our entire bathroom ourselves (trying to be as frugal as possible, of course!), but our house has been in disarray. i would LOVE to plan better, i still feel like i just got home from my honeymoon–and that was three weeks ago! time to get organized!

  28. Mikala

    I would love to join in the challenge!

  29. oravets4

    I am in!! I REALLY need to get organized. Looking forward to some great planning ideas!

  30. Tamstowne

    I love, love, love structure in my life. With three kids the structure is only in my head and my planner but we try:)

    My goal is to get my house organized. We recently moved and my least favorite project is decorating so I need to buckle down and get things on the walls. BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS!

  31. Anonymous

    LOVE IT!!! I’m a compulsive planner! I’m in. With baby #3 due in a month, homeschooling starting up again soon, and just recently moving and reorganizing- I NEED to stay organized! Thanks for all you do!

  32. Andrea

    Not sure if you want to include house cleaning in this but if you do a great website and resource is flylady.net.

  33. Anonymous

    Hi there,

    I would LOVE to learn all I can about organizing in all areas…SMILE. I do pretty well organizing our grocery list and have done well stockpiling (only been couponing a few months)…but then get real discouraged because I go to the store (in a pinch) and don’t use ANY coupons…spent $32 at Food Lion yesterday and didn’t really get anything BUT it made me realize how much I’m saving with coupons so…that was the good part.

    Thanks for all you do, your website is AWESOME!!!

    Ginger

  34. Anonymous

    Andrea- I love, love, LOVE Flylady!!!

  35. Jen

    I have just experienced this (a few days without planning) and really was reminded of how much money we are saving EVERY DAY when I am planning and buying things ahead of time. I am not a natural planner, but I have really seen how much it has saved us. On the flip side, I have to give myself a break and realize there will be times that life gets messy and we will have to spend more. That’s okay as long as we jump right back on track. Glad you had a good vacation. Thanks for all the money you have saved us!

  36. Tammy

    I’m totally game! When do we start?

  37. Alicia

    One of the things that is working well for me right now is to keep a composition book (not a notebook because they fall apart) running with what coupon deals I plan to run at the store each week. I can easily jot a note when I read online someplace about a coupon to look up and clip so that I don’t have to go back again later to find it. And over the course of a few months, it has become a price book too so that I know the best price point for our household basics. Sometimes I’ll tuck the book in a bag with my coupon notebook or the weekly ad and make notes when I have a few short minutes waiting somewhere or when we’re in the car and my husband is driving. When I found the window to shop, I’m already set to go. Sometimes it’s hard to start planning and matching when you know you really -need- to get to the store. For some, it might work better to have one book per store but for me, I just date it and put the store name up in the corner.

    Plus… you can get a composition book at Walgreens for $.79 right now ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Anonymous

    I am so ready to get back to planning. I guess one big thing for me would be planning and organizing my finance. We will be purchasing a used vehicle soon, and need a savings plan!

  39. Anonymous

    Count me in! Thanks so much for all the great tips!

  40. Anonymous

    Here is some help to get you started:

    http://www.youvegotsupper.com

    This site is GREAT! They email you every week, a week of recipes and you can choose them all or just a few…you can also put some in “your favorites” or look for a different recipe. THE BEST PART is that when you click on the recipes you want it pulls up your shopping list that you can print and take with you! This site is FREE!! I love it! Hope you enjoy! Lisa in Glen Allen, VA

  41. Anonymous

    I am actually happy to see this post because there are times I feel way to guilty not being able to “keep up” with all of the deals. It is sometimes good to step out of that zone once in a while because it can overtake your life.

  42. Sarah

    I agree, flylady.net is a great site! Now if I could just get motivated to follow it…hhhmm. Also, I just checked out http://www.youvegotsupper.com and I love it! Thanks Lisa!

  43. Anonymous

    I say let’s get started now!! I have been meal planning for quite a while now and it releaves a lot of the evening stress. I plan my meal with my family- that way hubby doesn’t complain to much and he usually does the cooking 1 or 2 nights! I try to buy the meat that is on sale that week, then check the pantry for items to go with it. If I don’t have a side I would like to have then I look through the fliers again to see what is on sale that I can match up with a q for the best deal. Almost every item in my cart is on sale with a q, free with a q, or will be free after rebate. I get as many samples for items as possible and make my own laundry soap. We also participate in the Angel Food program- you get a weeks worth of food for a family of 4 for 30 bucks once a month, many churches organize this program throughout. It’s fun! My weekly budget is 25- 35 bucks for a family of 3. I shop primarily at Walmart and do a lot of price matching. My best savings was a total bill of 116.00 I paid. around 34.00 plus change- not bad!! I am excited to hear about others ideas. I am really excited about the free ideas for family activities to do. Winter is around the corner and they can be hard here in Illinois.

  44. coupongeek

    Being frugal doesn’t mean you can’t let your hair down once in awhile. Or so, this is my policy. I do allow us some luxuries and sometimes where we spend a little more, though I do try to stay within our budget. (You just have to plan a little freedom into your budget at times!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the planning challenge. It sounds like fun and I am always trying to find more organizational things. I’ve been focusing on that this month on the blog. So more help would be great! I’ll link up to you on it!

    Glad you had a great vacation and love the honesty! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jaycie

  45. nanni

    I am in…I definetly need some structure in my life.I have just let things go to the pits.Can we say procrastinate,that’s me.I will give it my all especially if their is some sort of support and you have inspired me.So when do we start.lol
    You do such a great job.Your time and devotion to us is very appreciated.

  46. Kim

    I’ve been receiving your e-mails for about a month now. Thanks!!!

    In regards to the grocery list, I have one on my computer that is tailored to my family as far as regular purchases plus needed ingredients for recipes. I just print a few off at a time and simply circle what I need as soon as I need it. Then when I am ready to go to the grocery store, I take it with me. It is easier than a regular list because it is grouped by produce, dairy, canned goods, etc. and I’m not constantly looking over the entire list in each department of the store.

  47. HeatherK

    I keep saying that I need to plan out meals, playdates, errands, etc. This will be a huge help in getting organized and planning to save time, money, and sanity!

  48. Anonymous

    If you had really planned ahead, maybe you could have taken advantage of this great deal:

    “If you volunteer eight hours of your time to a charitable organization such as Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, any 501c3 organization, we can give you a night either for free or half off,” said Kimberly Tuomala, Charlotte Marriott Executive Park.

    The promotion is called ย‘Give a Day Get a Nightย’ and you can get your free night at any of the 52 Sage Hospitality hotels across the country through December 13 depending on availability.

    Also, other hotels and restaurants may be offering similar deals for volunteers, so check it out!

    -Katie, WA

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