Getting Organized on a Budget

by Merissa on March 14, 2013

in Featured, Organization 101

Getting Organized on a Budget

Getting Organized on a Budget

Today I’m going to share with you my best way to getting organized on a budget. Why? This is a very simple step you can take starting tomorrow and it doesn't cost you a single thing.

The other day I asked the hubby to add something to my monthly grocery list. I said, “It’s in the white binder there on the table.”

“This big one?”

“No, the other one.”

“This one?”

“No, the white one.”

As he flipped through the pages of the correct binder I heard him mutter, “OCD”, under his breath. I just couldn't help but reply,
“Why yes, I am a little OCD, but that means there is food on the table each night and groceries in the pantry and sanity left at the end of my day after working and caring for the baby!”

That was the end of that discussion! (And yes, my item got added to my grocery list!) The truth is, yes, I have several binders full of things I need to get me through each day. I’m a stay at home, work from home mom and homemaker. Like many of you I have a million little things I need to get done each day otherwise this nice little system that we enjoy so much will break down.

How’s that for pressure? It’s really not that bad…it’s not like the end of the world if I don’t get the dishes done one day or if I don’t get supper ready until after hubby comes home and we end up just eating pancakes (which we happen to love anyways). But it does make for a more stressful day and then more things added to the next days’ to-do list.

So where is a good starting place to getting organized on a budget? I’ll let you in on my secret…

I get up early.

Seriously. I've found that if I get up an hour and a half to two hours before the rest of the family I can get a ton done. (I usually get up around 5 – 5:30 and get the rest of the family up at 7.)

And I know this sound crazy, especially if you aren't a morning person…but you can ask my mom, when I was growing up I was not in any way a morning person! But you know what? It grows on you after a while. I actually enjoy my mornings more than any other time during the day. It’s quiet and peaceful and incredibly productive. Before, I would get up at the same time as everyone else, feel totally overwhelmed for hours and maybe finally get showered and cleaned up at about noon. I was not enjoying that at all and it was not working for our household very well!

But then I decided I wanted to start getting up and making hubby breakfast in the morning so we could eat together before he left for work. I liked it so much I started getting up earlier and earlier until I realized how productive I could be!

Want more organization tips?

Do you get up early? Do you have any other tips on getting organized on a budget?


Print Friendly

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

9:00 am

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cassidy March 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

I was not a morning person until I had a house to run and kids to take care of. It makes my mornings run so much better when I am up at about 5:30am. I get a shower, prayer time, and a few moments to myself to plan out my day.


2 Katie Reed January 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

Getting up early for “me time” including prayer always made my day go better as I was right with the world and hubby was the night owl and he stayed up at night with the kids if necessary and we squosed in couple time even with this schedule. Date nights and days off are always in the week.


3 Kendra March 14, 2013 at 9:47 am

Yes… I so, so need to do this. I keep thinking about it but it hasn’t happened yet. 🙂


4 MARSHA March 15, 2013 at 10:00 am

I’m in the same boat 🙂


5 Tanya Stone March 14, 2013 at 10:33 am

My only trouble with getting up early . . .is getting up earlier than everyone else. Because as soon as I make the decision, guess what? That’s the morning my toddler decides he’s going to wake up crying that he’s hungry at 5:45. I tell him no, it’s not time to eat, but the only way to make him not cry is let him come in the living room with me and lay on the sofa (where he does fall asleep). Then my 5 yo gets up at 6:15. Then my 8 year old gets up at 6:45. So much for my morning. The next morning, better success. The morning after that, no one sleeps in. The morning after that the two younger ones know the secret and just pop awake at 6:15. So I do keep trying, but until they’re all over the age of 6 I really doubt I’m going to be able to get that down (and since I just had a baby, that means 6 years from now).


6 Merissa March 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I worried about this too and just found that I had to do really quiet things so my little wouldn’t wake up. Even if I could just check my email or get my online work done for the day it still helped me out 🙂


7 Tanya Stone March 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm

The only thing I do is drink coffee (that’s already made) and read my Bible, check my computer, etc. I don’t even dare workout. And I’m downstairs. They simply have a sixth sense that tells them I’m getting up early. So if I do manage to get up early 5 days a week, only 2 of those are maybe quiet. That’s why it’s a struggle for me. I’m trying, I am, but it’s a struggle.


8 Tanya Stone March 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm

And I’m not describing a worse case scenario that I’m afraid will happen, I’m describing what has and does happened.


9 Judi January 17, 2014 at 7:39 am

I totally hear you on this! A friend once described it by saying that the kids could “smell” us being up early!! LOL


10 Kaara January 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

Same here! Lol 4 and 1 🙂 everybody’s up!


11 Christie January 17, 2014 at 5:19 am

Same problem here! We live and sleep on one level in a ranch style house so the kids can hear everything and are very light sleepers. We will be moving soon to a house with 2 levels so I am hoping that this might change…If anything, I can do it when the kids get older. 😀


12 Sabbath Family March 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

I have been meaning to get up before the rest of the family for years…. but it is just sooooo hard when it is cold and dark outside (we only heat with a wood fire so it is very chilly in the house first thing in the morning in winter – yes, we have a simple little house, prairie style!) But now that summer is approaching and it is lighter and warmer in the mornings, you have inspired me to give it another go. I know that on the odd occasion that I have started the day early I have always really enjoyed it!! So…no promises but I like what you say and maybe I’ll also finally establish the habit. 🙂


13 Laura/Readerwoman March 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I am retired, so I can get up when I want – and stay up later – so the morning factor isn’t so much of a deal as the binder! I only have one – and the cover says “The Book that tells me when to Breathe!” (based on a similar book in a mystery by a favored author – Donna Andrews) My husband of 39 years has been trained to use it too! 🙂 I keep phone numbers, lists, passwords, insurance information etc. in it. My shopping list is separate though – it is on a clipboard – with categories on it (fruit/veggies, baking, frozen, meats etc. etc.) and hubby is trained on that one too! Whether you get up early or not, the key for me is to have in my head what I want my life to look like, how I want my home to be, and what my priorities are. LOVE your blog!


14 Kate March 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Absolutely agree! While we don’t have kids yet I still love to get up early and get most of the household done (so much more and quicker than doing it after work). It also gives us time to sit with coffee/tea and talk about the day ahead, plan dinner etc.


15 BaschaW March 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I work, so I have to be up at a certain hour anyway, but I don’t like it…. 🙂
I’ve considered training myself to wake up early and get things done, but when do you spend alone time with your husband? My daughter is 13 and from 8-9 she is getting ready for bed while I am making tomorrow’s breakfast/lunches. Then at 9 she is in bed, I start the dishwasher, and my husband and I sit on the couch, chat and watch TV shows that are innappropriate for her to watch (Lost Girls or Game of Thrones, anyone?). That puts my bedtime at 10. and that is assuming that everything happened in some magical Donna Reed fashion that it rarely does. When does couple time work into the system. on days when I have to get up 2 hours before my husband, that night I’m in bed 2 hours before him, and that means that I’m down for the count by the time he meanders into the bedroom. I don’t even notice when he gets into bed!
Ideas? Advice? I’d love to get up earlier and be able to get things done before things start blowing up for the day.


16 Merissa March 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm

In that case I would see if my hubby would get up with me in the morning, we could work together then and talk about the day to come. In our case my hubby sleeps in until 7 in the morning but we put the baby to bed at 8 so we have about 2 hours after that to be together as a couple.

We’ve still found that our time together as a couple is lacking so we’ve decided to try and do a bimonthly date night if we are able to find a sitter.


17 Heather @ My Mothermode January 17, 2014 at 6:48 am

Maybe daughter could work on her lunch or help with breakfast and you could do this a little earlier (unless dinner is happening then- there could be a time crunch in there somewhere…) Could breakfasts be prepared on the weekends: granola, protein bars, casseroles for the freezer? To extend our couple time, we have our 10yo go to bed at 8ish, but he can read in bed. Dreading later bedtimes…


18 Amy March 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I was the same way when I was growing up. Ask my mom too, I was not a morning person. But now I love to get up and get things done. I like being productive.


19 Rebecca March 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I would like to sleep in, but I can’t. No matter what. The latest I seem to be able to sleep (on weekends) is 7am. I am so tired. I go to sleep early, drink my chamomile tea, take my melatonin, and still wake up during the night, sometimes 1am, sometimes 3am, but always… I hate it!!


20 Jessica Harlow March 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm

I completely agree with your morning routine…I’m not a true morning person either, but it gives me some much needed (and coveted) me time and I get so much accomplished while the rugrats are still sleeping!


21 loyda December 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

WE get up by 6. I could never get up before anyone else because if it were up to my dh, we would be up at 4 !! And if I had the opportunity to be up earlier than anyone I like to have music on to get me going ! Which means I would still wake someone up. And then of course I don’t think I could be super quiet without going back to sleep. 🙁


22 Kaara January 2, 2014 at 11:14 am

I try and try to get up before the kids but mine wake up before the sun comes up usually around 4:30 or 5. And if I’m up the baby’s up ten minutes later lol. But on the mornings I do get a little quiet time I get So much done 🙂


23 Merissa January 2, 2014 at 11:16 am

Yeah, it doesn’t always work perfectly for me either, half of the mornings I get up the baby is already awake and talking in his crib! Put sometimes it does work out 🙂


24 Christine January 16, 2014 at 9:22 pm

When my kids were little, I never woke up before those earlybirds! Now that my kids are teens, no matter what time I get up, it’s before them. LOL


25 Nihal January 16, 2014 at 9:34 pm

I work from home in the nights and i finish around 8-9 am and after the morning prayer we both are wide awake so doing things in the morning is not possible. As soon as I finish work I make the breakfast (which involves dough making for some delicious chapati or gozleme a tanzanian or turkish delicacy) and water the container garden before sun gets too hot. Between this and cooking dinner this is my day. Lame I know.


26 meisha January 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

For me mornings don’t work. With my insomnia I do better at night and when my girls and I wake up it’s already done and ready to go. I wake with my girls and do breakfast with them and we do school. What I took from this was the binders. My OCD loved that! I don’t do binders but I do have lists on fridges and in my purse and on table tops…LOL My goal now is to get binders and books ends for my mantle shelf by the front door so my lists can be organized and not just laying down.


27 Kathy January 16, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I’m a single mom with an active 6yo boy. I don’t dare move when I wake until I hear him. It’s my me quiet time. But after he goes to bed (at 9), I relax 1/2 hr and then go non-stop until 1am. I like your idea when the weather gets warm. I don’t get any coveted garden time alone (in daylight) with my routine, but maybe I could sneak out in spring/summer as the sun rises. Thanks for the idea!


28 Michelle January 17, 2014 at 6:30 am

I am so glad to see others say the same about the kids getting up early when I do. It doesn’t always happen but when it does it is frustrating. As my kids are getting older it is easier to tell them Mommy is reading the Bible. I will be done soon but I still feel guilty not cuddling them right away…I do agree that this helps my day run smoother. (but no loud activities for me)


29 Heather @ My Mothermode January 17, 2014 at 6:39 am

Trying so hard to work on this one….the snooze button is too easy, but I do manage to enjoy a few minutes reading devotionals and scripture alone in the dark with the Kindle (so no one hears or sees!) When my youngest was age 1-2, for at least a year, this would have meant my getting up at 2:30 or 3 am.


30 SweetPea January 17, 2014 at 6:57 am

Because I’d decided the violence was only going to get worse I got brave I became a single mom of two. One was 3&1/2, the other had just turned 1. I was a single mom for about 7 years. As they got older I worked 50-60 hours a week. Getting up early was the OLNY way I could make things work. I got up at 4:30 to shower & dress then woke the kids & started breakfast as they got dressed. I cooked them a hot breakfast every morning and we played. That was our fun time & it actually worked well since we all ended up leaving home happy each day.
When I remarried their new, older teenaged sisters complained because my kiddos didn’t sleep in on the weekends, lol (but the still took short afternoon naps until they were about 12!). By the time they were teenagers, they ‘d learned to sleep in (on weekends) till around 7am.!
15 years later, kids all grown, & not working anymore, Hubby has finally gotten me to stay in bed a bit longer in the mornings. 🙂


31 Nikki January 17, 2014 at 9:10 am

When I can manage to get up earlier than my girls, I LOVE it!


32 Katie Reed January 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

Notebooks are an easy way to keep track of things. My hubby and I added an additional notebook kept on top of the Frig. It kept things that happened during the day or that I thought to say to him but didn’t always remember or find a time to discuss. When he came home from work he would get a cup of tea/coffee and read it. Also many times he adding things he might not think to say or relate to me. Sort of like passing notes in school. That notebook has survived all these years and is a wonderful thing to have now that he is gone.
Date nights help keep the marriage going and you don’t always have to have a sitter. Some of our dates we took the kids or spent time doing stuff that they still talk about today


Leave a Comment

Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts and your story. I love to hear from you and love when you are able to add something constructive to the conversation! Please remember this is a supportive and encouraging community. LHL reserves the right to delete any personal attacks, rude or offensive language, or anything not deemed family friendly. If you don't have anything nice to say, please keep it to yourself.

See our Comment Policy for more information.