Keep it Simple and Save

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Keep Your Organizing Simple and Save

Tawra and I went to the printer this morning. We had to go over some things about the book with the printer’s computer whiz . As we sat there, Tawra said, “Wow! That’s some dry erase board you have there. Maybe that is what I need to get organized!”

It was a pretty good sized board. It did have everyone’s schedules very organized and it was placed where everyone could see. The guy laughed and said, “Yeah, about a year ago the company paid for a computer program to help everyone get organized but it isn’t working at all so we are back to the dry erase board.”

Here is the best part: The company paid and is still paying $25,000 every year to use the computer program that no one can use!

You can imagine how that blew our frugal little minds. What frustrates me the most is that people complain so much about the high price of gas but don’t bat an eye about spending big money for crazy things like that computer program. I guess I just don’t understand it. I know it was a company but there are a lot of people who, in their own individual lives, do the same thing.

I’ve known many people who buy expensive programs for their computers to get themselves organized or, better yet (don’t start throwing tomatoes at me), expensive day planners but I have not been able to figure out any real difference between one of those and the very cheap little notebook and wall calender that I use.

It’s all just a bunch of paper and, to save $25-$50, I will happily take a ruler and draw a little calender for my little notebook or cut cardboards for tabs. You can even buy tabs for very little money if you need to separate pages and you’ll still save a lot.

Okay, now you can throw the tomatoes. Forgive me for airing one of my pet peeves because I know most people can’t live without their day planners and even my own daughter just recently broke down and bought one. (Oh, where did I go wrong?? :) :)

I do use a simple notebook, in which I keep a to do list, a who to call list, and a menus and shopping list. Then I have other little sections (Christmas list, honey do list, etc.) and I use a colored paper clip mark them, so I have a day planner, too. Mine just cost me $.25 and not $25.00.


PS. There really isn’t anything wrong with day planners or using them. My point is that they’re just one of many little things that are very expensive and we could make do with something less expensive to save, especially when, like exercise equipment, many people buy them and never use them.

When we moan and groan saying, “I can’t cut back on anything else,” day planners fall into the category of things we don’t think about where maybe we shouldn’t spend the money on one if we can’t afford it.

Disclaimer from Tawra:

After purchasing a $40 day planner, I went to the thrift store and found one for $3, that worked even better and hadn’t been used, so I took the other day planner back to the store. I have had to “laminate”a couple of pages myself using contact paper, but it’s worked out very well.

Another tip: If you need to make your laminated pages movable (like my daily food log), you can just cut a slit in the paper next to the holes and then you can easily move them each day or week.

      -Tawra (who still isn’t “one” with her day planner but trying).

P.S. I have totally gotten rid of my day planner since this was published. :)  Day planners and I are not “one”!

P.S. P.S. Like mother like daughter :)  Jill


photo by: generationbass


  1. Ellen says

    Jill, I’d love to see how you set up your notebook “planner”. I’ve started using plain notebooks too, but just write on one page after another and have the worst time finding anything later. Could you post some pictures?

  2. Jill Cooper says

    Sure Ellen, I can do that. We will show you both of our ways (an organized person and unorganized person :) :) just joking daughter of mine if you are reading this :)
    It may take a bit because I don’t have a camera and will have to borrow Tawra’s but will try to get something together as soon as we can.
    I’ll let you know when we do it. We are also getting ready to start a cleaning (homemaking) blog and I might should address this same thing on there.
    Will try to get something done.

  3. Anonymous says

    Thanks so much, Jill…I would like to see photos of this, too! (I’m just having trouble visualizing it.)

    Saw something that sounds a lot like it at Target, from the “Real Simple”/M. Stewart line, but I didn’t wanna pay anything close to what they were asking.

    With two wee ones here now, I’m finding that my BK (Before Kids) method of keeping lists in several different places is just not working, so this combined organizer would really meet a need for our whole family!

    Thank you so much….I KNEW I could live without Martha and her stuff! :)

    Blessings to all of you….Kimberly

    P.S.—Am definitely looking forward to the Homemaking blog!!!!

  4. Jill Cooper says

    Thanks Kimberly, I hope you all aren’t disappointed because my little notebook is very simple and not to earth shattering.
    One thing though that I have found is that different people really do need different methods just as you mentioned that your “before kids” system doesn’t work now. So it really is a matter of trial and error. That is partially why I hate to see people pay so much for these things because 80-90% of the time they get them home and they either don’t work for what they need or they give up and don’t bother to use them.

    I hope I can address these and many other things on the new blog.
    If you guys have anything pressing in the area of homemaking let me know and I will try to touch on it if I can.

  5. Nancy says

    I am a dayplanner junkie – and Jill, you are right about 80-90% of the pages aren’t used. Until, I began to re-organize the planner to fit me. What so many people do is try and fit themselves to the planner but if you fit the planner to you then you will be surprised that the 80-90 goes down to about 20%! I realized that just because the tabs were sequential did not mean I had to have them that way and if it didn’t fit my style, I empowered myself to change it! I also took the time(yes, it took some time) and made my own inserts up so that they would help me. Now I just buy the inserts that I need and print off my additional!

  6. Jill Cooper says

    Nancy I couldn’t have said it better if I had tried. You captured everything I was trying to explain. That is why too I kept talking about just buying your own tabs and little notebook because you can adjust it the way you want but I like it better the way you said it that you have to fit the planner to you and not the other way around. Super!

  7. Anonymous says

    Actually, there is a way to get an organizer for free.

    If you write to “Free Green Organizer Offer” at P. O. Box 9901, Bridgeport, CT 06606 and give them a code # (9901), you will receive a complimentary organizer for 2009. This is a start up company and they are trying to get their business going.

    Try it! It works!


  8. Anonymous says

    I finally found an area where I am cheaper than my Living On a Dime gurus! Around here, we save every single sheet of paper that has printing on only 1 side and reuse it. Granted, most of it goes to the kids art supply drawer but I use some of it for my own note paper by cutting it in quarters and storing it in a decorative basket with pens, pencils, scissors etc. right under my kitchen wall phone. Along with phone messages, I use these little sheets to make my grocery lists and to-do lists which I keep on the upper portion of the fridge door with magnets. (Bottom half of door is for kid’s artwork.) This system works well for me or as you say “fits into my life.” Oh, the calender is also hanging right next to the phone. I ask for a pretty calender for Christmas every year so I don’t have to buy one…it’s an easy gift for my dad to buy…LOL! My main point is to say thanks to you for pointing out that we don’t need PDA’s and all that jazz to keep us organized.

  9. Cal says

    The best day planning tool and instructions for organisation Ive ever come across was the one in the Sidetracked Home Executives paperback book. As I live in the UK I had never heard of Pam and Peggy, but I was in desperate need to be able to organise my house as I have Multiple Sclerosis so day to day life is difficult. It took a bit of time and effort to think about what I needed to get done but the benefits of being organised saves me valuable energy every day, all of my notes are on little index cards so everything is easy to see. The website is also helpful.
    I just want to say how much I love your website and I look forward everyday to reading your blog. My motto when ever I need to purchase something or making savings is “Gee, what would Tawra and Jill do?” Keep up the good work.

  10. Jill Cooper says

    Anons, you are a person after my own heart and you just mentioned another of my pet peeves and that is scratch paper. Everything gets used not once but twice and some times threes times in our homes.
    As you have heard me say a 100 times I am not an environmentalist but I probably have saved the earth’s environment 10 times over what most envir. do.
    I have a heart attack when kids do their homework and they automatically grab a new sheet of paper to scribble on. I make small tablets of note pads by cutting and stapling different sizes together also to use for different things.

    I had wrote all of my books, newsletters, articles and everything on nothing but scratch paper and that included a 350 page cleaning book (it’s not done yet). About a year or so ago I did get one of my kids used computers and have since started using it.

    Probably 95% of the paper used in my house no matter what it is used for is scratch. (I say 95% because I am sure I have used a new sheet for something but off of the top of my head I can’t remember when or why)
    For many years I made my own calenders but now I seem to get them for free or like you it is a great gift for my kids to give me.

    We’re maybe even worse when it comes to cardboard boxes. Tawra picked up some used boxes from the printers that she then used, she gave them next to her brother who used them to move and he has now given those same boxes to me which when I am done with them they will go on free cycle.

    When I had a wood burning stove if a box was damaged and I had used as many pieces of if as I could for signs and things, it would then get burned and the ashes used in my garden.
    As you can see from my long windedness wasting paper is a thing with me. It’s not because I am trying to be so noble and save the earth but just because my mom when I was little taught me not to waste. She said when she was growing up paper products were harder to come by and very expensive, things like toilet paper, school paper, napkins and paper plates so everyone was careful of it. I guess old habits die hard in my family HA!HA!

  11. Lutheran Lucciola says

    Tawra, I wanted to tell you and your readers about something called “open source” computer applications and programs too.

    There are movements now for creating free, downloadable programs such as “Open Office”, (a free office program similar to Microsofts Office), and “Gimp”, an open source graphics program.

    These programs have strong communities, and while they may be different than Office and Photoshop as far as specifics, if one hasn’t used either of those before, it very useful to learn.

    If you search on “open source applications”, you will find new communities popping up every day.

    I see you girls incorporated, too! Good for you, very smart move!!

  12. Vickie Sparks says

    I love this. It reminds me of how many people automatically have to go to the store everytime they are going to try something new. If they are losing weight they go out and buy gym membership, spec. foods, etc. Getting organized, going out and buying all kinds of bins, shelves, etc. Saving money, go out and buy… Thanks for keeping it simple and sharing with us!

  13. Alicia Webster says

    I use an old notebook from my husband’s college days (back in the paleolithic era). I found it in a box with his old textbooks, and it had never been used. It’s a little yellowed and musty-smelling, but I’ll do anything to save a buck :)

  14. says

    Tawra and Jill, I think you are so right about using simple organization. I am a visual person and so things like a dry-erase board work much better for me than a complicated computer system, electronic gadget, etc. Mostly, I write myself notes that I can look at all day until I have time to do them. I think we’ll never be an all-electronic, paperless society because paper is so much more convenient!

  15. Doug McCormick says

    When I was employed by the City of Novi as Electrical Inspector, every year they GAVE me a new day planner book for Christmas gift. When I retired and left the City job four years ago, I have to BUY the day planner books. It is a LOT CHEAPER ON E-BAY THAN IN THE STATIONERY STORES.

  16. Diane says

    My Mom had a very small, like 3×5, calendar she would keep on her counter by the phone. The whole of the families birthdays, her appointments and any other important info was on this tiny calendar. Talk about keeping it simple.

  17. Carie says

    I laughed when I read this! I had an old very small organizer from my college days that I used some while in college that I started using as my address book for family and Christmas cards. When we moved, I have been unble to find it!! I know I saw it and it is there somewhere but…. My mother bough me a Christmas Card book and I have been meaning to use…… As for keeping myself organized, I am a list making fool. My husband jokes me that I have a list of my lists!! He ate crow a while back when 3 to 4 months a head of time I started a list for our vacation. We didn’t forget anything and I had us packed & ready to go ontime, etc. He then jumped on the band wagon! He doesn’t make them but tells me when I need to put something on it LOL. I also use my Outlook calendar at work ALOT, even for personal stuff. I also use a desk pad calendar at work, again for personal stuff too. All these things work for me, at least for now. I will probably try to change something soon. wow, I wrote a book here! Take care all.

  18. AmyK says

    A few years ago, the planner style I had relied on was discontinued. I panicked & started googling for a replacement, willing to pay as much as I needed to get my trusty book back. I couldn’t find one. BUT I came across a website of do-it-yourself ideas & realized just how simple my planner was – just a monthly calendar followed by daily detail pages and pages for my to-do & grocery lists, tabbed with post-its. So easy to put together! (i probably spent more time googling than it took to make).

  19. Joyce says

    I use a day planner – have for many years. It is my “brains”. Don’t ask me anything if I don’t have my fingers on it!!! I have made sections for addresses (printed from Outlook contact list on regular paper, cut and punched to fit in the planner), Goal page with incremental steps for instant review, Household schedule which is broken down into daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual chores – all clearly scheduled so I have only one sheet (1/2 reg paper) to glance at for review at any time, Annual Projects – to schedule as $$ permit, Annual calendars for upcoming years, budget guide sheet including annual expenses broken out for quick review, personal information such as frequent user name/password, etc., travel documents such as rental car contracts, hotel reservations, airline schedules, etc. – all printed on regular paper and punched to fit in at the date of the travel, notes from conversations and estimates, etc., etc. I am lost without my day planner!!!

  20. Joetta Witkowski says

    How complex or simple your organizer needs to be may depend on what’s going on in your life. When my mother had cancer, and was also aging and not thinking clearly, I needed a fairly complex planner to keep track of all her doctor’s appointments (often 3 or 4 a week), meds, paper work, etc., as well as my family’s (four kids and one husband) schedules. After my mom passed away and a couple of kids moved out, I was able to simplify greatly. But I would not have survived the crisis of my mother’s illness without the complex system to keep me on track.

  21. kathy miller says

    I could not live without my planner, it keeps me focused on the task at hand and manage my families schedules

  22. Tracy says

    I use a wall calendar hooked to my frig to tell me the day and any appointments for my family and I
    I use a notebook that hold 30 to 40 pages from the dollar store and write down my to do list ,chores ,etc
    and reminder if their an appoinment or event, dinner idea,plan out dinner meals ,make shopping list etc and I follow a website for cleaning that I check each week and try to keep up all my duties With my family home
    for summer I give them a list of things needed to be done
    I can do less myself although I know that
    things may not always get done right or on time but I’ve learn not to expect perfection and as long as things get done I’m happy

  23. says

    I live in Norway, am a single mother of two in their late teenages and a 7 year old. I suffer from CFS and therefore forgets A LOT. I even forget to look at the calendar on the wall, or on my notes on my computer and it goes on and on. My only functioning tool today is my iPhone. I am still looking for the one and only app that fills my needs for making lists and everything else, but someone has not invented it yet as far as I can see. I would really be happy if anyone has found something useful!
    (I am also looking for a christmas gift app, where I can sort what to give FROM WHO, as I also have to organize the kids presents or from grandparents aso. Any ideas?

    • says

      Janne that is the thing which frustrates me too. I would probably use a planner of some kind but haven’t found what works best for me. Don’t feel bad. With my CFS I forget to look at my calender too. I have to sometimes call Tawra and ask what day of the week it is and have no clue to the date. To show how bad I am sometimes I have gone until the 15th of the month before I have noticed I didn’t change the calender to that month. I guess it goes with the territory of being sick. :) :)

      • Deb says

        I have calendar hanging on my bathroom door (it opens into the bathroom from the bedroom). It has a really cute picture of a dog on it, which I move from month to month because it reminds me of the dogs we’ve loved and lost. Every morning I greet the dog and tell it what day and date it is! That keeps me “oriented,” as the doctors call it. Of course, if they heard me talking to a paper dog, they’d probably call out the guys in the white coats!
        Right now I’m running 3 different planners – a paper one, a computer one, and one on my NOOK Color. I know, I know…. The paper Day-Timer is the one I take to the doctor’s and where I schedule all my appointments. It has pages for the whole years where I can even schedule a yearly appointment. In that I also put a copy of the information I give the doctor on my medicines, allergies, medical history, and current concerns. During the appointment I make my notes on those pages so I know what I’m supposed to do. Having FM, I don’t remember so good when people talk to me. (When I was taking my dog to doggy obedience class, the teacher gave me a series of steps to use to break the dog of some bad habit. When I got home, the only thing I could remember was the last step! Not very helpful, but it has led me to write lots of things down that normal people would remember, so my planner is really important to me.

  24. TB says

    I use two forms of planners-one on-line at and the other a yearly book with one page per day. I like Cozi’s calendar because it is color coded for each family member (five plus two pets), because the website sends a weekly calendar to my email in-box and because it is free! I like my bound book planner because it has hourly increments along the left side of the page, a place for calls along the right and is about 8″x5″ total. I use it when making phone calls to record the five W’s of the calls and am able to keep these through the years because they are bound.

  25. Patti says

    I have know women who bought day planners-the bigger the better (they think) and lug them around for a year or two and tell everyone how wonderful they are, and yet now, after 10 or 15 years, they have no idea where they are. I agree that a wall calender and lists as needed are the way to go.

  26. texasmom247 says

    I giggle when I see my friends with their high dollar planners and electronic gizmo’s. I go to the dollar store every Fall to Christmas and buy my $1 “Grid” wall calendar and a $1 “Month-at-a-glance” calendar. I also have one of those pens that writes in four colors (I am sure it was a Dollar store or WalMart purchase as well)so that each child’s activities/schedule is color coded for my convenience. The Grid is big enough for all notes and the month-at-a-glance has room and extra pages as well. And yes, we use the back of all papers for notes, scratch…as well as all envelope backs, which make for great grocery list paper.

    • says

      Texasmom, I too use scratch papers all the time. For awhile I would take an old envelope and place my coupons in them in categories. Then when I was ready to go to the store I would take another used one and put the coupons I was using that day in it with my grocery list written on the outside of it.

  27. Kathleen in IL says

    I am so happy Cal mentioned Sidetracked Home Executives. For a small amount invested, I had a usable, year to year, renewable, “green” system of organization! I also found like others did that there is a lot of info on the web about “household planners” and places to download FREE pages, which I could have duplicated for very low cost. I was able to set up a “dayplanner” sort of system for not much money. I watched like a hawk for binders, and believe me, my work place threw outs TONS of binders every year. All I had to do was either pull out the cover sheet from the clear acrylic cover, or put some sort of new label on the spine. I know many moms who grabbed binders for their children’s school supplies. I had a 5 x 7 binder that I saved from year to year. I even reused the month pages (albeit the days printed on them were no longer “correct”), to save costs of buying new month pages. I loved being able to customize my own planner for not much $. Even today, years later, that is what I do. I cut my own papers in half, I use a calendar given to us each year by the VA, I reuse those month markers, etc. I have a hole punch that makes the small holes for my pages. I love it! I only want a source of what I call “pocket pages”, to hold all my blank grocery list forms, “needed someday” shopping lists, etc, in the 5 x 7 size, or easy directions to make my own (cheaply, that is, of course).


  28. says

    Aren’t you afraid of bed bugs? You bought the furniture and I assume it’s upholstered. I would be afraid to buy from strangers, but then I’m not good with money to begin with lol You are an inspiration to me. You have an exciting life. God bless.

    • says

      No I don’t worry about stuff like that. I checked and it seemed fairly clean. I did spray it with insecticide and carpet clean it before it came in the house to make sure it was clean. If I let every little thing like that frighten me then I would never save any money. We are cautious but just don’t have the luxury of buying everything new so we do the best we can. I talked to an exterminator once and he said it’s $50-$75 to spray for them if we ever did get them so that would still be MUCH cheaper than buying new. If you were worried about it he said you can buy a thing from them that you put on the couch and wrap it in plastic and it fogs them to kill the bed bugs for $10 or so. So you can still buy used if you are concerned.

  29. Lisa says

    I am not one with a dayplanner either…the system is too structured for me BUT i cannot live without my notebooks! I use them in the manner in which I need it that day. Busy with phone i make a list of all the calls i have to make with room to make notes about the call,shopping lists, menu planning, quotes, reflections prayers are all in my books! I am a retired restaurant manager with a large family and this system is the one that has worked for me for many years!

  30. Bea says

    I like simple. I use cheapo tablets from dollar stores and that’s it. People today act like life is so hard without all their gadgets etc. How did people handle it years ago when a family had 10-15 kids and no modern conveniences? People today can be so silly with the things they think they need to make life work. You aren’t crossing the Country in a covered wagon for Pete’s sake!

  31. Audria says

    I really love your website and newsletter and y’all have saved us a lot of money. I’ve tried several day planners and even tried to keep my own notebook but just got a little overwhelmed trying to organize it. Two years ago I found Momagenda planners and really love them. I told my husband I’d rather have a new agenda for Mother’s Day than flowers.

  32. harriet says

    I do everything online. Online, I can’t lose the notebook or piece of paper I wrote a note on! And I can search easily.

    I use an Excel spreadsheet for Christmas gifts, and an Outlook calendar for everything else–appointments, meetings, and so on. For to-do lists, I use the little electronic sticky notes in Windows 7.

  33. Nicki says

    I also dont really care for day planners because my family cant access one planner. I did fork over $25 for a large laminated blank monthly planner and a few wet erase markers. Now before you roll your eyes, I have to say that I have used the same board for a few years and it works well. I plan to get a few more years use out of it so it was worth the purchase. I use it for appointments, trips, to do list, due dates for school, chores, etc.

    • says

      Nicki I didn’t even roll my eyes for this one. :) :) Believe it or not I am a firm believing in spending money on things like your board. Anything that you really need to make things easier and you will get a bunch of use out of I say is money well spent.

  34. says

    I’m with Bea above. I always say,what would the pioneers do? Or better yet, the Pilgrims? Imagine life 100 or more years ago. They had so little convenience & so much hardship.They figured it out.We heavily burden our lives w/ plans & so many times they are not things done together.Schedule less,be a family more.
    BTW- A large calandar serves well for all appointments & info.And coupons in the envelope w/ the list on the back is the best way to not misplace coupons for that trip.
    Continued luck with your news letter.

  35. Carol Wilson says

    I notice the posts begin in 2008 for this subject. Did you ever upload any photos of your own notebook system? I can’t find any but maybe I just don’t know where to look.
    I pay $10-15.00 for weekly planners because I’m just not ingenious enough to come up with my own, but if I could look at the home-made planners other’s have devised, I know I could make my own. I just need some visual direction if thats possible. Any photos?


    • says

      Carol we don’t have pictures on the web site. We do have a ton of pictures not only on how to make your own but charts and all kinds of things to print off and use in our keepin’ it clean e book series.

      I hate pushing our products because I don’t want to sound like a used car salesman but our keepin’ it clean e books are soooo good and full of tons of information. It is 3 separate books and all of them are good 1 talks about getting organized, lists and schedules, the second is about laundry from A-Z and the last is on cleaning and has homemade recipes for cleaning products and more.

      Personally I like the e books better then Dining on a Dime because by the time I wrote the e books I had many more years of experience and many more ideas.

      Anyway to help a little even though I don’t have a picture but basically what I do is have a about 8×5 notebook and divide the page in 4 sections (I don’t actually draw the sections because I have used it like this so long I can see it divided in my mind) in one section I write 5-6 things I need to do that day, the next section I write my menu or misc. things, the third I write calls I need to make and the last one I write my shopping list. I then have a large calender which I can see easily hanging in my kitchen where I right appointments using different colored pens.

      Over the years those topics have changed and I use my notebook differently but if I need to remember something it is usually put in my notebook. I also mark some of the pages with a colored paper clip if I need to refer back to something.

  36. Susanna says

    Thank you Ladies for all the good advice. Simple is usually better and alot easier to keep organzied and clean I have come to learn.
    Well from my experience with my family what works best for us and with me is, a washable wall calendar I paid $1.25 for a that is 3ft by 2ft on my Kitchen wall and it has what is going on for that month. Red is for what is most important. Green for birthdays. Blue is for anything else. That way everyone in the family knows what is happening. Then on the other wall a chalk board my husband picked up that someone tried throwing away with 97 cent chalk to write the nights dinner on it so no-one will be surprised @ the table when they are served. Other than that I have a wire that is held in by tacks with clothes pins that hold art work and important papers needing to be signed.
    I keep a notebook that I can put in my purse. If I want to write a letter, I have paper. If I want to write a list, I can. Draw @ the doctor’s office with my kids when their bored, etc. I don’t need a number or address right then plus that is something I don’t want in lost or have to keep changing over everytime I get a new organizer. I keep those in my 3×5 files that are kept up so that I only replace the numbers or addresses that are no longer good. But, I also write birthdates or other important dates on these cards as well or if this person has kids and their kids names.

  37. mary says

    I have to disagree somewhat on not spending money on a day planner. I bought a day planner at office depot for about $20-$25 back in January and its helped me stay organized very much. Its not a huge planner, about medium size, so I can carry it in my purse but not like carrying a book around. Time is money and the whole point of the planner is to be organized and save money in the long run, right? I am a single woman, without kids, so who knows if I use the planner for years to come. But, for the time being there is a sense of peace that comes from being organized and effective with my time. Makes it worth the money in my opionion. Well, I admit I had a gift card but I probably would have spent the money on a planner either way.

  38. Linda Khan says

    Tawra, I have been subscribing and eagerly reading your living on a dime newsletter and this is the first time I am posting. It’s in regards to day planners. I agree that for some they are great, but not everyone’s mind works the same so that is why I can’t use them. Instead I have a paper system that is compatible with my mind. It might be very low tech (actually writing on paper and highlighting) instead of the electronic ones but I figure I have as much chance of loosing/misplacing my planner as an expensive one. And I don’t fret over having to buy a new one. Just sit quiet for a bit and am able to recreate my planner.

    Thanks and I’m looking forward to your newsletters. When I open my emails it’s the first thing I read before seeing what other emails I have.

  39. Eva says

    I agree with everyone who said the most important thing is finding a system that fits your life. For myself, in addition to caring for our kids and home, I work full time for our church and go to grad. school. Right now it gives me a sense of peace to have a more detailed than usual planner because of so many different frying pans in my fire.

    Two things I’ve learned are important for me:
    1. I have arthritis in my hands so I need BIG spaces and wide lines to write in. I had an “aha” moment when I realized that I was unconsciously avoiding writing things down because my planner was too small and it cramped up my hands to write in it.
    2. I stopped having a wall calendar in addition to my planner when I realized that my husband was assuming EVERYTHING was on the wall calendar – even if I was not yet home from work to write down anything new that day. Now he has to ask or look in my planner and we are much more on track.

  40. barb~ says

    I carry a small pen and a piece of paper in my pockets at all times. I have fibromyalgia and disc disease. When I feel well enough to shop, I really don’t want to carry a purse around because of the added weight. I write anything down that comes to mind-even if I’m just at home. Sometimes it’s just a quote, phone number, a comment, or I am reminded of something I need to do. By the end of the day I can have a full piece! I transfer anything of import to my small planner. I will enter other info into my computer. Positive, uplifting quotes I will recopy and keep on my nightstand to reread-later I stick it in a notebook to keep. I am NOT a master of organization, but this simple system helps me:)

  41. Wendy says

    Although I no longer use a day planner, I’ve found a method that works really well for me that has replaced it. I used to use my day planner extensively, especially since I’m self-employed and must keep track of my time and expenses. I also used it to keep track of my kids’ special events school schedules, times and days I volunteered in their schools/classrooms; church events; and other various social and volunteer work that I do. Not having a planner is not an option for me. However, now I keep track of all of that and more by using Google calendar. It’s even better because I can share the calendar with my husband, friends, family, and clients when necessary. Since I can access the calendar on my phone (I have it set to sync with my Google calendar so it’s always update), it’s always with me and is small enough to fit in my pocket.

  42. Heather says

    I got a dayplanner when I bought a new purse on the sale rack. That has been quite useful. So if you feel you need a new purse I say try Ross and the sale rack and get one for free, It also came with an unbrella all for under 7 bucks. That is a deal

  43. Grandma says

    Every year the mining company my husband works for give him a nice leather day planner calendar with all sorts of pages with information.
    They sit on a shelf just inside the kitchen until the next year when I get a new one.
    To me it is a waste of money, to the company I guess it is good PR.
    The company is American and most of the info is for the states. Not useful in Canada.
    I found out a friend spends $20. on a new one every year so this year I gave her mine and she loves it.
    For myself I use post it notes and stick them on the drop down to hold papers on my desk.
    each slip has an appointment with phone number.
    to be honest it is the only way I can keep track of them.
    Out of sight out of mind so this way they are not out of sight.
    Also I guess my health makes it impossible for me to plan much in advance. 2 days tops and even that is chancy.
    For example.
    On Monday I called for a hair appointment on Thursday. I explained that I might end up calling to cancel due to pain and my hairdresser said no problem
    I made it for yesterday because we had to go out after Don got home to go and vote.
    I also planned on getting groceries.
    Walked to the hair dresser my stamina was just enough to get me the 1 block and then it died. Got my hair cut sat and waited for Don to go another block and vote. Then it was go home and collapse (no groceries) I couldn’t take the pain.
    So that is why day or weekly planners are just not doable for me.
    Sure wish I could be organized enough to do this. I did try for quite a while but it was so discouraging and frustrating to make these plans only to wake up and know I couldn’t do them. It added to my pain so now I use the post it notes. If I can’t do it I take them down and forget about them. If they are on a calendar or in a book they are a constant reminder that I am not normal or healthy.
    So yes do what you can to be organized but keep it simple and don’t agonize over what you can’t change.
    life is too short.

  44. CMHValex says

    As a college student, I find that I have to have a planner/notebook to keep track of my homework and other responsibilities. I just buy a simple “Weekly & Monthly Planner” form the Dollar Store for about $1. One two-page spread has the whole week on it, and the planner is good for a year. This year I got really lucky. My husband had gotten a free planner from his college, and he hadn’t used the stickers (fold over tabs with the months on them), so I took them and used them for mine. Now I have all these cool and colorful tabs. :) But I mostly use my planner for homework assignments, so I just need a really simple and cheap one.

  45. Maggie says

    I found the most wonderful planner at Daytimer’s two year’s ago.
    It had the blocks for the days of the week along the outside of the 2 pages facing you and in the middle were lines (I used them for my “to do’s”) – the left page for work for the week and the right side for home. It worked perfectly for me except it was a spiral bound book and the pages kept coming loose from the spiral. I called Daytimer and they sent a replacement that was different from the one I loved. I had my husband use his plyers and just bend the spiral so it would stay closed and it worked great. Guess what – Daytimer did not make this calendar again. I wrote to every executive I could think of but no one could tell me why they stopped making it nor did they every make another that worked as well for me. I stopped by Staples last year and picked up a binder that was hard bound on the outside and spiral inside (so the pages turned easily. It has a block calendar across two pages and behind it 2 pages per week. Since it is 8 1/2 by 11, there is plenty of room to write my to-do’s for each day. I love it. And it was only $10. My boss buys my calendar each year and I lug this everywhere. With the hard binder, it stays tidy and does what I want. Daytimer calendars start at $35 so my boss was happy to pay this small amount. I won’t be buying the more expensive calendar any more.

  46. Maggie says

    After I read all your comments, I think I will try the Dollar store this fall for a 2012 calendar. I might be able to find a duplicate of the one I am using now for a better price. Never thought of looking there for a calendar. Also, I use post-it notes for important things and just stick them in my calendar. And I do make lists every day, even for daily activities, so I don’t forget anything. At 65, even the easy things get missed if I don’t write them down. Thanks to everyone for the useful information.

  47. Grandma says

    I just take calendars when the store starts giving them out in November.
    The one from the drug store has a pull out sticker page where you have dr appt. birthday anniversary, chiro, dentist, mortgage and insurance renewal.
    you just pull off the one you need and stick it in the square. not much room to write but at least it is sticking out and you remember it.
    I like the dentist one as it is a tooth smiling at you.
    I only buy calendars as gifts and those are for people out of the country and then they are scenery ones or the group of seven artists. They are always appreciated although in China with so many different holidays and celebrations they are hung mainly for the pictures.
    Calendars make great gifts for grandparents when you have the grandchildren write little messages or put a thumb print randomly through the year. Also mark birthdays, graduation dates and school events. Even if the grandparent is a long way off it makes us feel like part of their everyday lives.

  48. barb~ says

    I have started keeping a pen and paper beside my bed on a night stand. I am amazed at the things I remember, or think of to do, while I’m lying in bed before going to sleep. I can even scribble something in the dark-clear enough that I can make sense of it in the morning! This has saved me many times!!

  49. says

    I have a Day planner. It’s one I purchased back in 1996 to plan our wedding. It keeps fluctuating in and out of my life – some years seem crazy-busy and I need it to keep me organized and other years it’s more of a nuisance. But I still have it … and am starting to use it again.

    My husband laughs at me that I like to make lists of lists. I’ve tried online list takers like Remember the Milk – and I still use that for long-term lists (e.g. to remind me that in 6 months I need to reschedule dentist appts, or clean the dryer vent, etc), but for daily to-do lists, I prefer paper.

  50. says

    I love how you ladies are so real, so “you”. I guess that’s why I’ve been reading your posts for so many years. :)

    I use my wall calendar, a pocket (purse) calendar that I get at Dollar Tree, and spiral notebook for my daily to-do lists. Sometimes I type longer-term lists into Word (and then get them all mixed up, but at least they are searchable).

    Tried a day planner once, and it didn’t work for me. Maybe I’m just too frugal. :)

    • says

      Frugal and wise Margaret. You are wise enough to know that if it isn’t working for you to try something else and frugal enough to figure out a cheaper way to do it. :) : ) I know you have been with us for awhile and and love you guys who keep hanging in there with us. : )

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