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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    to eat dinner there a couple of nights a week and go out to eat the rest of the time With little kids your kitchen receives a lot of use and you need a decent amount of pantry space Can you make do with a small kitchen Of course you can make it work but a functional space will go a long way to helping you feel satisfied in your new place Storage is also important but you might be surprised to find that modern apartments have more closet space than older houses Shelves make the most efficient use of space if you need to add storage We have the kind of metro restaurant style shelves that can be adjusted and don t need to be mounted to the wall and I can t believe how much stuff it holds When we need to move it can be disassembled for easy transport Of course there is more advice Continue reading What to Expect When You re Expecting and You Still Live in an Apartment What advice would you give 34 Comments The Fridge That Cleans Itself Our kitchen is in progress right now We have a couple of new things so far but no backsplash curtains or art on the walls yet I m just showing peeks of the kitchen until it s finished hopefully soon It looked like this previously I m no stranger to the way that smaller things can cost more than bigger things The small houses in the historic district cost much more than the massive houses on the edge of town One good writing pen costs more than the cheap pack of six And you can t just buy one battery you have to buy the entire package and find a place in your apartment to store the rest you don t need Travel size and apartment size while practical often carry a premium price for their small design So it came as no surprise when I looked for a smaller counter depth refrigerator that they cost significantly more than what I would consider to be a normal fridge according to American standards I looked for weeks reading reviews and studying dimensions of cubic feet but I saw no clear winner The dozens of refrigerator models aren t very different after all they re made by the three or four companies who own the variety of brands It s hard to be impressed when an expensive appliance s life expectancy is just 7 to 10 years according to the salesperson What happened to quality We used to expect better But I digress IKEA had a model at a reasonable price that was a true counter depth of 24 inches but it was out of stock for months We couldn t wait for it We needed a fridge for the house we just bought and though our kitchen is a large size a regular sized refrigerator unit would have blocked the window We had our sights

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/35/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    to try to get my Christmas shopping done and as I was standing in the checkout line I recognized that I was having a crazy moment Not a crazy moment like when the kids are being noisy and it s five o clock and I m trying to cope but crazy as in Who is this person This is totally not like me at all What was happening I went to one store to buy a gift for someone else and I came out with no gift but three things for myself a wool sweater in a gorgeous shade of peacock blue a matching pair of lamps with zebra shades and a cape Yes a cape No not like a Halloween cape more like an equestrian style cape I don t know what came over me Anyway I did get all of my Christmas shopping done which is what I set out to do last week in an attempt to minimize stress for the holidays I ve never done it this early before but setting goals and focusing on specific projects like this works really well for me I did it in one week I bought and wrapped unique gifts for more than twenty people including December birthdays because we shouldn t forget those Twenty Yes And more And before you ask yes I did take some people off the list to shorten it And yes we do draw names for two family groups to keep it simple Right now I ll just feel fortunate to have so many people in our lives to whom we can give gifts In all this shopping I learned a few good lessons A little for you a little for me Every year when I go Christmas shopping I m reminded of this basic truth It s so much easier to shop for yourself than for other people And this can get you into some trouble It s hard to concentrate on the gifts you need to find when you see a whole bunch of shirts on sale that you know you d like You re already primed to buy there are sales everywhere and it s the end of the year It s a weak spot Know what your wardrobe is lacking before you go shopping Have a wish list Avoid buying something random because it s on sale that can bust your budget Go Early There is so much more selection when do your shopping early You can find clothes in the sizes you want You don t have to wait in line to check out Whether you go early or go late you re spending the same amount of time but going early makes you feel successful instead of stressed out I m so glad I can go into the Christmas season with that crossed off my list Go Fast Just because you re going shopping early it doesn t mean you should linger and spend more time on it Get

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/36/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    this interview by Kimberly Palmer from the Alpha Consumer blog at U S News World Report I shared my thoughts on simplicity plus a few of my own challenges I hope you enjoy reading it Thanks Kimberly On a side note I ve been doing a little work behind the scenes One of the new features here at Small Notebook is now it s easier to subscribe For those of you who have asked to receive articles by email now you can You can choose to receive new articles By Email or In your RSS Reader If you d like to know what s so great about subscribing what it means and how easy it is you can read more about it How and Why Should I Subscribe RSS Explained 13 Comments What Did Your Parents Teach You About Money Granny 1949 I come from a long line of frugal family members It s not uncommon for my grandparents to go out to eat at Braum s and split a hamburger Growing up my parents were frugal too so it doesn t surprise me that I tend to be careful with money Some of it is because of personal conviction but a lot is simply from habit and my frugal ways began early There are specific lessons I remember my parents teaching me My dad said cars depreciate quickly in the first two years so that is why I buy used cars with cash I also remember him showing me a check for 400 that he received from an investment me 1982 But even more was unspoken and I soaked it all in watching how my parents spent money Sometimes my perception wasn t always accurate I remember when my parents made homemade root beer and filled up several milk

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/166/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    it s safe to toss them Receipts When the transaction has cleared your account you probably don t need those little slips of paper any more The only reasons to keep them would be the possibility of returning an item insurance valuation for expensive items for taxes such as sales tax credit or home upgrades Almost all other receipts can be tossed after you ve checked your bank or credit card statement Most receipts will fade as they age I scan the few I want to keep long term Pay stubs Only keep the most recent few until you get the last one for the year Then compare it to your W 2 statement before you toss it Bank or Credit Card statements I save most account statements digitally because keeping them helps me to toss other paperwork I can easily throw away paid bills and receipts because there is a record of the transaction on the bank statement Retirement Account statements You don t need the monthly statements once you ve received a quarterly or annual statement It s also fine to toss the Prospectus Report for an investment Keep letters and documents that confirm your right to a future retirement benefit such as an employer s pension plan Taxes In most cases you should keep tax returns for at least 3 years since that s the time limit to amend a return or for the IRS to audit good faith returns There s no time limit for the IRS to audit fraudulent returns Auto Records Keep the title in a safe place and keep maintenance records as well until you sell the car Auto and Property Insurance papers When you get the new insurance card in the mail throw away the expired cards You don t need to keep paperwork for insurance that expired or that covered property you no longer own Health Insurance Papers When you need to refer to your medical history it s easier to look at a one page summary instead of a stack of medical bills Make a list of your important medical events for your personal records Keep medical bills for the current year and then toss them if you don t need them for tax deductions Instead of storing a bulky directory of physicians search online for network doctors You can find the list of preferred prescriptions online as well School papers Are you keeping old school notes or research papers just because you worked hard on them You re not keeping them to show how smart you are right Unless you actually use them in your current career you don t need them anymore They have already served their purpose Keep a small sample if you must and then let go of the rest Warranties and Manuals If you have any warranty paperwork that is expired or manuals for appliances that you no longer own give them a toss What about cards letters and keepsakes Papers with sentimental value are

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/165/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    did on the weekend You hoped they had the latest release you wanted to see on the shelf otherwise you d end up renting Overboard again Know someone who works at the movie store part time Score Maybe they can get you some free movie rental coupons The 2000 s Who wants to rewind Let s start a DVD collection instead We re so current with our new technology and flip cell phones Movie purchases are more affordable buying a DVD is about the same cost as renting a movie a couple of times without the late fees and wondering if they have what you want in stock Plus you can loan it to your friends Win The 2010 s Movies are plentiful now Here we are with streaming internet 1 movie rentals at Redbox free content on YouTube cheap Netflix subscriptions and more choices than we could ever watch As technology changes I think the concept of the home movie library will change and DVDs will go the way of the cassette tape So no I don t think it is wasteful to give away old DVDs The money has already been spent Any media or technology has current value not intrinsic value They aren t investments for the future Are you thinking of selling your movies Don t wait too long your collection of DVDs probably has more value now than it will a year from now And that being said I do keep the movies on DVDs that you see above our favorites and kid flicks from when we traveled overseas and other times we couldn t rely on the internet but I don t need to buy more because there are so many other options How do you handle DVDs Do you keep them or have you moved on to other choices 102 Comments Thinking Ahead for the Holiday Season The photos here are the ones I took when I was cleaning the lens and testing my camera settings I couldn t help but find them amusing when I found them this morning on my computer Seems more real than carefully constructed shots Can we talk about Christmas I am always reluctant to bring it up before Thanksgiving I don t want anyone to groan I was thinking about it because lately I have been stretched so thin It s all good stuff but with deadlines and projects I wondered how I could fit Christmas hoopla into the mix There was the one Christmas when I decided I didn t want to do a bunch of preparing I just wanted to show up for it and I did I didn t know I was pregnant until two days before Christmas and then it all made sense Other Christmases I made some of the gifts but the idea of having that much time now seems so foreign it might as well be another planet The way things are this year I thought about What is the one

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/37/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    so we talk about it some here 24 00 Why I chose the ugly duckling house and our kitchen design plans 26 50 The decorating tip I learned from a reader s comment that I m applying in my new house 31 15 Tsh said my house used to look like an old fast food restaurant Oh yes she did Find out which restaurant 43 15 We talk about clothes and developing a personal style 44 15 Do you think I should join Twitter or Facebook 51 00 At the end of every podcast Tsh asks the same ten questions and one is Name a historical figure you admire For some reason I could only think of one person And I knew it wasn t the right answer to give but I just couldn t stop thinking of her and then I finally came up with a random Founding Father So when you hear a long awkward pause at 1 02 15 that s why I really love Claire Huxtable Click here to listen to the podcast Thanks for hosting Tsh 25 Comments Teach Kids About Saving Money Does this look like the face of someone who wants to discuss good financial habits for her future I m over at AlphaMom today talking about how no matter what I try to tell her about saving money it s my example that she ll remember Read the post at AlphaMom and jump into the comments there to discuss Lead By Example Teach Your Kids About Saving Money Add a comment The Work Process I was feeling impatient with our home renovation I just wanted it to be done But as I was looking at these pictures I think I ve changed my mind Doug didn t grow up with his dad

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/38/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    you still have after other expenses Think ahead how much you plan to spend at Christmas for home upgrades or for a new timing belt on your car in the next year What about bills that I pay twice a year You can set the money aside in advance Consider having a monthly portion automatically drafted into one or more savings accounts You want to have the money ready before you need it What if the expenses are more than the income It s time to trim drastically if needed A serious look at needs versus wants is hard but necessary How to use your budget Each week enter your actual expenses into the second column Hopefully they won t be too different from your planned amounts but you can tweak your budget as needed If you need to decrease one amount to add to another amount do it It can be very eye opening to find out how much you are spending on eating out clothing or other things As you get a sense of where your money is going then you can decide you have areas you want to cut back on One final suggestion After paying off debt any money left over should go into savings and investments instead of thinking of it as free spending money Why Putting extra money away during months of excess will carry you through the lean times Unless you want to have a roller coaster of highs and lows feast or famine setting money aside when there is extra will give you a sense of stability and peace Besides fun and entertainment have already been included in the list You re not having to go without Karen I hope that answered your question thoroughly Readers what other ideas would you suggest If you re new here from MSN Money welcome I hope you enjoy looking around and be sure to check out the comments for each article The comment link is under each title You ll find a wealth of knowledge shared by other smart readers 20 Comments What Motivates Us Inspiration to Declutter photo by MR G on Flickr Lately here the theme has been decluttering with a look at tossing paper and thoughts on keeping too many sentimental things It occurred to me that I ve written more about the how to s and not as much about the motivation for it So let s begin at the beginning Why would you make the effort to purposefully declutter your belongings Here are mine my personal top five reasons to declutter my stuff and have fewer things 1 A sense of calm When a home is crowded with stuff it goes beyond cozy and starts to look messy If my home is a mess then I feel overwhelmed and stressed It s also incredibly distracting from the people who I really want to be giving my attention to 2 Personal beliefs I have a personal conviction to live with less

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/164/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    lowered by 35 and though there s no way to measure it I ll go out on a limb and estimate our happiness quotient went UP by at least 30 You know what is most apparent to me about Jennifer s story Her sense of home isn t centered on the house It s about the people in it I love that We re about to enter a season when a lot of emphasis is on decorating the home and adding more Let s enjoy it but not forget what truly matters to us ok 31 Comments Tasty Popcorn No Microwave Needed Fridays are great movie nights and movies mean popcorn Did you know that before microwaves people used to cook popcorn on the stove It s true Half joking here Doug had no idea the first time I told him about stovetop popcorn So for all of us who grew up watching popcorn pop in the microwave I thought it would be fun to make a little home movie about how to make popcorn on the stove It s less than three minutes and you can joke about my Texan accent if you want If this doesn t show up in your RSS Reader click through to view it on Small Notebook Personally I love to grate fresh parmesan cheese over hot popcorn How about you What s your favorite popcorn topping 49 Comments How to Keep and Store Children s Art In the Paper Pile Makeover we re looking at every kind of paper that accumulates in the house One of these is children s school and artwork precious but boundless Recently my sweet and sentimental mom decided it was time to pass down the artwork she had saved for me from my childhood With the number of

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/163/ (2016-02-10)
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