Life Audit with me, week three

Welcome to week three of our life audit. How did week two go for you guys? If you have any before or after pictures, I’d love to see them. If you just have any great stories, I’d love to hear them.

For now, let’s move on to week three. 

Menu planning

Stick with me, here. I don’t do a ton of menu planning. I am not a meal prepper. I do like cooking, though. I also like eating. And I cannot be the only person who sits down to write a shopping list, only to forget every meal she’s ever cooked in her life. 

Here’s what I do. I wrote out a list of every dinner I like to make in Trello. I separated them by protein. Then, when I’m making my shopping list, I pull up that menu. Once I’ve made the thing, I put a checkmark next to it so I know I made it recently.

Aside from that, the only meal prepping I do is to double a recipe if it’s something that freezes well. Like meatballs, for instance. That’s something that’s sort of a pain to make, but can be used in at least two different kinds of meals if I have them in the freezer. 

Your lifestyle and family might require more meal planning. But I can’t imagine any less than what I do will be too helpful. 

Papers

Oh my goodness, papers. I love paper so much that it’s literally the name of my blog. But when it comes to the paperwork of life, it’s not my valentine. 

Given that more and more things are virtual I look forward to the day this mountain of paper no longer lives in my house. But until that day comes, let’s sort through this stuff. I spread this project out over the space of two days because it was so daunting. I used a large binder, a three-hole punch, several manilla envelopes, a season of Rick and Morty and a bottle of red wine.

My routine is simple. I hole punch things and put them in the binder with some plastic dividers. Anything that can’t be hole-punched goes into a folder with hole punches.

The biggest question I always have is how long to keep something. Here’s a handy chart I found on The Soccer Mom Blog. 

Keep for one year- Bills, monthly bank statements, monthly investment or retirement statements, pay stubs and credit card bills. 

Keep for three years- statements or receipts for your business, medical bills. 

Keep for seven years- Anything to do with your taxes.

Keep forever- Loan documents, warranties, vehicle titles and personal identification records like your birth certificate. 

Subscriptions

For this one, I’d start by gathering together everyone in the household. Then, make a list of every single subscription service you have. Webkinz, Door Dash, Netflix, Jelly of the month.

Now, do you enjoy those subscriptions? Do you use them? Or are you just paying for something you never use because you forgot about it?

Budget

This is another one that might take some time and family involvement. 

There are hundreds of different ways to budget, and I’m not going to tell you which one you should use. The only bit of advice I’d give is this. If you haven’t already written down your bill due dates in your calendar or planner, do it now. Especially if they’re automatically deducted. 

I enjoyed the book Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry. If you want money advice, go there. This girl has got you.

Desk or home office area

Okay, there’s a good chance your whole home needs a full declutter and reorganization. But aside from the kitchen, there’s no more important place to have in shape than your home office space. Especially if you started working from home this past year. 

I can’t advise more using the Marie Kondo method. Get rid of everything from this space that doesn’t spark joy. Keep only things that are useful or beautiful. If they can be both, so much the better. 

If you don’t have a home office area and don’t think you need one, let me give you some advice. This, again, comes straight from The Flylady. Grab yourself a trapper keeper. Put all your bills and budget info in there. Throw in a calendar, your checkbook, stamps, envelopes. Add in some paper and maybe a planner too. Anything you need to make a to-do list, grocery list, or write out a bill. Include some pens that make you smile. Then stick it somewhere you’ll be able to find it when you need it. Check-in with it once a week, if not once a day. If you can get that together, you’ll be in good shape for the rest of your planning projects.

Goal setting

Now that we’ve cleared away most of the mess, physically and metaphorically, let’s start looking forward. 

I might honestly do a whole multi-part post on goal setting. But for right now, making a goal comes down to two things.

What do you want?

How will you get it?

There are as many goal setting strategies as there are online gurus. But I’ll tell you what works for me. And it comes from a Disney song. Specifically, a song from Frozen II.

Just do the next right thing.

Say you want to write a book. I feel for you. But that’s a giant project. 

You can sit down and map out the whole project if you want. Some people are really into that. Or, you can ask yourself, what’s the next right thing to do to make this happen?

In the case of a book, you might start with carving out fifteen minutes a day to brainstorm. 

When that’s done, what’s the next right thing? Well, you might want to then write an outline or write about your characters. 

Then what’s the next right thing after that? Set yourself a goal to write a certain amount of words or pages every week. 

Then what’s the next right thing after that? 

This works for literally any goal, big or small. 

So that’s it for this week. Honestly, it was a lot. But it feels so good to get all of this stuff under control. I mean, most of the world is not under control right now. But at least we can find our gas bill when we need it. 

Next week, we’re going to talk about auditing your side hustle. See you then. 

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