Guest Post: How to Stick to Your Grocery Budget

You’re probably sick of hearing people complaining about how “Money doesn’t go as far as it used to”, but the sad fact is that there’s truth in those complaints.  The cost of living is going up, but it’s not just luxury items that are getting more expensive, basic groceries are rocketing in price too.  Today, we’re living in a world where people make calls on iPhones, and cook in designer kitchens with Maia worktops, yet struggle with the weekly food shop because the cost of essential staples such as bread and milk has skyrocketed.  Here are a few tips to help you stay within your budget, and still eat well:

Just Because it’s On Offer, It Doesn’t Mean It’s a Good Deal

Supermarket offers can be deceptive. Often, a supermarket will increase the price of something for a week or so, then “discount” it to a price that’s lower than the expensive one, but still overpriced.  So, soda that has been at a certain price for months may go up in price a little prior to going on offer, and then be advertised as being on a special “Two for One” deal; that offer is cheaper than the most recent expensive price, but it’s not a good deal compared to the earlier price it was selling for.  If you need the soda, check another local supermarket for it.  If you don’t normally drink soda, don’t be tempted by the not-that-great offer.

Don’t Buy More than You Can Use or Freeze

Promotions such as buy two, get one free are also designed to make people buy things that they wouldn’t normally pick up.  You might feel like you’re wasting money if you buy only one gallon of milk when there’s a buy two, get one free offer on the bottles, but what’s the point of paying extra for milk that you won’t drink quickly enough?

With that said, bulk promotions are great if they’re for items with a long shelf life, or for things that you can freeze.  Consider allocating a small part of your budget to buying long-lasting items which you’ll be able to defrost or dig out of the cupboards during hard times, or when bad weather prevents you from getting to the shops.

Learn to Cook Creatively

Meal planning is a good start towards savvy shopping, but restrictive meal plans get boring quickly, and they can cause trouble for you if the store runs out of your favorite staple, or droughts/floods/earthquakes cause a key ingredient to soar in price. I know this from experience, since unusually wet weather has made the price of bananas go up, making my banana and oatmeal smoothies a luxury item, rather than a breakfast ritual.

If you learn how to cook a range of dishes, and learn to experiment with different ingredients to create a meal out of whatever you have in the kitchen, then you’ll find yourself with far more options next time you go shopping.

Try Store Brands

One thing that frugal shoppers love to remind us of is that many store brands are actually made in the same factories as the big name brands.  It’s possible that you could save a lot of money just by downscaling the brands you buy.  Sometimes, there’s a clear difference in taste or quality between brand names and white label products, but that’s not always the case.  Try changing one brand each week – if you like the cheaper brand, that’s money in your pocket.  If you hate it, you can go back to the more expensive brand next week.

Grow Your Budget With Savings Elsewhere

tead.  Fit energy saving light bulbs.  Cut your water bill by showering instead of taking a bath.  There are lots of ways that you can cut costs, letting you spend more on the things you love.If you’re a devoted foodie, and you don’t want to scrimp and save on your shopping, then why not look for savings elsewhere in your household budget?  Stop using that expensive free-standing heater and try plinth heaters ins

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of The Kitchen Appliance Centre. To find more great money saving ideas please visit their site.


Get Organized for Halloween

Halloween may not be one of the most important holidays, but for families with children the day can require much preparation. In order to avoid last minute scrambling, we’ve put together a list of things to get organized ahead of time.

1) Costumes: By shopping for costumes earlier in the month of October you’ll not only have a better selection, but you may also get a better price. Costume stores typically offer coupons in early October, so keep a look out in your coupon mailers or check online sites like for discount codes for online shopping. For optimum organization, you should aim to have all costumes purchased by the second week in October.

2) Decorations: Halloween decorations can help to get your family and neighborhood in the holiday spirit. Plan on decorating your home and yard by the weekend of October 20th. If you’re carving pumpkins, ideal timing is the weekend before (27th) Halloween to ensure they stay fresh. Keep in mind when you are decorating that the weather changes quickly this time of year, so if you have delicate ghosts or spider webs, be sure to bring them in before any rain hits.

3) Candy: Stores like CVS, Costco, and Target have deals on large bags of candy early in the month, so now is the time to stock up on the sweets you’ll need for trick-or-treaters.

4) School Activities: Schools often plan Halloween activities, such as costume parades and trick-or-treating. Find out the dates of these events now and mark your calendars to ensure your child will be prepared. In addition to the activity dates, also add deadlines for costume and accessory (candy pails) purchases.

5) Trick-o-Treating Plans: Plan on setting up your trick-or-treat plans two weeks ahead of time. If you are coordinating with other families, set a meeting time, location, and plans for child supervision and safety. It’s also a good idea to assign each child a ‘buddy’ to stay with for the evening to ensure no one is left alone.

6) Party Plans: If you plan on throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to send out invitations the first week of October. During the second week, you can start to plan decorations, food, theme, music, and other party needs. The third week is the time to firm up these plans and finishing buying necessary non-perishable items, such as decorations. The last week leading up to the party is the time to decorate your space and complete the grocery shopping. On the day-of, you’ll prepare the food and drinks, set up last minute items, don your costume, and get ready to have a spooky evening with friends.

7) Holiday Food: Although Halloween is best known for candy, some people have traditions that include certain Halloween foods. Ensure you’ll be able to make these for friends and family by making a list of foods and necessary ingredients two weeks before the holiday. When making the list, keep in mind the little items, such as spices for pumpkin seed roasting and drinks such as apple cider.

We hope that by getting a head start on your Halloween plans this year you’ll have more time to enjoy the festivities on the day of.


Getting There on Time: The Secret to Punctuality

Much of the work I do is focused on helping clients manage their space and belongings in a more efficient way. However, personal organization, including time management, can be just as important. One thing we as aspiring organized people forget to lump into the time management category is actually getting places on time. In fact, this can be one of the greatest organizational challenges people face on a daily basis.

I myself struggle with being punctual now and then, but I do believe it is extremely important to put your efforts towards arriving to events, appointments, and outings with friends on time. It gives the right impression to colleagues, clients, and pals that you respect their time and take them and yourself seriously. For your children, modeling punctuality instills a healthy respect for structure and routine, thus setting them up for success in the future.

Easier said than done, I know. Sometimes, the odds of public transportation, traffic or your never-ending to-do list simply keep you from making the punctuality grade. And that is okay now and then, as I said before. Things happen! However, there are a few tricks we can each use in our day-to-day lives to increase our on-time factor and decrease the self-created factors the keep us from getting where we need to be.

The most helpful advice I can give is to work backward. This is a tip I’ve recommended before in previous posts. Think about when you need to arrive to pick up your children or to meet your girlfriends for evening drinks. From there, allocate your time based on one-two hour increments backward from the time you need to LEAVE to get there, RATHER than the time you need to BE THERE. For example: To meet your girlfriends across town by 6:30pm, you should leave your house by 5:45. Give yourself one hour to get dressed and touch up your makeup and hair, starting at 4:45. If your day starts at 7:45, that gives you 9 hours to take care of your work, chores, etc. Your half-way point is 12:30pm. Also, don’t forget to build in a few breaks for lunch, personal tasks, and brief moments of me-time.

If you are a person on the go, use the alarm function on your phone to signal the end of one of your 2 hour time increments. When the alarm sounds, move on to the next task – unless you are on a roll of course! If you’re a person who sits in front of the computer all day, use your calendar as a to-do list, so that you are always aware of the time you’ve given yourself to complete necessary tasks. Build travel time (and potential traffic delays) into that plan to set yourself up for successfully arriving to your desination on time.

As you can see, I believe that managing the time in your day will help you to view getting places on time as another ‘to-do’, rather than optional. By adopting a few of these suggestions, you too can work towards the goal of getting there on time. You’ll be surprised at how gratifying it feels to arrive at the right time and your friends, family and colleagues will appreciate it too.

Good luck!

On the Go: Our Favorite Organizational Apps

In keeping with our recent theme of organizational resolutions for the New Year, let’s spend a little time going mobile! That’s right, your mobile devices and computers are great resources for helping you achieve your goals in the time management, organizational and financial arenas – on the go. Here are the best WOW-approved apps for keeping your life organized, no matter where you are in your day!

EverNote: Let’s face it, it’s tough keeping track of everything you need to do and remember in your life. That’s why I LOVE and its mobile app. The majority of my day is spent out of the house and at appointments. Working is therapeutic for me –  I often do a lot of my best thinking during this time – which means I’m always coming up with ideas and to-dos for my own life. It can be tough to organize these goals, but with the Evernote app, I can easily whip out my phone and record such things as the books I’d like to read, movies I’d like to watch, articles I’d like to write, recipes I’d like to cook, webpages I’d like to revisit and new organizational tools I’d like to try. But what if I can’t remember the note once I need it? Well, there’s a tool for that, of course! Evernote has a search function that allows me to use keywords to reference the note or list I’d created for myself earlier that day or even two weeks ago. It syncs with my other devices, and I can even share notes with friends and employees. This app is my organizational lifesaver, and I recommend it to most of my clients.

Mint: Ever feel like you have so many accounts in so many places and no way to organize them? Fear not! does it for you in a safe, secure and mobile environment. Your Mint app connects and tracks information from each of your checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, loans and retirement funds. At any point in time, I can pull up my profile and see how much money is in each my financial accounts, all in one place. But what I love most about this app is the goal-setting function. You can set goals for paying off credit card and loan balances or saving for big purchases, on a self-determined timeline. The app shows you how much you need to pay or save each month to reach your goal. We all need a little help to reach our financial goals, and provides the encouragement and accountability you need to achieve an organized financial year.

PageOnce: is a wonderful app that helps you organize your finances AND pay your bills online, from one place. Like, you can view each and every account in your financial life, safely and securely, and you can pay your bills on time from your smartphone with the touch of a button. will also send you alerts and reminders when you have a bill due, which helps avoid late fees. You can even choose which account you’d like to use to pay that bill. I appreciate this function, as I can’t always remember every single log-in and password when I’m on the move and in between appointments. As a bonus feature, Pageonce will also import updates from other online accounts, such as travel, shopping, social networks, event management sites, and email. If you’re a busy woman, the Pageonce app keeps your online life organized and respects your time management goals – WOW!

Dinner Spinner: Whenever I decide to cook a meal that is unfamiliar to me and my kitchen, I head straight to for ideas that are quick and easy. I love to cook, but I’m also very busy, and so are my clients. Not only do I find what I’m looking for, but also points me to variations on the theme in the event that the first recipe I find isn’t the right one for me and my family. Dinner Spinner is the mobile app for, and it is compatible with both the iPhone and Android platforms. With this app, I can browse recipes, bookmark my favorites, share recipes with friends and create a shopping list. Cooking dinner at home helps me save money, a goal I set for my family every year. Being able to organize my meals on the go is just the icing on the cake!


Grocery Gadgets: Another app that saves me money and time on my way to the grocery store is Grocery Gadgets. It allows me to organize my grocery lists, recipes and coupons for free, on my phone. The app even syncs with every device in my household, which keeps my kitchen life managed, no matter where I am. With Grocery Gadgets, I can create my list, see the prices and search for offers online – talk about organized! The part I love the most about this app is that I can check the items off when I’ve bought them – putting the check in check-list is most gratifying for a Well-organized Woman!


If you are a mobile woman who is on the go all of the time, give any of these apps a try. You’ll be an organized, domestic and financial goddess in no time! Enjoy!


The Well-Organized Woman Featured on CBS 46 News!

The Well-Organized Woman is excited to have been featured on CBS 46 News on January 6th! The story detailed how being organized can save money. Read the story and watch the video here!

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