If you’re wondering what eating frogs has anything to do with making lists, then you obviously haven’t read Eat That Frog! The book is basically about the importance of making lists and putting the most difficult, most important thing you have to do at the top, i.e. eating the biggest, ugliest frog first.
For the normal day-to-day stuff and probably in many lines of work, this makes a lot of sense, but I find that in application it doesn’t always work that way. As a teacher, my biggest, ugliest frog is often grading that huge stack of essays. However, the most immediate thing to do is plan for the next day’s class. I need the plan before I need the graded papers in most cases, so I have to make that big frog wait. It can’t possibly be first on my list, so for me, I’m more of an organize-by-time-and-due-date rather than by-difficulty-and-importance type of person (though perhaps we could argue that time=importance in this situation).
No matter how you do it, I do think it’s important to make lists. At the beginning of the year, I made a list of goals. I can go back and look at it every now and then and see that, “Oh, I’ve been focusing a lot on this one goal, but I totally forgot that I even had that other goal!” I made a list of potential blog posts that I’ve been thinking about writing (this one was first on that list :), and then I can cross off and add to it throughout the year. When I have a day at home alone, no husband and no kids, I generally make a gigantic list of all the things I want to get done, and even though there are things I never get to, it gives me great satisfaction when I cross off 3, 5, or even 10 items (like I did this past Friday) that I completed.
I’ve heard it said that successful people make to-do lists first thing every day. Admittedly, sometimes I’m lazy and don’t make lists, especially when my day is going to be pretty much the same routine as usual, but if I know the day has different required tasks, lists can be life/job-saving. They help the memory (or lack thereof), and they help with motivation.
So I’m mostly a list person. Are you? Could you be? Don’t worry–it doesn’t require actually eating any frogs! Phew.
Have you seen this going around the Internet? I saw several different versions of it around New Year’s Day. This particular one comes from Pinterest. The basic idea is that whatever week of the year it is, you save that much money, and then, by the end of the year, you’ve saved over $1,000 for whatever you need. There are all kinds of variations of it, some in reverse, some for saving the amount for whatever day of the week you get paid, etc.
Whenever I have some extra cash at the end of a pay period, I put it in my jar and check that amount off the list, so I’m not exactly following the plan as is. We also put all of our lose change from paying cash in a cup, and when I have enough, I roll that up, cash it in at the bank, and put that money in the jar, too. For the last half of the year, I intend to do it in reverse so that I’m not trying to put larger amounts away while also trying to save for the holidays (which is why some might choose to do the year in reverse saving $52 the 1st week, $51 the 2nd week, etc. since you’d only be saving $10 for the whole month of December).
So if you’d like to save up some extra money, why not try the money saving challenge. It won’t be 52 weeks, but if you start now, you’ll still save over $1,000! (for Christmas vacation? Christmas presents? paying down debt?) Maybe some of you are already trying this plan or something similar. What are you saving for? I hope it’s something fun!
On an episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats, Alton is describing how he makes smoothies for breakfast every morning, and he gives some tips for choosing the ingredients. He says that when it comes to smoothies, frozen fruits are best, and he especially likes bananas for their creamy texture. This is when he gives the best tip: buy the reduced-price/marked-down bananas, bring them home, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and freeze them. They may look all beat up on the outside, but they’re perfectly ripe on the inside.
Well, guess what? He’s right! I’ve done this the last couple times I’ve gone to the store. The first time, there were just three, but I bought them and froze them. They were perfectly fine on the inside. Today, I bought a bigger bunch, about 6 bananas. I got them home and saw that I had paid 70 cents for organic bananas. I hardly ever buy organic bananas. We also bought a regular bunch of bananas and paid about $2 for them, so those smoothie bananas were a great deal!
This should really help my goal for the near future of having a smoothie every day for breakfast.
Give it a try! Buy marked down bananas. Bring them home, wrap them up, and freeze them for your smoothies. Yummy!
We made it to Wednesday, and you know what that means…
This past week I resolved to try to
- Prepare for the 21-Day Tummy diet by trying new recipes and stocking the kitchen
- Pay for things only with cash, using the cash envelope system
- Remind ourselves that by believing and trusting in God, we always have enough
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
How are these things going?
- I’m trying recipes, but I haven’t stocked the kitchen any further. No extra money right now.
- This is not going well. It’s probably the hardest one for us to be consistent with, mainly because we’ve had a lot of unexpected expenses come up this past month. Payday is at the end of the week. We’ll start fresh then and be super careful about staying within budget–and not using the debit card!
- There’s always room for improvement here, but I think some have already noticed my more positive attitude. This is something that takes constant attention because it’s so easy to let life get in the way.
- I was doing really well until this morning. Ada woke up at 4, and so the whole morning routine kind of went out the window. Obviously, this should be the easiest one to do. I just need to keep it up to make it habit.
Leave a comment to share your progress–good or bad!
By this time next year, hopefully, Raf and I will be completely debt free. We’re following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps, and by the time everything is all said and done, we’ll have been on baby step 2 (paying off all debt) for nearly 5 years. It’s a long time, but we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
Besides creating a budget, one of the things that has really helped us limit our spending and prepare for future expenses is the cash envelope system. We take the money we budget for groceries and put it in the grocery envelope. We take the money we budget to be set aside for the year’s gifts and put it in the gift envelope, etc. The problem is that we’ve become a little sloppy with this. We don’t always get to the bank or ATM to take out the cash, so we end up using the debit card instead. If one envelope runs out, we might borrow from another envelope. Obviously, this creates problems in the long run and basically makes the budget worthless, and the budget–well, sticking to the budget–is really what makes getting out of debt possible.
So let’s try using the cash envelope system as it is intended to be used. No charging or debiting what can be paid for with cash. No borrowing from other envelopes. No spending in that category once the money in the envelope runs out. Can we do it? If we can, we’ll be that much closer to getting out of debt, saving for emergencies, a house, and/or college, investing towards retirement, and mostly important, I think, giving to those who are in need. Leave a comment if you intend to give it try, or tell us about your successes and failures with the envelope system if you’ve used it before.