i will BE organized

The Journey to Organization. . the Road to a wannabe Cleanie

Organizing receipts!! December 30, 2011

Filed under: finance,Organize,Project — mikailani @ 5:22 am

With all the past Christmas shopping & returning, unorganized receipts got the best of me. I could have received my money back on some items if I only kept my receipt. Im now stuck with a bunch on store merchandise cards I’ll have to use someday [if I remember I have them]. I also missed out on some really good rebates because I lost my receipt. And in a few cases, I wasted money because I cant return merchandise I didnt want in the first place! Oi!

I’ve tried a lot of methods before. Expanding file, envelopes, shoe boxes, scanning, paper clips– almost everything! I was very tempted to ask for a neat receipt for Christmas, but I could use the $200 in reducing debt instead lol!

With my frustration, I started looking around for the perfect system that works for me. I lurked blogs & boards, asked organized people.. Then took the best of what would work for me.

Before the switch, I used recycled envelopes and grouped them by store. Places like rite-aid & cvs was grouped together. It worked … Okay… Before sorting them like this, I would stash all my receipts in one big envelope and file them monthly. That method was easy, but places that have longer return periods got mixed in with everything else.

What wasn’t working [see bottom left picture]
:: it was ugly! I hated my mismatched envelopes.
:: I can’t see what was inside! I didn’t think I was a visual person – but since the old envelopes
:: I would mis file things because I didn’t look when filing.
:: the envelopes were open wide. Sometimes I’d file them in the back of the stash, sometimes I’d file in front.

I knew what wasn’t working & Just had to find something that would be fun for me.

I considered using a photo album and file them there. It would have worked okay, but it didn’t allow the flexibility I want. I couldn’t add stores easily & wouldnt follow an alphabetized system if I wanted to. It would drive me crazy if I always had to thumb to the middle for target! I always shop at target!

After some digging thru my stash, I found a box of shop tickets. I use shop tickets for cheatsheets at work and thought it would be awesome to make some for me at home! I bought my box on eBay a few months ago for about $13 for a box of 100. They fit the bigger index cards & are super durable, clear, and water resistant!

I took a bunch of those shop cards, put in colorful labeled index cards [store name, return period, notes about the store & some of my notes] and then started stuffing my receipts!

Why I love it..
:: they’re pretty! They’re colorful! I wouldn’t mind leaving them out if I had unexpected company.
:: it’s flexible. Since they’re not binded to a spine, I have the ability to file them anyway I wish.
:: there’s no way I can misfile! I can spot a non-walmart receipt in a jiffy.
:: they flatten receipts. I HATE crumpled receipts. Hubbs always keeps receipts in his pocket & mixes them in with my receipts. Drives me nuts! As soon as they’re filed away – it flattens them! 🙂 joy!
:: easy to retrieve! That’s the real test. You can always put things away, but if you can’t find things when you need them – theres something wrong with the system. I think narrowing down the search to a store & certain month/week, retrieval would be a breeze!
:: easy to sort & store! I can have them while watching TV. All I gotta do is slip them in.
:: easy to archive. I still like archiving monthly. I’ll just need to spend a few minutes going thru these at the end of the month to paperclip and file away.
:: easy to add, remove & replace. Should the shop ticket or index card not suite my liking, I can always make another.

I’m excited! There are a few things I don’t like – but they overpower the positives.
:: they’re a little too tight. I have a feeling after a few months, They’ll be perfect! Just like breaking in new 4 inch stilletos.

I hope this method works. I’ll give it a few rounds and will recap in the future.

Here’s a picture of my current colorful method & my old method @ the bottom left corner. They’re not my prettiest pictures [iPhone pictures… My DSLR’s with my brother] but this works for now 🙂


Organizing Finances March 24, 2009

Filed under: finance — mikailani @ 2:42 am

I guess I’m one of the plenty that had no clue what I got into when I lived on my own. My mom never taught me anything about managing money – so I had to figure everything out on my own. I don’t blame here in times of money crunching, but it would have helped if I had a clue on how to budget and organize finances.

Me & my Husband (Married 2 weeks =D) have had plenty of close calls – but we eventually floated back to the top. I had a really big eye opening experience recently which made me committed to organizing our finances.

Starting off, all our bills were scattered everywhere and I had no fixed method or plan for paying bills – I know. . . YIKES! So for the next few weeks, here’s a list of what we’re working on

:: Signed up for http://www.mint.com to track our expenses – I really find this site neat and visually appealing. I love how we’re able to see our BAD BAD spending trend.

:: Set up a faux budget that we need to stick to. – I try to give each dollar a job – It really helps to know that I shouldn’t be spending on things that are not budgeted. And if they’re not, then we gotta re-think our financial plan.

:: Use http://www.ynab.com to budget and reconcile finances

:: Delegate a place for all bills and receipts

:: Save and file away important tax documentation.

:: Make a snow ball plan for our debt.
That’s all for now. Crossing fingers – I hope this works!


I’d like for you to meet my Finance (Fee-Nan-SAY) November 7, 2007

Filed under: finance,Organize,Spreadsheets — mikailani @ 9:55 am

Ah. Finances. Ah. HEADACHES.

My previous post expressed my problems with organizing my finances. The biggest thing is keeping track of my payments and due dates. It’s not the lack of money that stops me, but it’s mainly the unknown.

I always thought that what I don’t know won’t hurt me – but trust me, IT HURTS REAL BAD. I just hate how things can creep up behind you and pop up with a blast. That gets on my nerves. So instead of whining about all that BS, here’s where I started.

A couple of months back – I was all into organizing my finances, it was mainly because I had a new laptop. Now that I my FI uses it, I really didn’t have access to the program I use. I needed something I will be able to access whereever I am, so just in case I wanted to peep in things I needed to do / pay / bill, I’d be able to do this in an instant. This is when Google Spreadsheets came in. I made a spreadsheet of all due bills and created templates to be reused month by month. My initial design of course was severly modified, but it’s actually working great now. I’m able to document and see at a glance what needs to be done by when.

So far it’s working GREAT. I just gotta make a pact to use it always.


And there it goes October 22, 2007

Filed under: finance,pda,schedule — mikailani @ 1:14 pm

I’ve been so freakin stressed these past couple of weeks – anxiety attacks GALORE. I always wondered why I’d get those attacks, and the main culprit is. . . my DISORGANIZATION.

I’ve decided it’s time to get a hold of my life, but where do I start?

My main frustration is finances, so I guess I’m going to start there. Along with finances are my schedules, and keeping track of days and appointments. I always loose sight of those.

I’m not quite sure what works for me, but I have tried the following

:: Wallet Organizer (w/ pages) – this lasted about 2 days. I then stopped using it, much less looking at it.

:: Notebook – It worked, but my problem was sticking with one notebook. I always got tired of notebooks, then stoped using and looking at them.

::Mini Photo Album turned to an organizer – this was great for keeping receipts and other loose paper, but def not the appointments.

:: My CellPhone – i used my cellphone type in various meetings / appointments. I just get lazy since it’s so hard to do (it’s a nextel phone)

I’m thinking of getting a PDA – since I won’t be able to get a treo anytime soon anyways. I think that would work out great – I always use my cellphone, and if I always use it, I’ll always look at it. Given the supereasy use of it, i think I’ll give it a shot.