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Time management

Plan White Space into your Day to Decrease Stress at Work

Too much to do is a common problem for today’s working women and men, especially those involved in management and knowledge occupations. Time management is crucial for these professionals!  (Examples of knowledge occupations: Managers, Programmers, architects, CEOs, healthcare & support, and so on.)

If having too much on your plate is getting discouraging or frustrating, trying a few time management strategies I explore in the article will provide relief.

I worked with a company and the 2 top administrators, a man and a woman, both felt overwhelmed by all the tasks on their plates.  I posed a few exploratory questions to ’Jake’ and learned his schedule was completely overbooked.

“How about delegating some of your tasks to other people here?” I asked.

In this case, both admins said No, it would not be appropriate to delegate several of his responsibilities to others in the company. They felt those people already had enough on their plates.

         So, what is left? Any other strategies we can try for someone with too much on their plate?

 Well, like Mom always said, you’ve got to clean your plate! And I mean that literally.

         It’s time to create some white space.

It’s important to recognize, no matter who you are or what your job is, that things will come up during the day and you need to plan room for them in your schedule.

The best time managers have unstructured time planned into their day.

 The only way to do this is by creating white space into every day.

And the way that works best is if you have a good handle on how long your planned goals for the day will take. That leads us to the first way to reduce stress: Planning.

Step 1: Estimate How Long your Tasks will take

Many time coaches call this time estimating. It’s something I teach in my time management seminar and in private time coaching sessions. A simple but effective concept, which you can do by timing how long different, often repeated tasks take you. Like creating an agenda for an upcoming staff meeting, calls to clients, following up on a lead, or tracking numbers for last week, for example.

How will time estimating help you be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day?

How will this, in turn, decrease stress?

Step 2: Plan for Interruptions and Crises

It is helpful to track how much time each day the interruptions and crises take. Try tracking these for a week or two, then average it.  While you’re at it, observe what time of day have the most interruptions. Then you can plan for these disruptions and a lot of the guesswork will be gone. You’ll have a good idea how many interruptions come and also, what time of day they tend to happen.

Can you see how this would be helpful to you? Try this strategy of actually scheduling enough unstructured hours into your day so that when emergencies come up, you already have time planned and can take it all in stride.

I guarantee your level of stress will decrease!

Step 3: Create an Opportunity List

And one other thing you may be wondering: what happens if I don’t get the amount of interruptions I planned for? This is a good situation to be in!

In that case, planning a list of other things you’d LIKE to get done that week would be handy. I call this an opportunity list.

  1. List tasks or small steps in a project that you’d like to fit in.
  2. Then, in the empty left-hand column, estimate how long each of these tasks might take you.
  3. When a window of time opens up, say you have 15 minutes before your next meeting, plug in one of the 15 minute tasks. 

We all know there is no shortage of things to do. That’s why you’re reading this, yes? So, here’s a challenge for you: Start adding more white space to your day; at first, add 30 minutes, then an hour. Gradually increase it. Remember white space does not have to be one block of hours, you can disperse it throughout the day.

Let me know how this helped you! Once you’ve tried these strategies, reach out to me on FB or Instagram.

Or comment below. Thanks!

RESOURCES:  Why you need white space in your daily routine by Jocelyn Glei

Keep Calm: Prepare Early for the Holidays!

Remember the boy scout motto? Be prepared.

I find the earlier I start preparing for the holidays, the more I enjoy the season. Since I’m a Christian, I’ll concentrate on the Christmas holiday. Whatever your religious faith, December is a busy time of year and most people around you vibrate with stress. If you follow the following tips, your stress will be eased and the holidays will be more fun! Remember a little bit of planning goes a long way.

Why make a list?

  • Tasks not written down often bounce around in your mind, distracting you.
  • You see what you need to do at a glance.
  • Crossing off completed items brings a feeling of accomplishment.
  • A list helps you prioritize your tasks.
  • Your holiday preparation will be more efficient.

Try and set aside 30 minutes at the end of November. Then brainstorm all the things you have to do or want to do before the big holiday.  This can usually be done in one sitting. Then look at your list, cross off a few of your most dreaded tasks, especially time-consuming ones. If it absolutely HAS to be done, it doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do it (the tips will explain). To make it easier next year, save your list on your computer and file it under a folder named CHRISTMAS. You’ll thank yourself later!

10 + tips to simplify the Holidays 

  1. Ask your family what they really care about. Cross everything else off. Get out of the mindset of creating a ‘perfect’ Christmas. It’s amazingly freeing.
  2. Get help. Work together and delegate to family. Ask what tasks they will take on. Make sure to keep each person’s strengths in mind.
  3. Save some time on cards by not sending any, OR by using Sendout cards to do half the work for you! It’s a painless way to send cards to people who are important in your life. With Sendout cards, you make a card online, put in names and addresses, then they send it out for you. No licking envelopes! It costs about $1 per card & stamp. And it will take even less time next year because you’ll have all the addresses entered! My amazingly helpful Sendout cards person: Teresa Ball:
  4. Make cookie dough in early December. To save time in December, I’ve frozen butter cookie dough 30 days ahead of time. then I defrost the dough and  baked cookies. To me,they are delicious and I cannot tell the difference between fresh and frozen dough. For some of my recipes and pictures, see my husband Frank’s blog:
  5. Outsource. Is there anything you could hire out, like putting up outside lights? Or, can you get someone else to do your wrapping? Here in Southern Oregon, the orchestra kids wrap gifts at Fred Meyer for a donation to their program. It’s a win-win!
  6. Mail any domestic packages first week of December. The lines are shorter, and there’s plenty of time to reach loved ones. Plus, you will have peace of mind. Hint: Send books or movies because the US Post Office has a special “media rate” which is cheaper than the regular postage cost. Even easier: order online and have gifts shipped directly to family and friends. No lines, no waiting!
  7. Keep it simple: For teacher and hostess gifts, chocolate and coffee gift cards are the most appreciated. Take it from me, they don’t need more mugs. I recently read an entire article by a teacher, and the top 2 most appreciated gifts are coffee and chocolate.
  8. Going to a potluck? Make it easy on yourself by bringing a one-pot or crockpot meal. Something you can put together in the morning in 20 minutes like a roast, a simple soup or marinated little smoky sausages will save you time and stress.
  9. A few days before Christmas, prepare everything you can for Christmas dinner in advance. Bake pie crusts, tightly wrap and freeze. Cube bread for stuffing. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need. Don’t forget the crispy fried onions for green bean casserole!
  10. Easy Christmas breakfast: Put together a breakfast casserole that stays overnight in the fridge. Then, you get to enjoy Christmas morning because you just pop it in the oven when everyone gets hungry!
  11. Use gift bags and sticker gift tags whenever possible. They save so much time. Have plenty on hand. They are cheaper when bought in bulk online.

Favorite family tradition: The Christmas Jar

This is our family’s Christmas Jar. All year we save our coins in a cute jar with a nutcracker lid. In December, we count the coins and find a local family in need to give it to. We put the jar and the book The Christmas Jar by Jason F. Wright on their doorstep, knock and run. Most of the time we add a turkey or a ham for their dinner and a family gift like a game we enjoy. It’s the best feeling.

The kids really love this tradition. I love it because it helps them develop compassion, generosity, and realize how blessed they are.

5 fun traditions for Holiday cheer

  • Make cookies together. Probably my family’s most cherished—and delicious—tradition. Click for recipes and photos:
  • Lighting candles for 8 days, and having apple latkes.
  • Spend time as a family. Act out the Nativity with costumes using Luke 2 in the New Testament. Include some carols! To make it service-oriented, perform it at a rest home! Bathrobes, towels and neckties make great Shepherd outfits.
  • Go on a tree-hunting adventure at a local tree farm. Find the ‘perfect’ tree or your very own Charlie Brown tree. To find them, type ‘Christmas tree farm near me’ in your browser.
  • Gift matching pajamas to the whole family and open them Christmas Eve or the first day of Hanukkah.

Just for you:  See how many things you can cross off your list with my Simplify the Holidays guide, a free gift!  This guide lists Grants Pass and Medford, Oregon resources for outsourcing holiday decorations, lights, gift-wrapping,  Sendout Card services, and more!

For some Christmas budgeting help:

And for some helpful holiday tips and a fun Organizer’s 12 days of Christmas poem:

10 back to school tips to save you time and energy

Back to School Tips for an Easy Transition

Can you believe it is almost September? It’s almost that time again, for kids, teens and college students to go back to school. If the thought of shopping for school supplies and clothing fills you with dread, I’ve got some pointers to save time and energy.

In the past, I have visited several stores to get the best deals for the long list of school supplies. I don’t do that anymore. It takes too much time. But I think it makes sense to find out which store has the lowest prices on the bulk of things you need, and purchase there.

One way I’ve found to make the back to school easier is to start preparing several weeks early.  Of course, being an organizer, I encourage you to take some inventory first. And that means LISTS!

10 Tips for Quick Back to School prep

  1. Inventory clothing: find out what still fits from last year.
  2. Inventory school supplies: doing a quick inventory of what is left over from last year will save you money, and you won’t end up with 20 pink erasers or 25 one subject notebooks filling up cabinet space.
  3. Make separate lists for clothing and school supplies needed. Does your child need any special sporting supplies, like running shoes or soccer cleats?
  4. Do your research: can you purchase some of your school supplies online and have it shipped, or have an order ready and waiting for you to pick up in the store?
  5. Start to get your kids (and yourself) up earlier to prep them for the earlier wake-up time. Experts recommend using 15-minute increments. Start a few weeks early. That way, you’ll have one week at the actual wake time to get everyone’s internal clocks acclimated. Less grumpiness all around!
  6. Practice your morning routine. Everybody gets up, eats breakfast, brushes, gets backpacks ready, etc.
  7. Speaking of backpacks, make sure and have them loaded with everything but the lunch 1 to 2 days before school starts.
  8. Lunch supplies: Make sure you have a good supply of your family’s favorite school snacks.
  9. Talk about after school routines. Are they going to walk, bike, take the bus or get picked up? This may be different from other years. And talk about getting rides, and checking in with Mom or Dad if after school plans change so s/he doesn’t freak out.
  10. Make a plan for yourself. With children going to school, you may have more time on your hands. Instead of just going with the flow, take time to think about what YOU want to do. Dust off the piano and start playing again? Take a class? Write or paint? Having a plan will keep your mind and spirit active and give you some much needed ME time.

      ~ Jenny

12 Days of Christmas Tips

12 New Tips to make Christmas Prep easier

An early present for you!

This song is all in good fun. When I work with clients, they purge all kinds of funky stuff, which I donate to thrift stores. So, once a year, I celebrate by having a little fun with the 12 days of Christmas poem.  This new and improved 12 days has 12 tips to make your holiday prep less stressful!

On the 1st day of Christmas, my client gave to me: a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Take out one decoration that really inspires you. For me, a homemade advent calendar does the trick. Each pocket has 1 simple activity and a small ornament inside. Keep it simple, silly!

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Do-ahead tip: take stock of your tape, wrapping paper and tag supplies. If you don’t have enough, put them on your shopping list!

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Remember the movie Christmas with the Kranks? Don’t get stuck doing last-minute food shopping like Mrs. Krank. Plan the main dishes and the type of meat you’ll have, then include them on your shopping list too!

On the 4th day of Christmas, my client gave to me:
4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Speaking of Rolodexes:  if you haven’t gotten cards out yet, it’s time to do it. One way I make this easier: Use Sendout cards. It’s a painless way to send out cards to the important people in your life. You make a card online, put in names and addresses, then they send it out. No licking envelopes! It costs about $1 per card & stamp. My Sendout cards contact: Teresa Ball:

On the 5th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: To keep Christmas a happy, not stressful time, do something for someone else! Notice the decorations still left in boxes. You haven’t used them for several years but they are in good shape. Bag them up and stick them in your car to drop off at a thrift store. Know that another family in town will save money and use them to make a festive home!

On the 6th day of Christmas, my client gave to me:6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Don’t forget the cleaning: we don’t want to find sticky jelly beans staining our couch cushions! Just like everything else, make a plan for when to clean certain areas of the house. If you’re having guests one night, remember don’t spend too much time on the floors, they’re just going to get dirty again! Do a quick clean before and a thorough clean after!

On the 7th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 7 gift bags, 6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Remember to keep it simple, silly, to KISS. Don’t overbuy, and stick to your list! I avoid the mall as much as possible by ordering gifts online. I find I don’t impulse buy online.

On the 8th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 8 singing fish, 7 gift bags, 6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: If you’re planning to give cookie plates or simple gifts to friends, neighbors and teachers, order the supplies now. This year I’m keeping it simple and using an idea I found through Pinterest. Hint: Everyone, including teachers, loves chocolate. I literally KISS this Christmas with Hershey’s kisses. Here’s the link:

On the 9th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 9 card boxes, 8 singing fish, 7 gift bags, 6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.
Tip: First you get a trickle, then you get a flood right before the 25th. I’m talking about cards! Some easy display ideas: A simple Christmassy clothesline hung over a doorway or on a beam works well. I created my own compact display by tying ribbons to a decorated clothes hanger and using mini clothespins to attach the cards!

On the 10th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 10 pairs of glasses, 9 card boxes, 8 singing fish, 7 gift bags, 6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: For glass ornaments, put delicate ornaments together, and use bubble wrap or brown packing paper to keep them safe (newsprint may rub off on ornaments). Or make your life even easier by investing in a nifty bulb storage container. Craft or home stores carry these.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 11 Eighties albums, 10 pairs of glasses, 9 card boxes, 8 singing fish, 7 gift bags, 6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Don’t forget to make it fun—play music and movies! While you are wrapping or decorating, crank up the Christmas carols or The Messiah by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square! A great way to store your holiday CD’s is a simple shoe box with a label. You can even store them with your Christmas decorations to save on shelf space during the year. (As long as the temperature doesn’t rise above 90 degrees in your storage area.)

On the 12th day of Christmas, my client gave to me: 12 fridge magnets, 11 Eighties albums, 10 pairs of glasses, 9 card boxes, 8 singing fish, 7 gift bags, 6 sticky jelly beans, 5 silly bands, 4 Rolodexes, 3 rubber chickens, 2 Kleenex boxes, and a pre-lit ceramic tree.

Tip: Christmas is 10 days away. If you’ve planned ahead and made your lists, purchased what you need and done some work, you are in a good place right now. If you are a procrastinator, you’ve waited to get started. Don’t panic. Just pare down your list of tasks as much as possible and outsource. Today is a great time to make some cookie dough, cook up a batch or two and freeze the remainder.

You can even deliver some to friends. I’m sure they will be thankful for you!

In the words of Tiny Tim: And God bless us, every one!

The Climb

This spring, I wasn’t in tip-top shape. Even though I exercise 3x a week at the gym, I lacked stamina. So, when the trail dried out enough, Frank and I started hiking Dollar Mountain, a short walk from our home. I knew it would take conditioning to reach my ultimate goal: to reach the tower, about 3 miles round trip.

Now, a short walk sounds deceptively easy, but the walk TO the hill is one of the toughest parts. It resembles a ski slope in steepness.

So, I started small.

My first milestone: to walk uphill for 45 minutes.

That first day, I huffed and puffed along the way. I have trained my dog Bella to pull me up the hill, which helped. (No, that’s not cheating!) Frank’s encouragement made a difference, as well as my competitive spirit to keep up with him.

The next time we climbed, I wanted to make it farther, to the gravel pit. But time constraints (a morning appointment) kept me from getting there.

To me, the gravel pit represents the halfway point, even though it’s more than halfway. That’s where the grueling final steep climb starts, about half a mile of steep gravelly slope. It’s also where I see the best views of countryside.

The Second Milestone: Reach the gravel pit

Next time we climbed it, I managed to get to the gravel pit. A small celebration for reaching the second milestone.

Then I didn’t hike it again for over a week and lost my momentum.

Today started out different. I told myself I would make it to the top. I had a good night’s sleep, my legs were rested, and the temps were just right—in the 50’s-60’s.  (OBSTACLES REMOVED)

Frank, Bella and I started out well, though he had to wait for me a bit, the first steep climb up TO the trail seemed easier. I made sure to keep up Bella’s training to pull me up the steepest parts, which is just enough of a pull to give me that ‘extra push’.

I enjoyed the view as I caught my breath at our traditional resting point, which is the steepest bit of trail, near the beginning of the climb. From then on, the uphill isn’t as steep until the very end.

So, the trail goes up and down a bit in the next part, with some nice vistas of our green wooded hills and lots of birdsong. We enjoyed a companionable silence. As we came around a bend, the tower we’re aiming for came into view. With encouragement from Frank, and a quick conversation with my best friend, I made it to the gravel pit. By then Frank and I were deep in conversation, and I almost didn’t realize it as we started up the steep gravel slope.

The Final Push to the top

As soon as I started to think how hard it is—right about the same time my glutes are burning, that’s when it starts to FEEL difficult. It’s amazing how the distraction of our conversation at the start of the gravel slope made the hill feel less difficult. I had Bella’s help on the final steep climb, though. Her little tug is just what I need to propel me to the top.

And YAY we are HERE! Touch the wire fence around the tower, because that makes it official (at least that’s what our kids tell us).

I bask in the morning, enjoy the view with my sweetheart, and gratitude fills me up. I did it!

Parallels in your climb to a goal:

  1. Tell me what ya want (goal)
  2. Get movin’
  3. Kick any obstacles in the hiney
  4. Party
  5. A little help from my friends
  6. Keep the tower in your sights
  7. Keep movin’ on up
  8. Reach the peak
  9. Celebrate!
  10. Give gratitude

Questions to think about:

What would have happened if Jenny made the goal to climb to the top the first day she hiked it?  Setting an unrealistic goal will be discouraging if not attained.

What knowledge about myself is pertinent to planning how to reach the goal? This will be different for everyone. Ex: Jenny knows she will not push herself to the point of pain just to reach the top on the first day. She doesn’t like being sore for days afterward.

What obstacles do I face along the way, or perhaps even before I start?

Are there natural milestones on the way to my goal that I can use to mark my progress?  A time, like a month, a distance, an accomplishment?

Who or what will motivate me along the way? Do I need encouragement, competition, a partner, etc.?

What assistance will I need to reach this goal? I had Frank encouraging me and Bella pulling me at times.

Do I have the knowledge or skill I need already? Or:  What do I need to develop or learn to reach this goal?

Who do I know that has done something similar to what I am planning? Will I ask them to mentor me/ answer questions to help me along the ‘climb’?








Workshop: Get Back in the Game

Create your Life Vision  & Fitness Plan for 2017

January is here, and it’s time to get back in the game!

Date:      Wednesday, January 18 from noon to 2 p.m.

Location: True Juice, 124 NW ‘D’ Street, Grants Pass. Bring lunch or order one here.

Cost:       $20 for this AMAZING  2-hour workshop! 2 for 1 offer: bring a friend and each get both workshops for $10! If you come solo and want just one workshop, it’s $10.

Speakers: (at 1 pm) Jenny Morin, Organizer & Coach; (at Noon) Doranne Long, Physical Therapist.

  • Get clear on your burning desire & VISION for 2017
  • Learn 5 steps to SUCCEED with your goals
  • Get INSPIRED for the year & start your vision board                                                      
  •  Get a copy of  Get Organized Quick! Price: $7.99


From Doranne:

  • Use it, don’t lose it
  • Less pain, more FUN!
  • Better physical, emotional, mental and spiritual HEALTH


Get a copy of  Your Body Book!    Price: $ 16.99

Magical Mornings

“Have a magical morning!”  is what we heard every day when we entered Disneyworld. Today, I have some tips to make mornings flow.

How can you avoid the mad dash that happens every day as you get the kids or yourself out the door? It’s stressful most days, and it feels rushed and frantic.

We all know the basics, eat a good breakfast, pick out an outfit, get dressed, and, if you get up early enough, exercise.

What about the other stuff? How can you prepare yourself for the day and get the kids, yourself and your spouse out the door without the mad morning scramble?

Tips for Magical Mornings

  1. This really helps . . . Get up before the rest of your family, even just 15 minutes. I know, I know. It doesn’t sound inviting, especially if you are tired right now. Trust me; it is worth it.
  2. Take time to pray or meditate.
  3. Do some stretches while listening to scripture or an inspirational book.
  4. Get showered if possible and DEFINITELY do get dressed for your first activity before you wake up kids—this really helps. As one of my clients said, when her kids were young, she would get dressed from her head to her socks before she woke her children up, and it really helped her feel put-together.–it’s ok to wear your slippers! Also, it reinforces the habit of taking care of you before taking care of others.
  5. Make a quick plan for the day: what’s for dinner, what’s your #1 priority for the day? Take out whatever needs to thaw for dinner. For quick and easy meal ideas: find it here. to my Pinterest board Easy dinners:
  6. Now you are centered and ready to wake up your spouse and/or children and greet them with kisses and smiles.
  7. And last of all, go to bed earlier. Allow yourself at least 7 hours to sleep and you will awake refreshed and ready for the day tomorrow.

Now go put in a load of laundry. Yay!   Don’t forget to plan when to take it out too. Start a habit for when to transfer the clothes to the dryer… or you’re gonna have to re-wash it tomorrow.

If you do forget and need to rewash, I’ve done some research and experimenting. The best way to get the in-the-washer-too-long smell out is by putting a half cup of baking soda directly on the clothes, then rewash. Detergent not necessary.

And don’t beat yourself up if you cannot manage to wake up earlier one morning.  The routine here is the ideal. If you only have 15 minutes to get yourself ready on any given day, you’ve got to prioritize and pick the activities that are most rejuvenating for you in the morning. ALWAYS do #4, though. It will make you feel better, more put-together.

Bonus: Tips for Getting kids’ stuff ready the night before

  • Make sure homework is done
  • Backpacks loaded with homework, lunch money, permission slips, etc.
  • If your child tends to dawdle over getting dressed, have them pick out an outfit in evening. Better yet, have them pick out 5 outfits on Sunday!

Good Questions to ask kids before they go to school:

Do you have everything? Lunch money? Time they need to be picked up? Who’s picking them up? You, a spouse, or an older sibling?

What activities do they have in the afternoon/evening: remind them and yourself.

I promise, when you follow these tips, most of your mornings will be calm, less stressful, and yes, even MAGICAL!

Save money & time grocery shopping

Get in, get done & get out . . . with 5 cool and EASY meals!

What do you do when you are out of milk and it’s only Wednesday? Don’t panic!  A midweek shopping trip doesn’t need to take long, and you can quickly pick up enough for several meals by following this speed-shopping guide. Follow my shopping list to make five EASY weekday dinners too!

Here’s a tip you already know but don’t always DO:

  1. Make a list before you go into the store. It’s best to make list at home when you can check inventory. See how many boxes of pasta and cans of soup you have, and remember the milk! There is a nifty app that helps you keep track of your food inventory; it’s called Out of Milk. How cool is that!?!

“No matter how good your memory is, write a grocery list. Not only will it make sure you don’t forget things you need, it’ll more importantly deter you from buying the things you don’t need.”                   ~20 Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries, Huffington

Did you know that people who shop with a list spend less than those who skip the list? That extra time in the store will cost you, literally.  Wandering down every aisle leads to impulse buying.

So . . . shopping with a list will save you money! And we all like to save money, yes?


  1. Don’t go to the store hungry. Big mistake! You will spend more if you are hungry. It would be better to buy a snack at the grocery store, eat it and then shop.
  2. Skirt around the edge of the store if you are only after the staples. You’ll be tempted by all the processed foods if you barrel down the center aisle.
  3. Set a timer for yourself to be at the checkout—this helps me focus instead of getting distracted in the produce or snack section; we all have our weaknesses!
  4. Be strong; stick to your list. Limit yourself to, say, 4 impulse buys.
  5. Make sure your list is compiled in order of the store layout. My list is different when I shop at Winco vs. Fred Meyer, for example.

“The more aisles you walk down, the more likely you are to add things to your shopping basket that you hadn’t initially intended to buy. Shoppers who decreased the number of aisles they visited checked out with only half their items being unplanned purchases vs. 68% of items for those who visited most or all aisles in a shop, according to a Marketing Science Institute study.”                                                                                           ~ 29 Ways to Save Hundreds on Groceries,

  1. Need one? Buy two (just in case). This saves you extra trips to the store, and ends up saving you money. How? Because most of us aren’t disciplined enough to come out of the grocery store with just a couple items—myself included!

Cool & EASY summertime dinner ideas:

Plan five dinners and shop for the ingredients. My choices for a hot, sticky summer week are some easy family favorites.  Many of these are cool meals, just right for sizzling summer temps. Chicken pasta salad (one of my kids’ favorites), Hawaiian haystacks, Taco salad, Potato Pizza and BLT salad.

Shop first in the produce and bakery sections. Pick up a pound of seedless grapes, 3 large heads of Romaine lettuce, 6 tomatoes, 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, 5-10 lb. baking potatoes (pre-bagged is cheaper), and a bag of carrots. Add two baguettes to serve as sides for Taco salad and Chicken Pasta salad.

Next, hop over to the canned goods and dressing aisles. For Hawaiian haystacks, get pineapple chunks and canned chicken.  For Taco salad, get some kidney beans. Potato pizza needs tomato sauce, and Chicken Pasta salad uses ranch dressing—a lot of it!

Shop the meat and cheese coolers. Get a Rotisserie chicken for Chicken Pasta salad, ground beef (or ground turkey) for Taco salad, bacon and mozzarella cheese for Potato pizzas, 2 lbs. chicken breasts for Hawaiian Haystacks, and more bacon for the BLT salad. I firmly believe you can never have too much bacon! Yum.

Also, grab Doritos, taco seasoning, Rotini noodles, slivered almonds, and rice if you don’t have it on hand.

And don’t forget the ice cream!

Find the complete recipes for these five yummy, easy dinners here:



Grocery store hacks, Real Simple, Jan. 2015, 110.

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