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Get Organized Now!
Mid-Week Mini Edition

By Maria Gracia
June 21, 2017

  Today's Feature

How Much Does Your Family Spend Eating Out?

One of the ways to organize one's budget, is to determine where your hard-earned money is being spent. One of the culprits emptying our wallets is eating out. When I was a kid, we only went to restaurants on special occasions...birthdays, communions, and such. These days, people/families are often spending more eating out, than on their grocery bills.

According to King of Kash, 'Take for example a classic roasted chicken dinner with vegetables. This entr‚e typically ranges around $13 in a restaurant. With the tip for your server added in, the meal would cost somewhere around $16. Cooking the same dish at home proves to be much cheaper:

Quarter of a chicken: $2.25
Herbs: $1.00
Lemon: $0.50
Garlic: $0.30
Potato: $0.30
Ear of corn: $0.25
Cup of green beans: $0.81

When you total it all up, the same restaurant roasted chicken dish comes to $5.41 when you cook it at home.'

That all being said, we work hard and it's important, if you like doing so and can afford it, to enjoy a meal out now and then.

How much money, approximately, does your family spend eating out each month? Here's how 500 GON readers responded in a recent poll we conducted:

11% Zero...we never eat out
21% $50
24% $100
17% $200
11% $300
5% $400
2% $500
4% More than $500
5% I don't want to know...we don't keep track!

If you're concerned about your budget, here are a few ideas for getting organized and saving a few bucks when it comes to eating out:

a) Come up with an 'eating out budget.' One great way to stay within this budget is to take out cash...let's say $200...and keep it in an 'eating out' section or envelope in your wallet. When you eat out, use cash. If the cash is gone before the month is up, no more eating out that month. If you have cash left over at the end of the month, put it into savings!

b) It may be more the allure of eating out and the atmosphere of being someplace nice surrounded by others, than the food itself. If this is the case, eat at home, but go out now and then for a cup of coffee or a cold iced tea in a nice cafe.

c) Consider that eating out often is not only a financial expense, but can affect your health negatively as well...which can add to your financial expenses later in doctor bills, medication, and health insurance. There is no doubt that you have the ability to eat much healthier at home.

d) If you eat out every day on work days, brown bag your lunch instead, and eat it in a nice setting, like a park. If you feel this is being anti-social, make a plan to eat out with your co-workers just one day a week (like Fridays) instead of all five.

e) Vacation means you have to eat out 3 meals each day for the duration, right? Not necessarily. Even if you're staying in a hotel, keep in mind that many offer microwaves and refrigerators...and most vacations aren't in remote areas without grocery stores. Some hotels even have stoves and kitchen tools. I know...part of the fun of going on vacation is eating out, but if you're on a budget, you can certainly save a few bucks by visiting a grocery store and purchasing oatmeal, raw veggies, fruit, salad items, nuts, and bottled water. You'll then have these items for some breakfasts and lunches, and your eating out expenses can then be used for dinner time.

In the end, even with your finances and eating out, it's organization to the rescue once again. This is why I love the subject of being organized. It applies to EVERY area of our lives!

P.S. Speaking of being organized, my Goodbye Clutter resource includes information on banishing the 4 different categories of clutter: physical clutter, paper clutter, digital clutter AND emotional clutter. Our customers are raving about it. Visit:

All the details are further down in this issue, including how you can get your hands on a bundle of complimentary bonuses, but only until Monday, June 26th. Scroll down to the bottom of this issue for full details.

  Fabulous Reader Tip

3 Tips to Generate Motivation for Getting Organized

Hi Maria,

I positively love your newsletters and minis...they're so uplifting and filled with wonderful ideas I've put to use. My organizing challenges have always stemmed from a lack of motivation. Your newsletter is a constant tap on my shoulder, and gives me just the amount of spark I need to get going with my TO DOs...AND my goals!

Here are my top 3 tips to generate motivation for getting organized:

1) Read Maria's newsletters and publications...every day. It's the knowledge and repetition that keeps me on track.

2) Start...and complete...something as soon as you get up in the morning. Whether it's making your bed, emptying out the dishwasher, doing a wash and dry cycle of laundry, or brushing the dog, the act of having a TO DO checked off first thing is so energizing.

3) Pick whatever TO DO you're going to do...the night before. Post that intention on Facebook--or whatever social media channel you enjoy. (If you're not on social media, tell a friend.) Doing so makes you accountable to someone other than yourself. Like this morning I typed, 'I'm finally getting around to taking my car to the car wash today' and I included a photo of my dirty car in the post. Poor of the kids in town actually finger-wrote WASH ME, PLEASE on my windshield.

I got caught up with a few other things and almost didn't take the car to the car wash again...I've procrastinated on this for weeks...but then I remembered my post. I got in my car, brought it over to the car wash, got a DELUXE wash, and immediately took a photo when it was done and sparkly clean. Then I posted a 'Happy car' post and photo on my Facebook feed. I felt great...and even got a few 'looks great' replies from my friends, which added even more to my sense of accomplishment!

Amber H., Florida

In our free time, my husband and I love to sit on the beach, drink lemonade, and read together.

Send in your ideas! We're, once again, accepting Reader Tips and Ask Maria Questions for publication in this mini edition and our newsletter. Just reply and share with us!

  Ask Maria

How to Organize a Super-Messy Craft Room

Reader Question

Hi Maria,

I want to organize my overloaded, super messy craft room. What do you suggest as the first thing to do? Should I run out and buy containers? I work on a lot of crafts...card making, sewing, scrapbooking, quilting, pottery, and stained glass.

-- Ginger, Missouri

P.S. My very neat husband is about to order a dumpster and get rid of all my belongings because he feels the room is an embarrassment. I am mad at him for saying so, but I'm afraid it's true.

Response from Maria Gracia

Hi Ginger,

Let's get you and your husband back to 'a match made in heaven.' Disorganization in a home can definitely wreak havoc on a relationship.

Don't run out and buy containers just yet. A container should only be purchased once you know 'what' you're going to put in it, if you actually need a container for those items (sometimes you already have something in your home you can use), AND that you're purchasing the right shape and size container for your needs. The last thing you need to do is buy containers without a specific purpose in mind, and now the containers become part of your clutter.

The very first thing you should begin doing is weeding out. Now, I'm a crafter myself, so I know it's tough to get rid of things you MIGHT use someday. But those intentions can end up in a lot of unnecessary clutter. Begin by doing your best in weeding out at least 25% (or more if you can) of this room...give the extras to a charitable organization, school, or senior center.

Second, begin sorting your crafts into Craft Categories: 1) Card Making and Scrapbooking, 2) Sewing and Quilting, 3) Pottery, and 4) Stained Glass. Just make 4 piles...use the corners of your room to separate everything.

Then, choosing one category at a time, like Card Making and Scrapbooking, begin sub-categorizing those items. For instance, paper, punches, stamps, ink, adhesives, etc.

Do this for all four major categories.

Once you're done sorting, you can begin locating storage solutions for these sub-categories, like a basket for your punches, a stamp/ink carousel, and so on. If you don't already have proper 'containers,' this is the point that you'd go out and purchase some.

Also important is to remember that your craft room didn't get messy in one day, so don't expect it to get organized in one day. Do it a little bit at a time. Just don't purchase anything else until the job is done AND when you purchase in the future, don't purchase 'on a whim.' Buy with a very specific project in mind that you're planning to work on immediately. This will help keep the overload of craft materials and tools in check.

Finally, use your husband's 'neatness' to your benefit. See if you can get him to assist you. When the job is all done, do something fun together to celebrate!

I'd love to see a photo of your organized craft room when you're done...and you and your husband smiling!


  New on our Web Site!

  In Closing

We have gone through some difficult times like everyone else and perhaps our working together and respecting each other's abilities, in addition to that little thing called love, helped us survive.
--Cynthia Weil

I'd love to hear from you.
Comments, suggestions, or just to say hello. Just REPLY to this email with a short note.

And remember...Being organized creates a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life!


Maria Gracia
Get Organized Now!

This is the end of our
Regular Newsletter Content
If you'd like to learn more about
Today's Special, Gotta Have Resource
you will find that information below.

  Special 'Gotta Have' Resource


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How to Use This Newsletter

In this newsletter, you will find stories, ideas, inspiration, links and more to help you live a less stressful, more organized, more fulfilling life. We encourage you to apply these ideas to your own life AND share them liberally with your family, friends, and fan base via email, on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, other social media outlets, and in person, of course!

When you share, please mention my name and web site - Maria Gracia - as the source.

Thank you for helping to spread the gift of organizing far and wide! -- Maria

(c) Copyright 2017 by Maria Gracia, Get Organized Now!

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-- Maria Gracia