How to Save Money and Increase Happiness
As tax season rolls by, many of us are thinking about how much we earned and spent in 2017, as well as looking forward to financial goals for 2018. We often have great motives in mind when thinking about our spending, but we don't always follow through on them when enticed by a new product or service. 

The place where this topic interests us as professional organizers is the  psychology  of how we choose to spend our money, and the result of that money being spent, usually taking the form of clutter in our homes.  These purchases also result in missing out on meaningful moments that were spent focusing on STUFF rather than making memories. 

Here are some examples of how we can think differently about what we choose to spend our money on - and increase our happiness in the process. 

Understand your "spending triggers." As Socrates famously said "know thyself. Noticing how you get pulled in to spending money is a great way to spend less of it. Between the internet, superstores and Google's recent pop-up donut shops (that's actually a real thing people), we are practically programed to spend our money. Noticing when and WHERE you tend to impulse-buy is a great way to curb that habit. I recently cancelled my Costco membership because I would go in for a roast chicken and come out with a barbecue. Now that time is spent doing other things that I find more fulfilling. 

Don't be fooled by discounts. In his book,  Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter, Dan Ariely reminds us to "ignore relative comparisons." This means that we should always think about what the thing costs, not how large of a discount you are getting. If you see a handbag on sale for 50% off of $100, you're not saving $50 - you're spending $50. Perhaps that's worth it to you, but you must first question how much you really want the item. If you are not willing to pay full price for it, than maybe you don't really want or need it that badly in the first place. 

Beware the "Free Trial" and other automated payment systems. Most of us are constantly on the hunt for virtual programs and products to make our lives better, simpler or just more fun. (Video streaming programs like Hulu and Netflix are a good example.) Many people have become desensitized to this, and choose the free trial, but then forget to opt-out when the trial has ended. Perform an audit of all of your automatic payments and consider opting out of those you no longer use. If you do choose to opt-in to a free trial, set a reminder on your phone to opt out before the trial period has ended. Companies rely on us to forget that we've given them our credit card details, which is why the free trial is such a successful sales tool. Don't let this happen to you! Controlling the act of spending your money is an important part of regulating how much you spend, and on what.

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." 
-Henry Thoreau
Before you buy something new, consider how much space that item will take up in your life. Will you need to clean it regularly? Bring it inside every winter and store it in your garage? Take it to the dry-cleaners? Haul it to Goodwill when it breaks? Most of us never ask this question, but it's not too late to start. 

Happy Organizing!

Portland Resources and Events

We love presenting at Storables
Upcoming Event: Storables Paper and Office Organizing Workshop

Missy and the Organizers Northwest team are excited to be presenting on paper and office organizing at Storables.  Learn tips for creating a system to stay on top of paper and filing, rather than the paper piling up on you. There will be two dates and locations for this workshop. Pick the one that works best for you. We would love to see you and connect in person!

March 24th, 10-11 am - Cedar Hills Location
March 31st, 10 - 11am - Pearl Location

Room-By-Room Organizing Series, Month 2: The Linen Closet 

The goal of this series is to provide a breakdown of the organizing process required to tackle a single room in the house, one month and one room at a time. 

For month one, the kickoff to this challenge, we began  in the bathroom. That's because the bathroom is a relatively emotion-free zone, making it easier to get started. Once you have achieved success in one area, other zones in the home often begin to look less daunting.

For month two, we are going to stay on the same wavelength and move our efforts to...the Linen Closet! This is another easier area to organize as most of us feel pretty okay about letting go of old towels dating from before the existence of the internet.

Featured Donation Location: PDX Toy Library

The mission of this small non-profit is to "provide affordable access to high quality toys and equipment for borrowing, to assist with the physical and educational development of children ages birth to 8." They gladly accept toy donations and will provide a tax deductible receipt. Here are the items they are always looking for

You can also become a member and check out toys at the toy library! This is a great way to reduce clutter at home and keep things interesting for your kids. You can check out 3 items at a time. The checkout period is flexible as long as your items aren't on hold for someone else.  

You can join with a paid membership for $30 for 3 months or $50 for 6 months, or join as a volunteer at 2 hours per month. They also have subsidized memberships available with no special paperwork required.

The toy library is located in the Sunnyside Community House on SE 35th and Yamhill. Contact them before bringing in a donation. 
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