Goodbye, January! Hello, February!

Where has the month gone? So slow at times, and yet so quickly gone, we’re already rolling into the second month of 2017.

My challenge for the month of February is financial related. No, no, you didn’t miss a January challenge (although I have had sort of a writing challenge I haven’t blogged about, but I’ll make sure to get a blog about it in this month because I’m going to continue with it through February) but I HAVE decided to jump on the no-spend bandwagon. There is no specific group I’m joining, no specific challenge or group of women I’m doing it with, but I have voiced it aloud to my local support system (aka the lovely thelittlehouseoutback) and it is this:

February is No Spend Month!

I have stamped it all over my planner so it’s official! It’s a Crack Down. I have failed every one I have done so far so I am going to take a deep breath, take it week by week (and day by day if I need to) and just focus on the goal. There are bigger things ahead, I just have to keep my eye on the prize (which, ultimately, is being out of debt, and the more I do not spend the faster I will get there)!

Now, that being said, we do have a lovely “Good Job!” at the end(ish?) of this: at the end of March an out of town scrapbook store is hosting a scrapbook garage sale and we (my mother, sister and I) signed up to go shopping at that months ago. We went to it last year and went hog wild and let me tell you–hog wild still did not cost near as much as I thought it would, and it’s totally happening but I’ll be budgeting for hog wild this time. And the more I do not spend, the less I will feel guilty for going hog wild at the end of March (and the more I will have saved up for that because I have been looking forward to that since September).

So that is my big challenge to face in February: no spend month! EEK! I am so nervous about it, but I think I can do it because I feel more prepared than ever–I am so determined to see this debt go down, so determined to see a positive difference in my financial situation, and more than anything, I am so determined to keep feeling determined.

Like I have said before, facing that $1,000 Baby Step One has been a bit disappointing for me. It has made me feel like I reached a standstill because all of that could have been thrown onto Credit Card #3, and whoa, what a difference that would make! So I have to get back into my “Chip” mindset and just start doing my little bit at a time thing again when I can, and just keep pushing forward! Every little bit counts, every little bit moves me closer towards the goal of being debt free. It’s so daunting thinking of the whole overall picture, I need to go back towards thinking of just one or two steps at a time. I can’t think of the entire forest, I must look at just a couple of trees!

So my current goal is February No Spend so I can get back in the mindset of Chippin’ Away!

What are your February Goals? Are you planning on filling any Jars?

Last week I shared some Thousand Dollar Jars to help with Baby Step one (or any other goals you might have!). I don’t want to discourage you–sometimes that goal is just too big to reach and you need to start smaller, or you want to teach your kids to save and need a more realistic goal for them to reach.

To help with that, here are Hundred Dollar Jars. Use them to build up your savings in small increments or teach your kids to reach savings goals!

Hundred Dollar Jar PersonalPersonal Size Hundred Dollar Jar

Hundred Dollar Jar A5A5 Hundred Dollar Jar

Hundred Dollar Jar FullFull Size Hundred Dollar Jar

Chippin Away

My financial journey to freedom is going to take a while. Not as long as some, but a lot longer than it should. It’s been a struggle for a while, and a paycheck-to-paycheck struggle probably for 2 years now.

This new job brings a lot of financial hope, especially if I can get my financial habits straightened up, and especially now that the initial 6 months have passed. There were a few-expensive!-things that had to happen, financially, when I was first hired that could not be avoided, from paying for COBRA to the “damage control” of paying off other credit cards, among other (sometimes irresponsible) things, and then towards the fall I was suddenly feeling ready to attack with gusto.

Except…I couldn’t. Some of those aforementioned expenses caused roadblocks… You can’t exactly skip paying the car insurance when you need a car to get to work. So I developed a system that worked for me.

When I was first preparing for the journey to financial freedom, before I was ready to speak the words aloud, I would journal about it. And one thing I would consistently do would journal about “Chipping Away” at my debt, an image of Chip from Beauty and the Beast grinning at me in my head. It’s a great image to have, really. He’s a happy little teacup, a little grin on his face, encouraging you to keep on going!

I used to sell planner pages on Etsy and when I did, I would occasionally get small amounts of money deposited into my bank account if someone used Etsy Checkout. When that happened I would turn around and take that couple of dollars and apply it as an extra payment towards my credit card that had a balance but I wasn’t using (I have another card automatic payments go on, such as my trainer, mail order prescriptions, etc.). I would “Chip Away” at my debt. It didn’t matter how little it was, what mattered was the card total was going down.

So I decided that Chip is going to my little mascot during this journey. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me, it doesn’t matter how rough it’s going to be. As long as I keep chippin’ away at it, I’m going to consider it progress! I just kind of use the mantra “Keep Chippin’ Away!” A little bit adds up over the long haul and I’m going to rely on that little bit to help propel me forward during the difficult times when I feel like the momentum has to stall temporarily. So I can’t put a bit chunk down on my debt? Here’s $25. Here’s $10. Here’s something to keep it going, to keep the amount going down and to keep chippin’ away!

What do you tell yourself to keep going?

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I am a Christmas nutcase. I love picking out a tree and throwing my decorations on it in a hodge-podge of memories, with no rhyme or reason, other than the fact that I love each ornament. There is never any theme to my tree. In fact, not all my ornaments even go on the tree! I have a glass display that I am currently taking down. As I was dismantling my display this year, I thought I would share some of my favorite ornaments I display in my case, not on my tree.

When I was younger my mom purchased both my sister and I Hallmark Barbie Holiday ornaments. There was a short series of them in the 1990’s. Now, the thing is, my sister and I were never much Barbie girls, and we still aren’t, but don’t you get between me and my Barbie ornaments!! In fact, I’ve even added to it myself in recent years! I am a self admitted doll collector, but that collection still doesn’t include Barbie brand, except for these wonderful ornaments.

I snapped a few photos of my collection before I put them away this year:

Favorite Ornaments to Display1993

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1994

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1995

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1996

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1997

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1998

Favorite Ornaments to Display
Celebration Barbie Ornament
Special 2011 Edition
Inspired by Holiday Barbie Doll
I added this ornament to my collection within the last couple of years. I picked her up for $5 while thrift shopping.

Favorite Ornaments to Display
2015 Celebration Barbie Ornament Set
Inspired by the 2013 & 2014 Holiday Barbie Dolls
Originally $40, I picked this up 75% after the 2015 Christmas season was over–after New Years 2016, Hallmark ornaments at CVS go 75% off and I was surprised to see this lovely set there, so I added it to my collection last year!

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My first download is available for you! In honor of starting Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step One, I’m making the Savings Jar planner pages I created available! Just click the link under the image to go directly to the PDF to save and print for your own personal use. Use it to track your savings and fill your “jar” and if you have to dip into it, use the second page to track refilling it.

I have it available in three sizes: A5 (also for use in mini binders, such as what Target sells at their Dollar Spot), personal size and Full Size (8-1/2 by 11″), just click the link below each photo below.

I have a lot more downloads to come, but I haven’t quite worked out how to release them. I used to sell on Etsy (I’m still in the process of transitioning out of that) and I’m going to release them all for download for free! I can’t wait to release them out into the world and share them with everyone, plus some new ideas I have, so I hope you’re excited to look out for those.

Thousand Dollar Jar PersonalThousand Dollar Jar – Personal Size

Thousand Dollar Jar A5Thousand Dollar Jar – A5

Thousand Dollar Jar FullThousand Dollar Jar – Full Size

Baby Step OneDave Ramsey has 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom. If you do a quick Google search you’ll come across three different opinions on Dave Ramsey: people who think he is awesome, people who think he is too rigid, and people who think he is not rigid enough. In the end, I don’t think it matters what other people think. I think it matters what you think. Much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, there is a lot of financial advice and options out there and you need to do what best suits you and right now, this best suits me.

I need some guidance, and I need little milestones along the way. (Dave Ramsey even addresses this issue, but I’ll probably discuss it in a later post when I start talking about knocking out the next credit card.) And so starts my journey to Baby Step One: $1,000 in savings.

I read an article saying a car emergency could easily wipe out $1,000 in savings, which is true, but if you end up in the hospital you could easily end up with a $5,000 hospital bill you don’t have cash for, too. You can’t plan for every emergency, but you can plan for some of the smaller emergencies, and this is a great start.

Baby Step OneSo where am I now? I currently have $250 in my “jar.” Yes, I even have an actually jar in my planner so I know where I stand! It’s satisfying to watch it fill up and helped me with a bit of my frustrations to see that every little bit adds up.

I’m blessed at this point in my life to have things fall into place. I have some back pay coming in from a second job that will help me unexpectedly fill it up a bit faster and I am hoping it will be full by the end of January. I’m really tightening my belt to meet this goal and get started on credit card #3.

Now, I’m not so starry eyed that I don’t think I’m going to wipe my debt away by the end of the year. It took a while to dig myself into this hole and it’s going to take a while to dig myself out. I can, however, put in the work and get myself turned in the right direction and get some good habits solidly in place by the end of the year.

I also have big charges due throughout the year that I know are going to cause bumps that put a pause the forward momentum. I already know I’ll get frustrated, but I’m determined to try to set aside some savings over and above Baby Step One when I know those things are coming (car insurance, for example). That’s life. But the point is to keep going. I’ve got a motto and a method for what I do when something like that tries to get in my way, so look forward an explanation of that in my next finance post.

How are you doing with your finance goals this year? What areas do you need to work on? Are there any tools you can use to reach your goals? What kind of encouragement can I give you?
Baby Step One

2017 Planner Tour I’ve been using a planner for a while, but I’m not very good at planning. Even after several years, I tend to use it for tracking! I found an old planner from college that I had written some notes in and then forgotten about it–it was, apparently, useless to me! Well, they’re not useless to my anymore, but let me show you what I use it for and how planners best work for me.

I own several planners and I like to switch them out depending on my mood. My favorite (which I’m kicking 2017 off with) is my Union Jack Filofax in A5. I love A5 because, since I live in America, I can make my own inserts, print them out on an 8-1/2 by 11″ piece of paper, cut it in half, punch some holes, and I’m good to go! (I sell my inserts on both Etsy and Zibbet if you see anything that might interest you. I sell mostly A5, but I have a variety of sizes, from full size 8-1/2 by 11″ to personal size and A4, and you can always request custom pages or something be made in a particular size–I do everything from planner pages, to household binder pages, to journaling pages, but I’ll do another post on that later.)

2017 Planner TourWhen you first open my planner you can see my favorite part–the pockets! The variety of ephemera in the planner pocket is ever changing. I try to keep a few Project Life cards in there for notes, address exchanges, etc. They’re sturdy and I own an overabundance of them (I can’t stop buying them!), which is why I prefer them over notepaper. I also keep any to-do mail in there: I currently have a penpal letter tucked in that I need to respond to, as well as a bill that needs to be paid. In my clear pocket I keep a variety of stickers–most are from Etsy, some are Korean or Japanese planner stickers, and some are just random (everybody’s got a random! #moviequote). If you can see the polka dots through the plastic zip pocket, you can see I don’t really have a dashboard. I have a clear piece of plastic that protects the pages behind it, but I’m one of the rate few that don’t use a dashboard!

2017 Planner TourMy next set of pages is something I picked up during my planner travels. I’ve collected a lot during my planner travels–a lot that’s just sat on my shelves as I figured out what worked for me. It sat there and I didn’t get rid of it, and I’m so glad I just let that stuff accumulate! One thing I discovered over the last year is a weekly doesn’t work in a ringed binder for me, but the calendar part does. While I was flipping through my “planner stuff” to set up my 2017 I discovered somewhere along the way I had purchased a pack of SN@P! Simple Stories planner inserts. It was the full calendar insert, plus weekly spreads for each month. I chose to put just the monthly calendar into my planner. I love looking back over the month to see what’s happened–lunch with so and so–but with all the other tracking I do in my planner, the weekly spreads just don’t get used.

2017 Planner TourThe next part of my planner is set aside for finances. Some of this is new, as I buckle down this year to get my debts paid off and finances in order. One of the great things I like about a ringed planner is the personalization. My planner is always in flux–I can make it work for me, and if my needs change throughout the year, the month, or even the week, then I can sit down at my computer and make up a new page that makes it more efficient for me. So my financial section #1 holds short term financial pages–financial related things that change on a monthly or weekly basis. Bills & Goals (do I have a goal of saving $500 by the end of February, or paying off a credit card by the end of August?) and a Wish List, so I can think about and budget for things I want and need. The divider is in there because I don’t know where I want it yet!

2017 Planner TourThis next bit is probably the most important part of my planner thus far. I am constantly turning to these pages to stay on top of things. So what I have found that works for me and my budget is to have a list of all my Bills Due on the left side, their amounts, and to mark them off when their do, and my Check Register on the Right. It makes it easy to see what I’ve paid, what I need to pay with this paycheck, and what I need to budget for.

2017 Planner TourFinancial section #2 holds long-term finance related pages, things that are going to take a lot longer to work on. I may end up sharing my financial journey on this blog so I’ll try not to go into here, so I’ll just say I’m getting a lot of guidance from Dave Ramsey right now (I recommend watching him on YouTube). I have taped a Project Life card to my tab on the left side so the debts I need to pay off are always in view, with space to jot down a paid off date. I want to keep them on the list so I can see the progress I’ve made when I’m feeling frustrated. The right side is my Baby Step One Jar so I can “fill up” the jar as I fill up my savings account.

2017 Planner TourBehind the jar I have several Debt Pay Down pages. I try to focus on one card at a time so I only fill out page page at a time, and I keep my filled out pages in the planner as motivation. Again, I’ll go into that in a later post, but having something to physically look at, and not just a digital number on the screen, really helps to keep me on track. This is a page I developed in 2016 and one I’m going to continue using in 2017.

2017 Planner TourI added an additional two pages after my debt paydown pages, just because it needed to be in my financial sections, but I don’t know where they’ll end staying. My financial section may end up expanding to 3 sections, we’ll have to see how things work out. I added a tracker for my FICO score (something one of my credit cards recently started offering for free, so I thought watching the score go up as my debt to credit ration goes down might be encouraging) as well as a tracker for Online Purchases. I have been terrible about tracking purchases online, but it’s time to start being accountable for how much I buy!

2017 Planner TourMy next section is “Medical Stuff.” I’ve struggled with various things over the last couple of years (who hasn’t?) and these are pages that organically ended up in my planner. I used tabs at the top to mark pages because there was no need for each to take up a tab. The first page is medication I’m taking which mostly goes with the second page–tracking my  migraines. (I take both prescription and non-prescription medications for migraines, depending on the severity and triggers. A non-stop party.)

2017 Planner TourThe third page makes my doctor happy to look back on. At one point we thought my headaches were due to blood pressure issues before tying them into my migraines, but I still keep an eye on my blood pressure due to the medications I’m on for the migraines just in case…you know how it is! And the last page in this section is for weight, because one of my constant Resolutions is to lose some!

2017 Planner TourMy next sections getting a bit…weird? Mixed? Sometimes they have a purpose, sometimes they don’t, but I like having the full set of tabs in my planner in case I need them. Currently, I have the section behind Medical set up for Blog Post Ideas. It gives me a place to jot down ideas and somewhere to expand on a blog topic during work hours or when I’m unable to bust open my blog and start writing. The next section doesn’t have a photo: it holds a few passwords I can’t memorize for the life of me, as well as some ideas I’ve jotted down, some to do lists, and just a big smattering of random lists and whatnots that I need to hang on to and want them at hand. The one behind that holds a few planner pages I printed out (Mail Records, Thank You Card Records) that I would like to use, but I don’t know if I can make myself get in the habit, but I want them on hand just in case I can get myself to use them!

2017 Planner TourThe back of my planner holds a various mishmash. I keep paper in here I made out of a journal (I took apart a journal from Marshall’s because I liked the paper and punched some holes in it), as well as some page protectors that hold things like used stamps (because where else do I put them when I’m out and about?). It’s the kind of stuff I’ve added that make my planner work for me.

2017 Planner TourI also keep a copy of my aunt’s memorial service program with me. Some things you can’t explain, but that’s part of the personalization and making something yours. Add some photos or a vision board. Make it something you want to use, not something other people want to use!

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Have you ever seen that old Lending Tree commercial? It’s all about Keeping up with the Jones’. And these days, the Jones’ are in our back pocket. Our smartphones constantly keep us connected to things like Instagram and Facebook showing us what people have that we should have, too, in order to be successful. Well, guess where that landed me? Yup, that’s right, where it landed everyone else–in debt up to my eyeballs!

It started with a new job. I liked my old job–I was there for 10 1/2 years–but I wasn’t make a lot of money. No, let me rephrase that–I made enough. I didn’t let it be enough. It was a slow progression, and not done intentionally at first, but at some point I was in over my head and figured, “Oh, well, I guess this is just life.” I allowed my debts to grow and my spending to grow, and it got to a point where I either needed to find a new job that paid more, or a second job to earn a second income. I could no longer ignore the elephant in the room.

I did a lot of praying about moving on and was blessed with a new job in 2016 that offered me financial stability if I put in the work to straightening out in my finances. You see, I did a bad, bad thing at my last job. I allowed myself to live beyond my means. I didn’t get “paid enough,” but I also didn’t handle what God gave me and I spent more than I had. Yes, that also includes a lot of money in student loans! I now have a big hole to dig out myself out of.

I don’t feel comfortable going into a lot of detail, I’m very ashamed of myself and it’s a big reveal posting about it online, but I want to talk about my struggle because so many people go through this very thing and no one talks about it. It’s embarrassing not to be able to handle your money. So I may reveal more as I go along, it depends on what I’m comfortable with at the time. But I want to talk about it because I want to be able to support others trying to learn to handle their money, to dig themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into, and to learn from it so they don’t do it again. I vow to learn from this so that I am not stuck in a repeat of this cycle for the rest of my life, and I hope you learn from it, too!

As soon as I got my new job I immediately started what I called “damage control.” I paid off 2 small credit cards–and then I immediately slid backwards and put Christmas back on one of those credit cards. And then I paid it right back off. That was my big success of 2016–I made my last payment on that card on December 31st (my paycheck happened to fall on December 30th) so I ended 2016 with two less monkeys on my back.

The last couple of months I also really started to watch a lot of Dave Ramsey on YouTube. I watch a lot of videos that have nothing to do with my financial status, my age, my means, nothing. But the more I take in, the more information I have in my head as future situations arise. AND they’re really motivating. Sometimes you hear someone and you think, “I want to be there! That’s where I want to be in 5 years!” And sometimes it’s a warning to heed and you think, “Oh, no! That’s where I am headed! I can’t keep doing what I’m doing!”

It was a slow progression but this year, 2017, I decided to follow Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. I started thinking about it last year, but I think, regardless, I would have had to do my “damage control” of paying off those two small credit cards because I needed the breathing room. I needed that relief of not having to worry about their minimum payments or balances hanging over my head before jumping head first into his program because, trust me, that was a difficult decision to make in itself!

You see, after paying off those credit cards I was getting ready to start on a third. (There’s that sense of shaming floating up…can you see it?) I was ready to jump full force into busting onto this third goal and…realize I skipped Baby Step One. It was like someone hit me. What? What do you mean I have to stop everything and save money? I felt like the momentum train hit a wall. I was so dejected for a few days–that was money I could apply towards getting rid of that credit card.

Logically, I know why you have a cash emergency fund, but I was just so ready to attack the credit card that I was just thrown off. But I’m ready to get Baby Step One accomplished so I can move on to credit card #3 and see some change start to happen!

Is anyone else following Dave Ramsey or any other financial plans for 2017?

Christmas is my favorite holiday so each yeah, inevitably, I add something new to my collection. The last couple of years (in 2015 and 2016) I actually purged while decorating in December–you have to do damage control every once in a while when it’s your favorite holiday, especially when you know you’ll always be adding more to your hoard! This year I added three new things to my Christmas stash:

Christmas AdditionsThe first thing I added was a beautiful carousel print ornament by The Poppy Tree on Etsy. I have loved her artwork since I first saw it several years ago and this is not the first time I have added a piece of her artwork to my collection (the snowflake ornament in the bottom left photo was sent when I purchased another favorite ornament from her in the past).

If you love whimsical, magical (and sometimes spooky) art, you should really check out her prints.

One thing I decided I wanted to do more of last year was to support “the little guy.” More specifically, the little guys online whose work (whether it be artists or social media) I enjoy. Sometimes it’s donating to someone’s GoFundMe, sometimes it’s purchasing something from an independent artist when I know it’s something I can craft myself, and sometime’s it’s just showing someone that makes something some support any way I can.

Christmas AdditionsOne of those smaller guys I supported this year was The Frey Life on YouTube. I came across their YouTube channel later in the year (and found out my sister’s been enjoying their channel for over a year!). I bought a couple of prints and my mom a fold up shopping bag/backup for her purse (plastic bags are banned in our county, and they just banned them in California, so any fold up, easy to tuck into your purse bags are great for when you forget bags when you go shopping!). When they came out with a set of ornaments I KNEW I had to have a set! I think of their mottos, “Choose Joy” and “Don’t forget to laugh everyday,” each time I see them. And it’s great to have Oliver (their dog) on the tree, too!

Christmas Additions The final item I got this year doesn’t scream Christmas when you look at it, but it reminds me of Christmas. I recently started wearing pins and couldn’t resist picking up a set of Miss Bianca and Bernard pins on eBay when I saw these. Each year, for years, I have put ornaments of these characters on the tree. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw The Rescuers Down Under, but these ornaments bring me so much that joy that my heart just smiles each time I see these pins, and who doesn’t need a little dose of happy when they look down at work to shuffle papers?

Christmas might be over for 2016, but I’m already looking forward to unpacking my newest treasures come December 2017. What new holiday treasures did you pick up in 2016?

 

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03. January 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: writings · Tags:

Journal JarSometimes, you have a hard day. Sometimes, it’s a rough week. Other times, the whole year is a dumpster fire you’d like to forget. *cough*2016*cough*

But the thing is, even a dumpster fire will keep you warm on a cold night. Humans have a tendency to remember the worst while forgetting the best. And sometimes the best might be small, fleeting moments. Nevertheless, they are still there.

Journal JarThis jar can help you remember the good. It can also help you remember some of the bad, if that’s how you want to use it. The main thing is you make it what you want it to be!

The Journal Jar (as my mom and I now call it) is something that has developed over the last few years. We first saw it on Pinterest as The Grateful Jar (which is kind of a mouthful). The idea is to write something you are grateful for or something good that happens to you on a piece of paper, fold it up, and drop it into the jar. On New Year’s Day, you go back through and read the pieces of paper, reminiscing about all the good moments you’d forgotten about.

The next year, we called it The Happy Jar. Later this year, my mom had a light bulb idea: The Journal Jar. Yes, it’s awesome to write the good stuff down, especially when things are rough, but sometimes you want to note when not-so-good stuff happens, too. My amazing aunt passed away last year and sometimes things remind me of her. They may not be Happy things to note, and it might make me a bit melancholy or even a little sad, and maybe I’m not particularly even Grateful for the memory, but it still might be a moment I want to note so that I can look back on it because it’s still a memory tied to this wonderful person, and I want to write it down while I still remember it.

Journal JarAnd don’t put pressure on yourself! All over Pinterest you’ll see photos of mason jars, full up of pieces of folded paper. Our “jar” is a cardboard tube wrapped in pretty scrapbook paper with a  lid. You can’t see through it, you can’t stress about how many notes have or have not been written for the year. I look at it like this: If you write just two things a month that you drop into the jar, at the end of the year you’ll have twenty four memories to look back on. That’s great! That’s 24 moments or thoughts to remember the past year you might not otherwise have had.

And we don’t stop there! We scrapbook our memories so we can read them again. Wait, you say–now you want me to scrapbook them? Don’t run off just yet! You haven’t seen HOW I scrapbook them! We’re all about no-pressure with this project! Now that you have these bits of paper with moments of your life, you don’t want to lose them. So we take a couple sheets of 12×12 paper and glue or tape them down. That’s it. Nothing fancy. I told you it was simple! 20 years from now it won’t matter that you don’t have any fancy stickers or photos taped to it. Sometimes it’s just neat to see your thoughts or memories written down.

Here’s a quick step-by-step overview for your own jar:

1.What is the purpose of your jar? Ours changes each year, but for 2017 we decided on The Journal Jar (don’t feel pressured to actually name yours!). We’ve chosen The Grateful Jar and the Happy Jar in the past and written only happy or good things down. This year, we just want to record whatever happens–be it losing a friend, a bittersweet event, or a wonderful party we went to. We want everything to go in the jar this year! It’s your jar so you decide! Pinterest, blogs and the internet in general is a great place to get inspiration for your jar, just make sure you make the jar you, and something you will be happy with doing all year. Don’t try to please anyone else.

2. What container will you use? You can use a jar, an envelope, or stuff it in an old sock. Use whatever brings you joy!

3. What are you going to write on? I am a paper fantastic so part of the joy I get out of this project is using a variety of paper. I use what’s on hand, as well as changing out the paper in my set up throughout the year. I also put different colored pens so there’s a bit of fun for us and any visitors who want to participate, too!

3. What is the purpose of your jar? Ours changes each year, but for 2017 we decided on The Journal Jar (don’t feel pressured to actually name yours!). We’ve chosen The Grateful Jar and the Happy Jar in the past and written only happy or good things down. This year, we just want to record whatever happens–be it losing a friend, a bittersweet event, or a wonderful party we went to. We want everything to go in the jar this year!

4. Where are you going to put your jar? Make it easy for you to jot down a note and toss it in your container. We have a set up in the middle of our dining room table for ours, complete with paper, pens and Journal Jar, so everything is easy to access and quick to jot down. This allows people that come over to write something down and add to the jar, too, but you might want to tuck yours in a corner and keep it private.

5. Think a little bit ahead-how do you want to store your memories when the year is over? You don’t have to decide now, but if you want to keep them, you might want to think about what you want to do with them at the end of the year. It could affect how you set your jar up. Do you want to use Project Life cards or certain sizes of paper so you can scrapbook them? Do you want to keep an eye out for a special box while you’re shopping so you can store them on a shelf? We chose to do it simple to keep the pressure off ourselves since we’re not fancy scrapbookers, but we wanted to be able to go back through the years and re-read them. It also makes it easy to put them in a scrapbook binder and just keep adding the each year to the same binder since we decided to keep going with it!
Journal Jar

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