Take Note Part 3

whoo hoo — the last part! (for now…)
it’s approaching the end of the year, so the household binder is due for a cleaning. soon. very soon. at the end of every year, i really appreciate the binder, especially in assisting me to have a good file cabinet. important receipts and pay check stubs are filed away. note that they are already in chronological order if you start from january! (awesome.)

when one month is over, i actually place its folder and sheet protector in the back so that the current month is what I open to. even after all that shuffling for two whole years, it’s still durable and strong. except for the october tab sticker falling off, I haven’t had to repair anything.

the whole idea is to have a temporary home for important documents. stay calm if the papers don’t all line up perfectly inside a folder. it really isn’t a big deal because as we all know, time flies and things will shuffle in and out of the binder. the first step is just to place everything in the correct month and go from there. 

when all is said and done, remember simple life principle #1: find an exact (household keeping) system that works for your life.

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Take Note Part 2

simple life principle #1: find an exact (household keeping) system that works for your life.

i could go on and on about the binder, so part 2 of 3. almost there
after every month, i go back to the sheet protector of the month and take out all the receipts. we have a pretty good budget set up already, but one expense i actively monitor is groceries because it is our number one expense after rent.

i go through all receipts, add them up and keep track of monthly food expenses in an excel chart. so far, i have a couple of years worth of data that helps inform me of the average cost of food by month.

another perk of the household binder is that returning things to the store is easy, as long as you properly file receipts away and remember when you bought the item.

i also do a cleaning of the receipts every once in a while. most places like target have a 90 day return policy. so after every month, I go back 3 months and clean out receipts i don’t need. this helps thin out the binder because if you are a shopper like me, that binder can get really thick. always keep receipts for places like costco who have a very nice return policy. also, you want to keep receipts for warranties or satisfaction guarantee items like my favorite oxo.

a good place for those precious receipts is in the little pocket behind your index cards but a file folder would do too.

Chinese Bakery Cake

this cake is so good. i put this photo up so all your mouths can water (evil laugh)
it’s found in the bakery section of big asian marts or chinese bakeries in so cal.
i’m talking about the white cake with cream and fruit (it comes in various shapes and sizes depending on your appetite). what makes it more awesome than all other cakes, is the simplicity of it. it is not overly sweet. the cake is light and soft. it only has a thin layer of cream in the middle and over the top. it’s perfect.

the perfect example of beautifully simple dessert.

Celebrating an eClutter Free Life

simple life principle #1: find an exact (e-deals) system that works for your life.
hey! it’s been one month since i talked about getting your “with-it-ness” when it comes to being a savvy online shopper. i now have a shopper facebook account. i have been following several great shopper pages, similar to e-newsletters. 

please get yourself some gmail filters. they rock.

the story:
i recently got a new personal email address to reflect my married name so i’ve also rethought how to use the “junk” email account. you really don’t want to log in and out of two accounts. i tried that for a couple of weeks and it was too much for me. so the genius plan is to use gmail filters.

here’s what i did:
first, you customize your account so that you forward all email from the “junk” email address to your regular personal email . forwarding is a 2-step process. You will need to enable POP for the junk account but don’t make my mistake of forwarding all mail, just the new mail starting the day you enable..otherwise you will get all 1027 emails forwarded…not pretty. Then for your personal account, you will need to add the account of your junk mail by going to “check mail using POP3.” If you do this, you’ve gotta create filters (see below), otherwise it defeats the purpose to have two addresses.

*i know it seems complicated, but it’s worth it. if this is too much work for you, then stick with the two separate accounts, which is a good way to sort e-clutter but in my opinion it’s not the best way.

create a filter. you can assign all of those e-newletters to skip the inbox and be archived instead and then filtered into a label (a kind of folder), which i’ve labeled “newsletters.” all emails will still be marked as unread mail.

manage labels: an optional step after filtering is to customize your settings so you only see that label “newsletters” when you have unread mail by selecting “show if unread”. this means the folder stay hidden until something new/unread comes in. i am not too bothered by it, but i can see how it could get distracting. otherwise, you should hide all labels and go look into the folders when you have a spare moment for learning about online deals.

and that’s how you simplify a gmail account.

i can’t even tell you how awesome gmail filters are! i have a filter for work, online banking, and online purchases so that everything is already filtered/organized into folders. it takes some work to set up the filters but once you do, the filters do everything for you. plus, i still give out my “junk” email address when people want contact information so i can keep my brand new gmail account nice and clean.

my inbox? it has a grand total of one email! this is because everything has filtered to the correct label. when i get up in the morning, i can read all of the daily deals by just clicking on the labels for “newsletters” and it does not clog up my inbox.

gmail is especially nice because if you have any questions on this forwarding/filtering process, their gmail help site is quite good. now it is actually really excitng to use gmail. please try this.