Musings of a Museum Fanatic: November 2020


How to Identify and Fix Time-wasting Habits

The past few years I've felt like the entire world, including myself, have gotten sucked into some bad time-wasting habits. The term binge has been applied to everything from TV to scrolling through Twitter and Pinterest to just spending way too much time on not important things. 

We spend tons of our precious time on these time wasters  It's become so ingrained that we don't realize it and still think that we have no free time for anything. Can you imagine if you used your scrolling or mindless TV time for something like actually accomplishing your goals? Yeah it would be amazing and you'd be unstoppable!

This has been a goal of mine this year, to work on identifying those time wasters and working to fix them. There has been some progress and there has definitely been set backs. It has been a an interesting twist with staying at home much more this year due to the pandemic but I've learned some important lessons along the way. 

Identify the time wasters
You can't fix something if you don't realize what it is you need to fix. I need to have some sort of background noise going on when I'm doing anything. Even before the pandemic I found myself watching hours of TV or movies and I'm not just exaggerating. It was bad. The worst part is I knew it was bad but was just letting the bad habit continue. 

So you have to ask yourself especially when it comes to time wasters like TV or just mindless scrolling do you want to life your life or just watch someone else life theirs? Pretty sure I'd prefer to live my own life!

What is your big time wasting habit? Maybe it's online shopping or always checking Twitter. If you're having trouble figuring out talk with the people in your life, I'll bet they could tell you. 

Make a schedule
The easiest way to avoid time wasting is to give your time a job. This doesn't always have to be something goal oriented it can be something like spend an hour playing with your kids or spend an hour talking with your best friend. 

You have to make the choice of what you want to focus on. You have to make a conscious decision that you do not want to waste your day on meaningless things that in reality make you unhappy and that stop you from progressing and enjoying life.

Make a list of goals
This is something I think my life has been lacking lately which has added to the increase in time wasting. I have felt like I have been in this weird limbo/funk the past year or so and the pandemic has not helped at all. 

We were working hard for me to get a different job and then to get a home but since achieving both of those have yet to focus on what those larger goals in our life should be. Don't get me wrong I'm still working on smaller goals like my 101 list but it's not the same as feeling like Kevin and I are working towards these larger life goals. 

Make a list of priorities
This might seem like the same thing as a goals list but they're definitely different! Think about in 5 years do you want to look back and remember how many episodes of the Real Housewives you've watched or do you want to remember you spend every moment with your family or working to build your business. 

Yeah I figured you'd say something along the lines of the second one. You would much rather spend your time on things that matter! I've been realizing this year that I want working on family history to be something I spend my time on. It needs to become a priority for me and not just something I do every now and then. 

Time wasting has become so second nature for us that it's not even considered a bad thing anymore. It's just part of how life is. Don't let your precious time go to waste!

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!


12 Easy Tips for Saving on Christmas

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Now that we're officially in November who is already thinking about Christmas? I know I am! I'm also starting to worry about making sure we don't overspend. Last year we definitely overspent and it led to a stressful January adding up all those receipts. 

Are you starting to thinking through your spending and starting to freak out? There is no reason to freak out when you're prepared and intentional with your spending. This will lead to a calmer and more enjoyable season when you're not freaking out about the finances. 

So read on to learn some of my best ideas for how to save money and still have a great Christmas!

Set a budget
This is the first thing you should make sure and do every year. Be sure to put in your budget anything related to the holidays not just gifts. You might want to save up for a new tree or need to get some new Christmas lights. Are there traditions that you always take part in like visiting the Christkindlmarket? Although those types of yearly traditions might be on hold because of Covid. Still it's those extras that can bust your bank account after the season if you don't plan for them.

Set a per person amount
For the first part of our marriage Kevin and I just a vague notion of about how much we'd spend on each person in our family. Every year I'd go nuts and over spend for most everyone. Since getting serious about our finances we sat down and talked about how much we are spending for each person who we give gifts for. That includes people like coworkers and friends too.

You could also talk with friends and family members as decide on limits for gifts together. A few years ago my brother and sister in law came up with the great idea that we'd get each other a $50 restaurant gift cards for our Christmas gifts. It cut way down on the stress of trying to find something, kept it to a strict budget and gave more of an experience for both couples. We always like to throw in our baby sitting services as well ; )

Start a sinking fund early
Save early save often! If you like to spend more lavishly on Christmas this is a must. This way those higher costs at the end of the year won't be as big of a shock to your budget or your savings accounts. 

Plan out & keep track of each present
Having a plan is important but keeping track of the plan is also as important. I usually keep track using an Excel spreadsheet set up to track Christmas, birthday and anniversary gifts throughout the year. Last year I didn't use it like I normally do and ended up not only spending more than I planned but forgetting that I had purchased gifts for some people a second time! That definitely doesn't help save money at Christmas! So planning and keeping track of the plan is important. 

Shop throughout the year
You know me and how much I love a good deal. I'm always keeping an eye out for when something goes on sale or super clearance that would make a great gift. This is especially helpful if you're looking to buy multiples for people like coworkers. 

In the past I've made Christmas treats for coworkers and used nice Christmas plates that I purchased the year before for $ .25 a piece! So keep an eye out online and in stores for those great deals. 

Get money back
This is something you should be doing for any online purchase not just around Christmas time. I always check websites like Rakuten and Swagbucks before I place an online order to get cash back. Since joining them I've got hundreds back on purchases throughout the years which has turned into gift cards for essentials or to be put towards other big purchases. 

You can even add Ibotta as a browser extension and get money back that way now. Always be sure to check each to see what way you get the largest percentage back. Sometimes they're the same but sometimes one website can have a significantly larger return. 

Give practical gifts
When I give people gift ideas for me each year I try to also give ideas of every day practical items that I'm always using. This can be things like a favorite lotion that you use up multiple times a year or even more practical like toilet paper, this year toilet paper might even be the gift of the season! 

Use coupons
I'm a coupon person. I love coupons! Hello free money. If you're purchasing every day items using coupons for them is a great way to keep that cost down. Looking to save money and time with your online purchases be sure to use Honey. Since discovering Honey it's save me so much time finding online coupons it's not even funny. They search online and pull all the coupon codes for almost every site. 

Gift your time
The best money saving gift option and the most personal would be gifting your time. Gifting your time can be something special like making a special date night dinner for your spouse or something more every day like helping your mom organize her home. You can even up the gift and have it be something you give a few times throughout the year. 

Or you could go elementary school and give some sort of fun coupon book. Make it fun! Not only is it special but you'll be making memories too. 

We all get gifts throughout the year that we just know we won't use. Did we really need another mug? We all have our favorite one or two and probably aren't going to use that new one. Instead of just getting rid of it save that gift and regift it. 

Don't regift something you've used unless the person is into second hand. Make it a little more snazzy when you regift too, like add some candy to the mug or a little something extra that's well under budget.

Skip the trimmings
I don't know who needs to hear this but you don't need to buy anymore wrapping paper or ribbons! I feel like most of us once we hit a certain age we have a stash of wrapping. Don't buy more!! Even after Christmas when it's on clearance. Don't buy it until you use up what you have. 

Even better is reusing from previous gifts. I always save gift bags and use them multiple times. I used the same bag for my nephew's birthday in September then for one of the nieces in October. They're so young they don't even notice. I bet even the adults in your life wouldn't notice either. 

Don't sent cards
This is one of those sneaky costs for the holiday season. You see all the sales for cards and think that's not so expense. Well when you add it up then finally add the postage you'll be stunned at how much it costs to send holiday cards. Plus I always feel bad about tossing them after the season since I know how much it cost people.

Kevin and I had wanted to send cards this year but after looking through the cost we decided not to. Instead we're embracing the virtual and we're going to make a hopefully fun Christmas greetings video. I bet there are other fun ways to send greetings to everyone without spending money on cards.  

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!