Each Wednesday on Desk Day:
• Pay Your Bills
• Bring any personal and family business up to date. Phone calls you need to make? Letters you need to write?
• Filing—putting away NEEDED papers in a way that you can locate them, if needed.
This is the final day this month with The Master Bedroom, Master Bath and Closet as the Area of Focus. What can you do to make this area as clutter free, orderly, and lovely as possible at this time? Begin where you are and improve a little at a time.
You may feel your bedroom is too small but maybe you have too much stuff in there. You need a bed. It does not have to be king sized. If your bed is taking up too much space begin to look for a smaller one. I want at least a chair and a dresser but again keep the scale of the furniture in line with the size of your room.

The 80/20 concept is applied to all areas of life. We wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. We do need some rarely worn pieces of clothing but we could get rid of much of our clothing and never miss it. I have done well with the suitcase of clothing I brought to Utah with me. I have never felt I had nothing to wear. I bought a box of the brightly colored tags that office supply stores sell for yard sales. I used the string to hang a tag on each of my hangers. When I wore a piece of clothing I removed the tag from the hanger. At the end of three months I evaluated any clothes that still had tags hanging on the hanger. I made a point of using or losing any piece of clothing that was on a tagged hanger. Do this seasonally.

I used to always ask what everyone else was wearing to any function. I quit doing that. I ask what the dress is—dressy, casual, business casual and now I make up my own mind. I represent my Lord, my family, and myself. I set my own standard. I remember hearing that in a job you should dress for the job you want rather than the job you have. I am a woman who wants to be seen as a woman of grace and dignity. I will wear clothes that fit modestly. I do not want to look like 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag. I will wear clean clothes (or at least clothes that start out clean before precious sticky fingers add a bit of color). I will wear clothes without rips, split seams, missing buttons, and with zippers that work. I may find clothes at Goodwill, Salvation Army, the ROC or another thrift or consignment shop but it will be in colors that are good for me, and styles that flatter. I shop sales racks 85% or more of the time. I love outlet shopping. I really like Kasper suits but at the outlets I end up spending closer to $40 than the $200-$250 full price tag and they last me years and years. I want you to think of yourself as a woman worthy of respect and act and dress that way. I don’t care if everyone else is casual at church—I am going to dress not extravagantly but in a way that honors God. This rant is because I see too many lovely women that are not remembering that each of us as a believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I will care for myself as that temple. Please do the same. We are a fragrant aroma. We are a letter from God to the world. We are His own special creation. God made you lovely. Shine for Him!
What I said about clothing is true of work. We receive 80% of our results from 20% of our effort so weed out the activity in your life that does not bring good results. Yes, we all need rest but whatever you have to do, give it your best. Focus. Work hard and get it done.
Do you have a budget? Do you know what you owe? I know this is scary . It was to me when I sat down the first time and added up our bills. You cannot deal with what you do not know. There are your fixed expenses—rent or mortgage, utility bills, car payment, insurance. There is debt—Credit cards and loans.
Determine your fixed expenses. Are there any that you can reduce or eliminate? Determine your debt payments. If you are only paying the minimum you will be paying them for years and years and years. The money that is left over is your discretionary money for groceries, gas, clothing, entertainment and other expenses. This is where you are right now. Now I want you to consider using percentages to bring your spending under control. Several years ago Roy and I took Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. I highly recommend it. He is honest, direct, and funny. These are the budget percentages from that course. He also wrote Total Money Makeover. I recommend Dave Ramsey or Mary Hunt for information about conquering debt.
You decide what your percent is to add up to 100%. These percentages are on take home pay (net)
• Charitable 10-15%
• Savings 5-10%
• Housing 25-35% (1st and 2nd mortgages, taxes, repairs, insurance)
• Utilities 5-10% (Electricity, Water, Gas, Phone, Trash, Cable)
• Food 5-15% (Groceries and eating out)
• Transportation 10-15% (Car payment, Gas and oil, Repair and tires *
• Clothing 2-7 % (Clothes and cleaning/laundry)
• Personal 5-10% (Life insurance, child care, toiletries, hair care **
• Recreation 5-10% (Entertainment and vacations)
• Debts 5-10% (Credit cards, loans)
• Medical 5-10% (Doctor, dentist, medications, insurance)

* Additional car expense -insurance, license and tags, pre-save for car replacement)

**Additional personal expenses – Education, subscription, organization dues, gifts (including Christmas) Miscellaneous, Mad money

Remember the total cannot exceed 100%.
Tomorrow I will share Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball for getting out of debt.
Mary P


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