I do love the freshness of the New Year - new plans and "revolutions" [YFG today!] afoot, and the chance to start again at something, at everything!
I have made myself another household planner, using a discarded lever arch file that the EFG was no longer using, and some pages I have printed off from the internet. A calendar page for each month, a seasonal picture front cover page for each month, 12 "what have I spent?" pages to help me to track where the money goes, and a nice set of dividers from the stationery stash, and I am all set in there. All the letters about hospital appointments are now filed in the appropriate month, so we remember to go, and know where to go, and dates are on the calendar pages. All our income is on the calendar too, that I know of, so that I know roughly when we have money coming in. There is also a list of Direct Debits in the front cover so that I know what is going out and when, more to the point. I have updated our contacts lists, and it is all looking good. I do need to add a family weigh-in chart for the three eldest of us as we do need to track our weight. I shall do that in a minute.... All it has cost me is my time and some ink and paper. Not bad, and very personal for me and for us as a family.
I have also found and printed off a Bible reading plan from the internet so that is pasted into a notebook, and I am taking pleasure in reading according to the plan and then ticking off each chapter or set of chapters as they are read. Some things are coming together at last!
Excel spreadsheets are my favourite way to track our savings and where it all is. Our savings are distributed across several institutions so it helps me to see what is where, and I have to say that I also track the points I am earning on the websites and schemes I told you about yesterday. This spreadsheet lives on my desktop on the computer, but it is password protected for privacy. Updating it every Monday helps me to see where we are going and to give me an inspirational boost for the week ahead, or a bit of a motivational boot if it isn't going so well. Some months don't go particularly well, and then others make up for it all. I shall set up the 2014 spreadsheet tonight so that it is ready for the morning.
Monday morning is monitoring time here. I check with all the banking and see what's what, and then I read the electricity meter to see how our usage has been over the past week: I submit the reading online which also means that the electricity company is bang up to date with what we are using. Occasionally I have seen that the monthly payment needs to be adjusted and I can get in touch and ask them to alter it so that we don't build up a debt, if we seem to be using more or if the prices have been hiked. We are on a fixed price tariff at the moment, but when we changed at the end of our previous deal, we had to increase the monthly payment because the price had gone up.
I also like to know what is happening in the week ahead, so Monday is also a good time for me to look at the planner and diary and make sure they match, and then to chat with the FH about where we have to go or what I have to do, if I have meetings. The menu plan is a huge help now that I have started to be more organised with it.
The menu plan works around what I have in the cupboards and freezer first and then I shop to supplement what I have already. I have looked around the stores and planned the menu for the whole of January this time, so that we can work ahead and freeze some main meals to save time and energy too. I know that I have to buy some fresh produce like veg and fruit, but I shouldn't need rice, pasta, meat, sauces, baking goods, etc or any toiletry items either this month - unless I see a sale on Nouvelle toilet rolls!