As a mother of three, I often find myself overwhelmed with a million and one things to do.  Together with my husband, Greg, we manage home, work, and church responsibilities along with various activities for our children including piano, singing, and gymnastics lessons – just to name a few.  Then add to the list, the all too often obligatory weddings, birthday parties, baby showers, etc.  It can all become a bit too much!

I found myself not having time to go to the grocery store or even cook dinner on some nights.  Hours in the day would seem to just fly by.  I would look up and it would be 9:00 p.m., and I was exhausted.

Besides causing stress and fatigue, being unorganized was also taking a toll on my family’s finances. Every weekend we would have a million things to do and most activities came with some sort of price tag attached.  We were constantly buying gifts on the go and not taking time to research whether or not that purchase was a good deal.  We also spent a lot of money eating out and buying fast food which can add up quickly for a family of five.  I also felt guilty because most of our fast food options were not necessarily the most healthy.

I knew I needed to regain control of my life and establish some sort of roadmap for my family.  My first action item was to establish a budget.  Budgeting is very important because it provides structure for our finances.  I gathered all my expenses for the month and broke them down week by week.  I also designated amounts for tithing, saving, and spending.  I included all of our recurring monthly expenses including gas, groceries, and utilities (i.e. water, gas, electric, cell phones).  I also included expenses that occur less frequently like property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, etc.

Once I created our budget, I could see exactly how we were spending our money.  After determining how much was needed to cover our living expenses, we began tackling debt with what remained.  I’m proud to say we are aggressively working our way towards being debt free.  All debt has been paid off with the exception of our mortgage and student loans.

After organizing our finances, the next step in gaining control was to organize my time. Time is one of the most valuable resources we each possess.  I start the beginning of each week by writing down a menu of what I will cook each day and making sure I have all of the ingredients for each meal.  When we don’t have all the items, I place an order with my grocery store online.  This saves me the time I would spend in the store, plus I’m not cruising the aisles with my kids who would place additional items in the cart costing more than I originally planned.  Once I have the weekly meal plan and the desired food items in hand, I meal prep for the week in advance.

With our finances and food in order, I moved on to family time.  Spending time together as a family and enjoying one another is very important to me.  I schedule a family outing every other week.  We go cart racing or swimming or even take simple trips to the library.  I also set aside time for homework help and 30-minute reading sessions each night.

As mothers, we tend to put everyone else first.  While getting my life in order, I decided to make “me” time a priority as well.  I choose to focus on my faith.  I schedule time for myself to write in my gratitude journal each night.  It helps me reflect on how much I have to be thankful for and how truly blessed I am.

I have found that being organized is necessary for me because it creates structure in my life and allows me to stay in control by reducing stress and using my time more efficiently.  I can also say that we as a family are healthier, both fiscally and physically, as a result.

PDS Planning strives to do that very same thing for our clients!  We are here to help you organize your financial life by collaborating to create a plan to help you reach your goals.  We even offer clients a great budgeting tool with our E-Money client portal to help our clients stay on track.  Using that tool, our clients have the ability to create budgets, track spending, and even ask for our help with budgeting if they choose to.