How To Begin To Get Organized and Get Out Of Debt
It’s almost New Years Day and many of us are already starting to think about making resolutions. Most resolutions sound something like: “I’m going to eat healthy and lose weight“, “I’m going to get out of debt” or “I’m going to get organized.”
These are great things to WANT to do but I’m afraid that about 90% of us won’t keep these resolutions. Here are a couple of things to think about that will hopefully give you greater success in keeping your resolutions.
I can’t, in this one sitting, give you all the details about how to handle every situation but I can give you some things to think about that will help you in all of these areas. Then for more details check out LivingOnADime.com, or our e-books to help you in each specific area and to give you practical ways on how to accomplish what you want to do.
It helps to understand why we do the things we do. Most of us want to lose weight and eat healthy on New Year’s Day because we have just spent the past month gorging ourselves so that we now feel bloated and sick and can’t fit into our clothes anymore. Like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to another, we think that the answer is to eat carrot sticks for the rest of our lives. That usually lasts about 3 days and then we give up.
The same applies to the idea of getting out of debt. Most of us have just spent the past few weeks spending more money than we had planned and now we feel guilty. We’re determined that we are not going to spend a penny on anything. Then we will panic every time we have to buy something like food or gas because the price is so high.
Then there is the thought of getting organized. Right now you are probably surrounded by a Christmas tree and decorations that are starting to accumulate a thin layer of dust, which is giving a dingy look to everything. The once bright and cheery look of the Christmas lights have dulled. The candles on the mantle have burned down to nubs and look more like they belong in a haunted house or in a horror movie.
There is leftover wrapping paper strewn here and there. Piles of Christmas dinner platters and dishes sit on every counter. You close your eyes every time you open the fridge so you don’t have to look at the piles of leftovers inside it. Then there are all the mounds of new toys, clothes and gifts. How do you stuff them into the already full closet? No wonder you have the urge to clean and get organized. You wonder, “Where do I even start?” Getting organized is a way to give yourself a fresh start.
As I’ve said before, too much of even a good thing can make us sick and frustrated.
Here’s my point: You can get organized and do everything you resolve to do, but you need to pace yourself. It’s like running a long distance marathon. You don’t just shoot out of the starting line going as fast and hard as you can. You will never make the distance that way, so you pace yourself. In the same way, pace yourself in everything and do a small amount at a time, breaking things into manageable pieces.
Have a plan, whether it is writing menus for good balanced meals for each week, making a budget or, even more important, being bold enough to write down and acknowledge what your debts are. Make a plan. Plan where to cut your spending or to start to get organized, try making a list of 1-2 areas of your home you are going to organize each day.
Next prepare. When you are preparing for a race, you would ask yourself, “Do I have the right shoes”, “Are there water stations?”, “Have I slowly worked my muscles into shape?”, “Am I prepared for some pain?” and “When it hits, will I not be afraid of it but keep going in spite of the discomfort?” In the same way, you may have to spend some time preparing things like planning good meals or making sure you have cleaning supplies and boxes for when you start to get organized.
One thing you must remember – discouragement and a sense of being overwhelmed will hit most of us once we start. Pacing will help but it is especially important to have a plan and be prepared when discouragement sets in so you can overcome it and keep going. Here are some things to think about when you start feeling discouraged:
Have you ever looked up the definition of resolution? I did. It means to have firm determination, to be bold and steady and to reduce something to a simpler form. You need to be steady and pace yourself. Little by little and piece by piece, reduce your mess to something simpler and more manageable. You can’t accomplish any of it in a week or two. You took a long time to make the mess and you may have to take just as long to clean it up but like the tortoise in the tortoise and the hare, keep a slow but steady pace and you will win the race and succeed.
You may fall (or eat that piece of chocolate cake, spend more than you should have or leave dirty dishes in the sink one day) but pick yourself up, brush yourself off and keep going. The only thing that will keep you from getting there is if you stop (quit and give up), so keep at it.
We will try to do the same and keep plugging along with ideas on how to accomplish all of the above. Now I must quit because I have a messy room that I really need to deal with today! : ) : )
For more help with organizing, cleaning and laundry, take a look at our How To Organize And Clean Your Home e-books.
The How To Organize And Clean Your Home ebook set includes 3 ebooks to make it easy to organize your home, eliminate clutter, conquer the laundry pile and reduce your stress with better organization. Learn more here!
Mary Joy @Seeds of Encouragement Sewn with Grace
Excellent! All so true. God blessed us with a bit of extra money that the gov’t forgot they owed us this week. Yay! Praise God! The first thing we did was take $100 and pay off 4 debts. :D Sure felt good! Now my hubby is getting me a surprise that will help me keep our kitchen clean and organized…can’t wait to see what he comes home with!!! :D And I am continuing on my weight loss journey…a GI virus has helped me to lose at least another 3 pounds the last 24 hours or so…LOL. One day at a time. One year at a time…one check at a time. Whenever we get “extra” money…we set aside money for God first…then pay on debt…save for a goal & a rainy day then get a few things we need. It takes time and determination…but we are determined to reach our goals!
Thanks for the great ideas!!! I will share this with hubby!
Mary Joy those viruses can be rough on you. I do like your positive outlook though (on losing weight:) :) To funny. Look at it this way too you have a head start on everyone else’s Jan. diet. :) Seriously I am sorry you had to be under the weather this time of year but sounds like you have some good news too. Can’t wait for you to tell us what your surprise is. Let us know as soon as you can.
i love the news letter and have read a bunch of things about organization and helping yourself to get out of debt and do better and plan better but i must say this is so well written and easy to comprhend. thank you for this help! right at the new year where we all want to take off and start over this time this year and do much better than last year!
Very encouraging. Especially appreciate the definition of resolution – to reduce to a simpler form. A good thing to keep in mind. If our systems aren’t working, look for ways to simplify them. Good article!
Jill you always make so much sense and make life doable and bearable. God bless you.
Instead of sweeping resolutions I try to start one good new habit or technique/practice each month. It’s not so overwhelming and at the end of a year, I have hopefully helped our family life/health/organizationhousehold or something throughout the year.
I’m with Will on this! I do small monthly resolutions and seem to have more success this way. Great post Jill!
Thank you for the encouragement.
I’ve been following your emails for about a year now, and as always you are full of good advice and plenty of support. So many thanks for the past year and best wishes for the coming year, and to the following emails full of good advice……
Very good advice.
You have a way on focusing in on the real problem and getting at the core, of the matter.
I’ve enjoyed your E-Books, very much, and also wanted to thank you for all of the helpful emails. I always learn something. Thanks againand God Bless,
Thank you for such an encouraging newsletter (and it came just when I needed it). God bless you!
I agree with Susan. I am hoping to loose some weight, but I usually put on the pounds when I get sick instead. I read your emails all the time, and hopefully some of them are rubbing off on me. Keep up the good work
Happy New Year everybody! Just last night after everyone was in bed I took out Digging Out Of Debt. Huge real estate tax increases here in New Jersey have really challenged our 2011 budget. So, off to a rescue from Jill.
This Christmas I made baskets, with the help of Jill in Dining on A Dime, and they were a wonderful hit! I watched for sales on candles, linens and odds and ends throughout the year to fill the baskets and it was no stress but a lot of fun. Thank you Jill.
I read the Newsletters and Tawra, I can’t wait to see if I can buy l00 lbs. of chop meat! Heavens, isn’t that some goal to look forward to!
Thank you for all your wonderful advice.
mary joy .. hope ur feeling better by now … sorry i havent written earlier but this is the first i’ve seen of this posting ..
and what did ur hubby surprise you with? .. just curious ..
jill .. ur an inspiration to me too .. and always encouraging me too .. i appreciate it .. :D
Thank you for this post. It has encouraged me and I am looking forward to reading more on these topics. I am tired of making resolutions (not just at the 1st of the year) and failing and then making it worse by not getting up to try again. Thanks for making me believe it is possible.
I have noticed that when people get into serious debt they usually say no one ever taught them how to handle money. I don’t think anyone gave me formal lessons either, but it’s a simple matter of addition and subtraction–if you don’t have the money, don’t buy it, not even with a credit card. Your newsletter can help one learn to stretch money and make the most of what one earns, but people need to be honest with themselves and quit buying when they don’t have enough money.
Thank you for describing what most people’s homes and outlooks appear to be, at this time of year. I thought I was the only one overwhelmed with the remnants of Christmas past. Your advice is much appreciated. I have started doing a couple of things between Christmas and the New Year, that are becoming a bit of a tradition for me, and they concern organizing and starting fresh. Just some suggestions, and not another obligation for anyone else who would like to try them. On a quieter day, I take down the calendar for the year past, and go through it to mark expected paydays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other regular events (scheduled check-ups, holidays, etc.), on a new calendar, for the year. The old calendar makes a good template. It also is interesting to see what we did do throughout the last year. Because we still keep much of our finances on paper, I also go through our filing cabinet and clean out the folders of old receipts. We keep all important papers (such as past paid taxes, and paid off loans) indefinitely, and keep only the last twelve months worth of receipts for paid utilities, etc. The job can seem overwhelming if it has been a few years since you have done this, but goes very quickly if you do it every year. So while the Christmas clutter threatens to engulf me the last week of December, these two tasks refresh and prepare me for the New Year and I feel like I am ahead of the game, come Jan. 1st.
Thank you for opening your lives to us. I enjoyed you and your ideas and your relationship. It was very gutsy to talk about tithing, I do too. I have trouble with buying, I realized it was a way to distract myself. Then I started to buy in thrift shops only to fill up the house with recycled stuff. Now I make a list of “free stuff” to do for distraction.I plan to download your books to read during this holiday time.
Keep giving us ideas.
Thank you for your kind comment Maria. We love hearing about the great job people are doing with changing things in their lives. Keep up the good work.