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September 14, 2008

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Marsha

I am not a very organized person---but everyone thinks I am--go figure! My suggestion: Don't try to be organized in all areas. Pick a couple that matter the most, and fly by the seat of your pants on the rest! I pay my bills online for the most part--in most cases, you can schedule payments. So as soon as I get a bill, I schedule the payment for it--as close to the due date as possible (earn interest on your money as long as you can). Otherwise the bill ends up getting buried in the piles of stuff on my counter and becomes past due. We grocery shop once a week. I usually think about dinner around 4pm each day! I hate cleaning. My house is dirty now--had to give up the cleaning ladies to save some $$....but if you can swing it once or twice a month, it makes a huge difference! I usually get to sew a little after the kids are in bed and sometimes on weekends. What else? Exercise. Yes, we should all exercise more, shouldn't we? Myself included. Unfortunately, there's always something else I'd rather be doing.

Pieces

I love being organized and planning. Lists are my life blood. But I still feel like I am flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. Lately I've been trying to only plan for half of the available time--things always come up to suck up the left over time and it is nice to have that margin.

S Yanoff

Yikes! I don't think I could manage multiple checking accounts and having to transfer money between them just for the sake of paying bills. One checking account, and utilities (electric, gas, cable) are automatically deducted while a set amount is sent via ACH to my Wells Fargo Wisconsin Tax-Free Fund as my own escrow account for paying the property tax each year. Yeah, I told my mortgage lender to take a hike when it came to adding that money to my mortgage payment because why should they get to earn interest on it all year?

In any case, as far as staying organized goes, I keep everything in my Daniel Craig day-planner. You can get it at www.DanielCraigDayPlanners.com. In reality, though, I live and die through MS Outlook. My inbox at both home and work is my to-do list, although I also use the one in Outlook. I have a system where I use the color-coded flags in Outlook to denote things I have to follow up on, things I want to show someone else (such as my kids), and things I am waiting for someone else to act on.

Melissa

I agree with mom, life is too short to plan it all! What makes it fun is being willing to go with something at a moment's notice-whether it's a fun idea, or a necessity. I also feel that life is too short and your time with your children is too short to worry about everything. Your children will eventually be gone eventually, but everything else will still be there waiting for you. You're doing great, and so does mom, so live it up!

Mom

What's wrong with flying by the seat of your pants? I have done it for 46 years and my life is great. I have 4 wonderful children and 3 wonderful grandsons!! We have survived lots of trials and all is well! Life is too short too worry about the little things. Husband and children come first and you are doing a great job with both!!

Laurie

Here is a great site for recipes, recipe management, and shopping lists:

http://www.recipezaar.com/

You can pick the recipes that you want and it will consolidate them into a shopping list. I use the free version. The $25/year version looks really juicy.

Here is a subscription site for fitness videos.

http://www.demandfitness.com/

I've been trying the tai chi.

Have you heard of the fly lady? http://www.flylady.net/

The internet has it all.

Laurie

This is what I do to keep bill-paying easy. First of all, we have several checking accounts: a personal allowance account for each of us, a checking account, and a debit account. Of course all of these are normal credit union checking accounts with the mandatory savings accounts.

When the direct deposit arrives in the checking account, I make transfers to the savings and allowance accounts. I leave the amount needed to cover checks written, online bill payments, and auto-debits in the checking account. I move the remaining balance to the debit account. This covers food, gas, and other items that we normally pay for with our debit card at the store.

Separating our checks from our debits has saved our butts because we just don't do the old-fashioned thing of writing everything in the check register. This way we don't have to remember which checks are outstanding. And we have a pretty accurate balance of the money we have left to spend until the next paycheck.

If I end up writing a check in-between bill-paying times, I just transfer the money from the debit to the checking account.

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