Further Calendar Thoughts

I’ve received a few questions about how I balance working full-time and still pull off paying bills, doing so much cooking, and blogging.

Aside from the obvious factors of:

  1. I have an awesome and amazingly helpful husband.
  2. I have no children.
  3. I have no pets.
  4. I apparently don’t have a life.

I have a few strategies that I’ve been working on to make sure that bills don’t get forgotten and we don’t eat take-out five nights a week. My primary tool is my calendar.

I’m in the process of trying out something I’m fairly resistant to. I’ve always loved having calendars that I can write on by hand, that have beautiful pictures, and… have we even MENTIONED the assortment of sweet planners there are available in this world?

However, as much as I love them, I always seem to have 5 different calendars that don’t do me any good because they’re all over the place. One on my desk for bills. One in my kitchen stuffed into a cookbook with my meal plans. One at my desk at work for scheduling conflicts. A planner in my purse for personal appointments. You can see my issue here.

Enter the world of technology. I know. I’m moving at lightning speed, can’t you tell?

I’m trying to make Google and iCal (for Mac’s) my new best friend. Believe it or not, I actually arranged it so that my Google Calendar syncs up not only with my iCal on my personal computer, but also with Scott’s Google Calendar so I know his school schedule.

But it gets better. I was able to set up several sub-calendars so my various categories are in fun different colors. Because color is an essential organizational tool for me. It’s true. My basic categories are Meal Planning, Bills & Banking, and Events. I’m working on getting Birthdays and a few other things set up, but let’s not rush progress here. The only thing not on here? Work. Because I have a strict “no work at home” rule. Ahem. Moving on.

Here’s what my calendar looks like. Please don’t mock my severe lack of a social life.

The thing I’m enjoying most is how this works with my meal planning. Since we’re frequently out of town on the weekends, it allows me to see how our weekend schedule is going to affect leftovers and if I need to plan meals for Saturday and Sunday. If I can’t see what we have going on in the upcoming weeks, I tend to get overzealous and plan too many (or sometimes too few) things. Since it’s electronic, I can move and shift around meals as life happens. It also allows me to see when my big bill weeks are, and when money will be tighter so the grocery budget doesn’t have as much breathing room.

Remarkably, having all the meals on the calendar has revolutionized my meal planning and as this month is coming to a close, I’ve saved over $100 on my grocery bills. Woohoo! More about meal planning later.

So, there you have it. I still have calendars all over the place, but finally giving in to an electronic calendar has been a great organizational tool. Even if I am years behind everyone else in jumping on the bandwagon.

How about you? What do you do keep your life organized?

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