Traveling Stress-free

Traveling can be very stressful. It takes a lot of preparation to take a trip. First you have to book a flight far enough in advance to get a good deal. Then the entire week before you leave you need to make sure you pack all the clothes you’d like to wear during your trip, all your toiletries, all your shoes, your electronic gadgets, any medication, and whatever the heck else you think you may need. No matter what, once you get to the airport or finally get to your seat on the plane you start asking yourself, “Did I pack my glasses?” “Did I forget that dress in the closet?” “Don’t tell me I forgot to pack that gift for so-and-so.” “Did I leave the oven on?” “Does this sweatshirt make me look fat?” HAHA, just kidding. Although this blog post won’t be able to tell you if you left your appliances on at home or if your attire makes you look fat, it can help you with not forgetting the essentials.

About a week before your trip sit down and make two lists. One list for the things that you need to do before you head to the airport/train station/bus station or whatever and one list for things that you need to pack. I’m heading back home to Pittsburgh this Thursday and I thought I’d show you guys how I create my pre-traveling lists. 


To Do List

You may need to enlarge this image to see.

Everyone knows I love me some highlighters! As you can see my To-do list is on the top of the page. I used three different highlighters to distinguish between the three days this week that I had available to do anything. On the bottom of the list is what I need to pack and I used the same three highlighters to indicate which bag I want the items to go in. Creating the list this way makes it nearly impossible to forget anything! Get done what you need to get done on the day that you said you would. Pack your items in the bags that you’ve selected and TAAA-DAAAAA! You can travel worry-free. Allay your mind and enjoy your trip, no matter where you’re going.






Organizing on a Budget – #7

Storage crates/boxes are one of my absolute favorite things! They make everything so much more simpler to find and store. This week at Target they have storage crates on sale for $3! you can store anything and they even hold letter size hanging files which is awesome.

I have a ton of magazines in the bottom drawer of my white storage set that I’m in the middle of throwing away but any time I would open that drawer all of my binders on top would fall over so I used one of the storage bins to help me out until I can get rid of the magazines. I really like it because I can store my binders on the their sides and it’s easy to see which binder is which and also easier to just grab and go.

It’s also really great storage for under the sink in my bathroom. I can store cleaning products in one and feminine products in the other and it saves me a lot of room in my bathroom closet for all the other junk that’s taking up too much space.

This would also be a really good item to store all the sports equipment that you may have in your trunk for the kids like baseball gloves, basketballs, soccer balls and pads, etc. It would also be a great storage bin for magazines, which I should really think about since I’m trying to move all the magazines from my storage drawers. Normally, I try and find an alternative product online so that in case there isn’t a Target near you then you can buy the product off Amazon or something but I didn’t have any luck finding a similar product for a comparable price. Sorry 😦

Btw, sorry for leaving the blog hanging the past couple days. I was out of town late last week and then just been a little busy this week. I’m trying to re-re-arrange my office area again. Yes, I said re-re-arrange. Looking for a big desk or craft table and having no luck but I have a few projects coming up that I’m excited about and excited to share with all of you!

Convenient Uses for Mason Jars

I love mason jars! I think everyone on Pinterest loves mason jars as well. Recently I was browsing through some posts and came across Food Paradise’s blog and she was painting the inside of jars. I loved the look and normally I wouldn’t even attempt to try it but I thought I’d give it a shot because she made it look so easy.

I got the mason jars at Christmas Tree Shop for $.89/each and the acrylic paint was on sale at AC Moore 2 for $1 so I got a bunch of different colors. One of these small 2 ounce bottles of paint wold be enough for two mason jars.  Then all you have to do is put some paint in the jar add a couple drops of water and then just kind of wiggle it around until all the sides are completely covered.

Once you do that, you want to turn it upside down and let the excess paint drip out. I left mine upside down for about 20 minutes then sat it up right for 15 minutes or so then flipped upside down again for another 20 minutes. After that I just set it up and let it dry overnight.

After letting them dry overnight I sprayed them the next day with a clear cote matte finish acrylic sealer.

I got this at AC Moore also. It was $4.50 but I got it for $2.25 with a coupon. It’s definitely essential to keeping your jars looking nice and protected inside.

Then I put all my q-tips, cotton balls, cotton swabs, and makeup sponges in them and now they live on my bathroom counter!

The colors are great! I really like them. It’s like a little make over for the traditional mason jar. I wanted to use a mason jar for all my makeup brushes but there was too many so I got a small vase and filled the bottom with stones and now that’s on my vanity.

I also use mason jars to store my incense and to hold some pens and pencils.

Mason jars are perfect containers for homemade mod podge!

Mason jars are really cheap and have endless great storage possibilities. Decorating mason jars is also VERY easy and extremely inexpensive. If you’re like me, and not really the type to try a DIY kind of project, you at least need to try painting the inside of a couple mason jars. It’s so fun and gives color to places that may need it!


Where do you use mason jars? Have any great ideas? Let me know! Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail at

Recent Purchase – #1

Before you start reading this, I just wanted everyone to know that it took me about an hour to write this post because I’ve been so distracted ALL DAY! I opened up the “New Post” page and typed in the title, then put on some music, then started writing a little and then stopped to eat some potato chips, then wrote a little more and then called my mom, wrote a little more and then had a dance party in my living room. Yeah, I said a dance party. Anyways

I’m an avid Groupon purchaser. Sometimes they have really great deals that I just can’t pass up. A couple months ago they had $10 yearly magazine subscriptions, two weeks ago they had hookahs, and then last week I found this…

The Laundry Pod!

Have I ever told you the story about how much I hate doing laundry? No? Well it’s a long one and the cliff notes go a little something like this: I FREAKING HATEEEEE LAUNDRY!

We don’t have our own washer and dryer in our apartment. We have to go to a shared facility that’s like a block away to do any laundry or we have to go to a laundromat. It sucks! So anytime I need anything washed I need to pack up a laundry basket, pack up the car, and drive down the block to the communal laundry room, unload the car, and do the laundry. And here is the kicker… it costs us $5 a load! Not only is it soooo time consuming, it also costs a lot of money. I usually send Sam to do it (insert evil laugh here).

When I saw this product on Groupon, I immediately went and searched for reviews and videos of people using it and it actually looked pretty cool and kinda fun.

Umm, yeah it totally looks like a salad spinner for your clothes but that’s part of the awesomeness. It can’t hold a lot of clothes and I’m not saying that it’s going to completely rid me of  using the communal laundry room but it’s definitely a huge help. During the week if I need a couple t-shirts washed or something, it’s super easy to throw them in here, churn it as if I’m making butter for about 10 minutes and then setting the clothes out to dry on my drying rack. I’ll still need to go to the dreaded laundry room to wash towels and sheets and stuff like that, but pretty much everything else can be washed in here. Not only is it super portable and a super space saver, it’s also super green. And I say green as in eco-friendly. This baby doesn’t need electric and it uses way less water than an actual washer.

So, in conclusion, if you live in an apartment, go camping a lot, or just want to save the universe one laundry pod at a time, you should really get this. It’s easy to use, easy to put away, and it’s just easy. I probably only have to go to the laundry room once or twice a month. That alone gets me super excited!

Happy Friday!

Cheap Travel Kit For The Car!

I have this weird reoccurring dream that I’m driving through a desert like setting at night and my car breaks down. Don’t ask me why! I don’t think there are any desert-like roads in New Jersey but for some reason I still think my nightmare is relevant – Hahaa! That nightmare is the reason I always keep a few necessities in the car at all times. Remember those $.97 storage boxes I told you about last week in my Organizing on a Budget #4? Well that’s what I’ve used to put my kit together.

My kit includes:

– Toilet paper, because you never know when you’ll have to go. I know this all too well. But that’s another story!

-Small first-aid kit

-Bottle of ibprofen

-Pack of Wet Ones wipes that are on sale this week at Target for $1, by the way.

-Small bottles of shampoo & conditioner

-A mini lint roller. I don’t know why, but I never notice that I need a lint roller until I’m in natural light (like when I’m sitting in the car), so I added a mini lint roller to my purse and to the car kit.

-A little pack of tissues

-Hand sanitizer

-A small bar of soap that I stole from Harrah’s Casino in Atlantic City 🙂

– Swiss army knife (w/ a wine bottle opener!)

-And matches, in case I really do get stranded in the desert and need to start a fire to stay warm in the freezing cold nights to keep away the dangerous animals and desert scorpions that are all out to attack me! (Alarm clock goes off)… Oh, just a dream.

So the whole kit was under $10 to put together and I think it’s well worth it because you never know when you’ll need some of this stuff. Some things I might add is maybe a couple bottles of water. Maybe a couple small bags of snacks or nut bars that won’t melt or get gooey if left in the hot trunk. Super easy to customize and actually pretty fun to think of all the scenerios when you might need this.

Happy hump day!

Yearly Budget Spreadsheet!

Here we are again! With the last and final part of the financial spreadsheet. With this Yearly Budget Spreadsheet you’re going to be able to track all of your spending all in one place! In order to be able to complete this spreadsheet, you’re going to need to finish the Monthly Budget Spreadsheet, first. If you need that template, let me know!

It looks similar to the Monthly Spreadsheet, right? Well, it’s supposed to.


The first column should be labeled ‘Budget’ and this is where you’re going to input all the information that you have on your ‘Monthly Budget’ spreadsheet. All of the same amounts, same categories, etc. I’ve added ‘Additional Income’ to this category, but you want to make the monthly budget $0.00 because you don’t want to expect any additional income, but if you get it, you have somewhere to put it. I use ‘Additional Income’ on my personal spreadsheet because my husband works in sales and often gets a commission check so I put that commission check amount in this spot. So if you or your partner get commission or maybe you sell stuff on Ebay or have a little side business going where you make funky bracelets or something crazy, I dunno.. you might just want to put this extra row on your sheet.

Then the next part is simple:

You’re just going to label the next columns with the upcoming months and you’re going to keep track of how much you spend in each category. Remember when I said to make a Monthly Bill Binder?  Well this is where it would come in handy. You keep all your bills together when you get them and then sometime near the end of the month, take a half hour on a Sunday morning and go through the binder. Input all the totals from your bills, grocery receipts, pay stubs, etc. It doesn’t take long at all. Add them all up and see how you did this month.

I’m going to explain the sample sheet a little further.

These are the ‘Household Expenses’. As you can see in the sample, some of the expenses may fluctuate like I said in the Monthly Budget post but all you need to do is just type in the exact amount when you receive the bill. You can see that on the Yearly Budget Spreadsheet I’ve added a category that I didn’t have on the Monthly Spreadsheet and that is ‘Miscellaneous’. I consider Miscellaneous to be trips to Target for household supplies or  beauty items, stuff like that. Also, let’s say you have to go to a birthday party this month and you need to buy a gift for someone. I would put that total under ‘Miscellaneous’ also.

‘Gas’ and ‘Maintenance’ will probably be the only categories under Automobile that will change much. One month you may get an oil change, the next month you wont, and maybe the next month your tire blows out and you need to purchase a new one. Those are pretty crazy fluctuations. Add them to your sheet to keep it together!

Your liabilities can be different every month also. Like I said in the Monthly Budget, you’ll want to just put what you’re comfortable with spending. Some months you may want to pay more based on how much income you’ve got and some months you may feel better paying less.

Savings will change, most likely every month, so you can be prepared for that with this spreadsheet. At the end of the year it will be awesome to see how much money you’ve put away!

Isn’t this so inspiring? This is how you can see how much money YOU can save each month if you just STICK TO THE BUDGET! And that’s the trick! Not this spreadsheet or the planners or the binders. Sticking to the budget is definitely what you need to be doing. People think that coming up with the budget and keeping everything organized is the hard part, but it’s not even close! These spreadsheets are just going to help you stick to it!

I was actually thinking yesterday that if you made these spreadsheets and then kept cash for things that you’ll be buying in separate envelopes, kinda like the ‘Envelope System‘ that She Makes Cents wrote about, it might work really well! Most people pay for their bills like cable, electric, rent, cell phones, etc either online or by check, so you would keep that money in the bank. But let’s say you take out money for food, entertainment, and miscellaneous things and put them into their own labeled envelope and once those are gone, they’re gone. Except for maybe food. If you need more money for food then I think it’s ok to take out some more, unless you’re going out to eat all the time or getting fast food, then it’s a no-no. That way, you’re only using your bank account to pay for bills and then you’re using the cash in your envelopes for things that you may typically get carried away with. Because I KNOW that if I walk into Target and see a bunch of stuff I want I’m going to pull out that debit card or credit card and tell them to charge it!… But if you go in there with your envelope and you see how much money you have left to spend for the ENTIRE month, you may think twice. I think I’m going to try this next month and I’ll let you know how I do. If you try it or already do something similar, let me know!


So that is it for the spreadsheets. Isn’t it sad? 😦 LOL

We’ll do this like the last time. If you’d like the Excel spreadsheet template, the PDF template, or the GoogleDocs version, let me know either in the comments or email me at If you leave me a comment please be sure to also leave me your email address!

If I sent you the Monthly Budget Spreadsheet, then I have your email and I’m going to just automatically send you this one so that you don’t even need to bother asking for it!

Hope you enjoy!

Target Bargains!

I was wandering through Target today (what else is new, right?) and ended up in the $1 aisles again and I found the cutest little boxes.

They’re called cash boxes and they come in adorable patterns and they’re only $1! I thought they were so fabulous that I bought a few of them. What a great idea for boxing the greatest gift… MONEY! For example, my younger sister wants a DSLR camera which cost $400+. Sadly, I can’t afford to buy her one, but you can make a donation towards it!

That way, she can use the box as a ‘piggy bank’  to save her money for her dream camera and I’m not stuck with a $450 bill!

I think it would also be great for like a “Dream Vacation Fund” or even a small savings box. OR have you heard of the “Five Dollar Savings Plan”? If not, check it out on Happy Simple Living’s blog and read up. Basically, you just save every $5 bill that you acquire. Seems pretty easy.

Well, that’s it. Just thought I’d share my purchase with everyone because I thought it was pretty cool.

Have a great day!

Declutter by Donating!

When you’re cleaning and you find THAT object, just laying around, time after time. It doesn’t matter what it is but you don’t use it and it’s always just in the way! I have a solution for that.

Make a Donation Station in your home! Just get a box or one of these big storage containers and label it so that everyone in the house knows what it’s for. Since Sam and I have been rearranging stuff in our apartment, we’re coming across a few things that we haven’t ever used or no longer use. Like:

Some bags and totes that I haven’t used in forever. And…

This weird light thing that we bought at Ikea that we haven’t ever used. Along with a bunch of other stuff that we just always see in the weirdest places and we can never figure out a designated spot for.

This is a perfect idea if you have a child with way too many toys! When you see a couple toys laying around that you haven’t seen your child play with for awhile, throw it in the box.

My rule is we put it in the box and then we wait 30 days. If the object hasn’t been taken back out or put to use or we don’t know of anyone that needs it, then it gets donated at the end of the month. It’s a win-win situation for you. On one hand you got rid of that annoying object that was cluttering your area. On the other hand you feel satisfied that you donated so that someone who needs it will find it and be able to put it to use!

Are you ready?!

Papers all over the desk? Bills gone unpaid? Can’t find that paper you got in the mail? Can’t find ANYTHING?

Sound familiar?

Well, let me help you organize and coordinate your life! I promise it’s not hard and it won’t take long. You’ll thank me for it later. I’ll walk you through everything, including: keeping track of bills, finances, organizing your home office, kitchen cabinets, nail polish, make up drawers, meal planning, etc. Believe me, if it needs organized, I have the solution. Everyone can benefit from this blog so follow me and let me make organizing fun, exciting, and easy for you!