De-clutter your way to a Christmas bonus
SYDNEY, NSW, November 30, 2011 – THE days of the boss handing out a big fat Christmas bonus may be long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself one. Many sink themselves further into debt over the festive season, when decluttering their home – and life – could lead to a tidy Christmas lump sum.
Inner-B director, organising educator and Sydney mum Valerie Petersen said it was about deciding the total amount needed to cover your Christmas budget and working towards achieving that. “If $1600 is needed to cover your Christmas costs, then divide that by 11 months – January to November. It becomes more achievable to work towards finding and saving $115 per month for next Christmas. It also means you don’t leave Christmas behind feeling like you owe heaps of money.’’
While this Christmas is just mere weeks away, Valerie said there was still an opportunity to receive a self-made bonus. Here are Valerie’s tips:
Don’t pay more than you need to for bills
As soon as a bill is late, it is common practise for companies to charge a late fee. By paying an extra $5 on top of bills regularly, you could be paying anywhere up to $50 by Christmas.
Give wardrobes and kids cupboards an overhaul
This time of year people are in spend mode, so it’s the ideal opportunity to go through that wardrobe or cupboard and sell items you no longer want or need. Try garage sales, eBay and baby and toddler markets. She said eBay success could often be dictated by the quality of the photos and the starting price. “Decide the minimum you expect to get back and start the auction at that price. The item is sitting there doing nothing anyway, so be realistic.’’
Get on top of meal planning
Get rid of all the items in your pantry and fridge that are passed their used by date and use up anything else. “I only buy things now that I know I’m going to cook with. If I want to try something new, I’ll only buy it if I plan to cook with it straight away.’’ She said this was where meal planning could be effective in using the items already bought and items planned to be bought. “It’s about being resourceful.’’
Before shopping for Christmas presents, teacher appreciation gifts or birthdays, consider what you already have. Although, Valerie warns there are some dangers with re-gifting (“um, didn’t I give you this last year?’’). “More love can go into a homemade gift. With Coles and Woolies price war, you can save on staples like flour, making it economical to bake biscuits or cakes and using produce already in your pantry. Even repurposing an old pinboard with a coat of paint and material can make for a beautiful gift.’’ Children’s art work, currently cluttering up cupboards, can be framed and given to grandparents. This also means the art work is staying in the family.
Take advantage of vouchers
Valerie has a compendium accordion file she organises all her vouchers in. “Rather than putting them all in a pile at home, file them into petrol, food, play centre and retail in a small file and leave in the glove box of the car for next time you’re out.
Keep your receipts in order
Use a compendium accordion file to also keep track of receipts. When you end up with a product that didn’t fit, you lose money if you don’t have a receipt to exchange it. As soon as you make a purchase, file it under categories (gifts, shopping, car, clothing, accessories) or under months. “Don’t put them all in one box – that’s only doing half the step.’’
Sell household items
Write down what you love about that book and then sell it. Stop hoarding items. When it comes to the kitchen, some appliances serve two purposes. “If you have a pressure cooker, you don’t need a rice cooker.’’ Ask yourself how often you’ve used it – if at all.
Renew your insurance
Valerie renewed her insurance in the past month and has now saved herself $60 a year. “It was simply a matter of asking the question: is this the right one for me? You can change your policy at any time.’’
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Inner-B director, organising educator and Sydney mum Valerie Petersen has been planning her life with style for as long as she can remember. Valerie is now a sought-after course facilitator, lecturer and public speaker, conducts engaging, motivational workshops for the corporate and retails sectors on organising your life and runs a successful blog. She also manages a team of contractors aligned to the business, which sells mum organising products.
Download a PDF of the press release: Declutter your way to a Christmas bonus