Errr, well yes. Massively, in fact. Being organised is instrumental in saving money.
I am not an organised person. Just ask my mum, a super-organised, tidy woman who got dumped with 4 incredibly disorganised and messy children. I struggle to hang my coat up. I drop wet towels on the floor rather than hanging them up straight away (I hang them up a few minutes later now, but don’t think that it comes easily to me). My lack of organisation didn’t bother me re. my finances, because I never overspent, and I was fine with that. However, when it comes to actually saving money, you need to get yo’ shit together. So I did. I know where my money is, and the house is tidy. Yesss.
So, HOW does being organised save you money?
I know I probably don’t need to explain this to you, but maybe it’ll give you that little push to get your budget sorted.
- You won’t miss any bills and be subject to late payments
- You’ll be able to budget more accurately for things like food
- You’ll know exactly how much you can save vs. how much you can spend on crap. Knowing how much ‘free’ money you have to spend on whatever you like is awesome for saving money, from a psychological standpoint. It stops that feeling of austerity that can often lead to overspending and burn out.
- You might be able to stop bigger bills from accumulating. For example, preparing your car for winter (read how here) might save you from a costly mechanic’s bill. If you know your washing machine’s on the blink you can start saving for it before it’s final hurrah, so you don’t need to buy one on credit. That kind of thing.
- You’ll feel better. No more wondering if there’s enough money in the account to pay the rent, no more going out for dinner and then worrying about it later. You’ll have a system.
How the heck do I get organised?
You need to sort out your budget. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. You don’t need anything more than a pen, some paper and your bank statement/record of your bills.
- Write down your income
- Write down your outgoings: rent/mortgage, electricity, gas, water, food, petrol, any healthcare stuff and necessary insurance. This is your bare bones budget. Oh, and debt repayments, if applicable.
- Add in your extras. We have Cineworld cards, but this could be things like Netflix, a Glossybox or Amazon Prime. Outgoings that you have every month, but which aren’t strictly necessary,
- Subtract your outgoings from your income. If you have nothing left, you need to either reevaluate your extras (and your food bill) or make more money. Sorry.
- If you have some left, work out how much you want to save and how much you want to spend on things like eating out. I’d recommend £50 a month spending money to start with, just to ease you in, and then reduce that over time.
In a side note, we don’t include eating out in our spending money, if possible. Instead, we take it from our food budget, which is £60 a week (that includes cleaning products and things like toothpaste/toilet roll). We aim to spend £50 and then put the leftover tenner towards a meal out. I won’t lie, we don’t often save £10 (I like wine), but then the consequence of that is that we can only go for coffee rather than a full meal, or we have to supplement it with our spending money.
That’s your money organised a little. Obviously, there are more detailed budgets out there, but you don’t need one. You just need to stick to the one you’ve written down. A fancy-pants budget will be of no more help than a simple one if you continue to overspend. We put a certain amount each month into our joint account – enough to cover our outgoings, plus a little extra for things like vet bills. The rest we put into savings, and we leave a little bit in our current accounts to spend. Dave has his phone bill plus whatever he spends on his tropical fish, I have things like Boardbooster and makeup, because I’m a basic blogger.
So other stuff to keep on top of:
- Your car. Get it a health check. We’ve just had the tracking on ours done (basically the wheel alignment) which was £60 but will massively improvement the lifespan of the tyres, and improve their grip.
- Your house. Do the dishes. Vacuum. Read this post if you’re too lazy to clean. If you’re terrible at this, see if you can work a cleaning lady into your budget. It sounds crazy, but that £20 or so a week may be worth it. Why does cleaning help you save money? It ‘s great for your mindset and mental health. Coming home to a tip sucks.
- Actually, consider as a whole how you feel when you’re coming home from work. If you’re coming home to a lovely, clean home and you know what you’re going to be cooking (perhaps it’s already prepared, and just need popping in the oven) you’ll be less likely to say ‘fuck it, let’s go out for dinner’. True story.
- Your health. Go to the dentist. Don’t eat too much. Make a lot of what you eat plants. I can’t tell you to go to the doctor because I never go, so that’s a bit hypocritical, but try to keep healthy and active as much as you can.
Draw up a timetable
I love me a timetable. All colour coordinated and pretty. Why do I have one? Well.
I’m queen of spending all day cleaning the house and nothing else. Or spending all day drawing my timetable, so usually, I just write myself a list. On my days off, I don’t physically write it down, but I like to set out my day logically, but so I’m as productive as possible.
I have a full-time job, as well as a blog, so my days off need to be pretty well organised, otherwise I’d never get anything done. I say to myself, ‘ok, by 9am you’ll have scrolled through Twitter and caught up on Bloglovin’ and maybe added your Tailwind queue and definitely had coffee. By 11am you’ll have completed a blog post and got it scheduled. By 1pm you’ll have cleaned the house. By 2pm you’ll have gone for a run.’
I then reward myself with a shower.
One of the issues you can have with being super organised is that you end up continually rewarding yourself, so sort out some rewards that are free. A shower’s a great one.
So, I have my shower at 2 and pop on some fresh pjs (also a great reward). Whilst I’m cleaning I decide what I’m making for dinner (it means that if I don’t have any of the ingredients I can pop to the shops after my run). I’ll make my lunch and then start preparing dinner. I like to make things like lasagne where I can get the whole thing prepared and it just needs shoving in the oven AND you can get the majority of the washing up done beforehand. By 4pm I’m sat back on the couch. If I’m super organised I’ll do some work on the story I’m writing, but I’m really bad at that. I find it best to work in coffee shops, so I sometimes (ok, once) take my laptop and go there.
To me, that is one of my ideal days off. I have 2 days off a week, and the other one is equally good, but it goes like this:
8am – wakeup. Much coffee and twitter.
10am – leave the house
10-3 – walk Blue Cross dog.
3-4 – lunch.
4-7 – tv and nap (with blanket on sofa)
7-11 – something incredibly stodgy and unhealthy for tea (mash, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings and a Linda McCartney pie is the dream), followed by copious amounts of wine.
The effectiveness of the timetable is incredible. If I don’t impose one on myself, I end up scrolling through Twitter and doing nothing, then I’m still writing my blog post at 7pm, when I could be watching endless reruns of Futurama, safe in the knowledge I’ve got my blog post done. It also leaves me free to pick up freelance work on Textbroker (although the UK one never has many articles, unless you want to write about sugardaddies D:).
Ideas for free rewards
As I mentioned before, the only problem with being super-organised is our tendency to reward ourselves unnecessarily. I wouldn’t recommend never rewarding yourself because that’s just so sad, so here are some free(ish) rewards:
- A really long, hot shower. Or bath, depending on how you roll. Obviously they’re not completely free, since you pay for them through your gas/electricity bill, but pretty cheap.
- A duvet day. Read here how to have a good one. Don’t overuse these – they tend to lose their appeal if you have more than one every other month or so.
- A nap. Again, don’t make this a habit – I tend to limit myself to my Sunday afternoon one – so that you can really relish it.
- An hour or two watching TV or reading a book, guilt free. Work it into your timetable.
I tend to work my rewards by thinking to myself, ‘if I can get x, y and z done by such and such a time, then I can watch Bob’s Burgers. This works well because the TV sets the time limit. If I don’t get it done, I won’t watch it. If I do get my task done, it’s a lovely little reward that’s cost nothing, and only lasts an hour.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and it wasn’t too rambly. It’s one of those subjects that just pours out of me. I’m a naturally extremely lazy person, and getting organised is quietly life changing. I love that it massively improves your quality of life without anything having to change. I’m finding this hard to explain…ok, so, even if you HATE your job, that doesn’t mean your life has to suffer. Sure, you can hate the 9-5, but you can thrive in the evening. You don’t have to spend it in a messy house, worrying about your finances. Getting your life in order can also give you the energy it takes to make a change if you want to.
Was that too deep? Still, the power of a quick hoover is pretty impressive. Have a great Monday!