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This is a guest post about the only Home Management System that worked written as part of our Home Success Series by Jennifer Lane @ The Cancer Bomb with a short introduction by Rosemarie Groner.
I have always been extremely motivated by other people’s success stories while I was going through my own journey of establishing routines that support our budget, getting my house (and my life!) organized and establishing systems that work.
These success stories were the driving force behind our ability to reduce our spending by over $23,000 a year, paying off over $35,000 of debt, and finding a way to make my old salary from home, so I could raise my kids.
Today's guest post has touched me and my family personally as I recently lost my dad to cancer.
It’s written by Jennifer Lane from The Cancer Bomb.
This success story talks about small manageable changes to your home management system that make an incredible difference. Especially when you’re dealing with one of the most stressful and intense situations that a family will ever go through.
A cancer diagnosis.
On top of the usual chaos of family (particularly if you were already struggling with budgeting and home management), cancer adds a ton of stress. There are new routines, dealing with symptoms and uncertainty, tons of time away from home for treatment and appointments, plus research and coordinating different medical teams.
The stakes are really high.
Cancer affects EVERYONE, not just the person going through it. And once it explodes into your family, things start changing faster than you can keep up with. Having a plan doesn’t fix the cancer, but it does make it easier to manage the day to day.
Jenn’s a perfect example of the power that comes from only doing the things that matter and doing them consistently when battling chaos (and cancer!)
Several of the routines she mentions were outlined in the 90-day Budget Bootcamp (Which is free right now! You can grab it here).
Here's Jennifer explaining what happened…
Finding A Good Home Management System
Guest post by Jennifer lane of www.cancerbomb.com
You know that feeling of defeat when you just spent a ton of money and time on the newest fad to get your life organized.
Ridiculously optimistic that it will change your life …but then it didn’t.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve done this over and over again. You DESPERATELY want to get your life under control, you just haven’t found the home management system that will actually work for you.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a home management system that actually worked at a time when I needed it the most.
I’ve always been a “hot mess” so to speak. I try really hard to be on top of everything. But, eventually, my house always erupted into piles of dishes and laundry, and a frantic scrambling for dinner one-half hour before everyone came home.
When my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, I already had a full-time job, a family to feed, and soccer games 3 times a week. Within a few months, my mom and I became his full-time caregivers and that's when things got really crazy!
Change Your Mindset
It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I was going to be able to do all this…
- Help my dad battle cancer.
- Make lunches and soccer games.
- Clean the house.
- Get dinner on the table (almost) every night.
- Spend quality time with my family.
I was going to have to make some changes that would help me get everything done (in as little time as possible).
I needed a quick and easy home management system that would help me manage everything, so I started with the 90-Day Budget Bootcamp (bonus: it’s free!) which walked me step by step through the basic essentials of running a home, setting up and tracking my budget and my life (finally!) started to support my ability to save money.
Which was mind-blowing for me, because I never considered how much the state of my house affects my spending. To see the results of this (especially in something I got for free!), made me kick it up a notch and pay for the course by the same people that made the Boot Camp (Hot Mess to Home Success).
The results were nothing short of insane.
To be clear… I was starting from complete chaos because I already struggled with keeping up my house. I was newly married and had four amazing step kids and was totally overwhelmed and exhausted.
When my Dad got sick and lost his hearing and vision in one eye, these systems made it so that I could care for him without everything else falling apart.
Almost every aspect of my life changed as a result of these programs. We have a home management system that works now. And they worked through the most chaotic time of my life.
In fact, this is the only system I’ve ever used that actually stuck long term.
Small Changes That Make A Huge Impact
Using a Planner Consistently
I’m kind of a free spirit and I never really liked the feeling of being “trapped” by a schedule. But suddenly, I needed to be in 3 places at once and my schedule was getting more and more packed every day.
I had appointments, responsibilities, and priorities attacking me from every angle, and when you added life to that, it was pretty intense.
Within a few months, things were starting to get out of control. Suddenly, I was running all over the place, back and forth to New York City (which is 2 hours one way), getting home late most nights so my husband and the kids were living on pizza, McDonald's and Chinese take-out which was draining our budget.
I needed to figure out how to get ANY OF THIS under control. And, I didn’t have time for complicated.
I needed quick and easy, and I needed it to work!
I had a planner that I had purchased and decorated (seriously this thing was fabulous) but had barely ever used (I know, I know!). So, I grabbed it and started marking all of the things that I had going on. Places I had to be, appointments, overnights, soccer games everything I knew about ahead of time.
I also started marking nights that were going to be hectic (which I learned in the 90-day Bootcamp). That small change helped tremendously with being able to plan everything!
First, it helped me identify the nights when everyone was home late, plan for any soccer games or after-school activities, figure out late appointments… you get the idea!
So I could plan ahead for meals, which is extremely important when you have no time.
This is definitely a change that made a HUGE impact for me. I’ve been trying to get this part of my life under control for a really long time! It’s kind of weird that it took my dad getting cancer to drive this routine home.
Week after week, I'd be scrambling around right before everyone got home trying to figure out what I could throw together because I never pulled the chicken out of the freezer.
Because I live 30 minutes away from a reasonably priced grocery store… After my daily panic attack, I would either run to the local store and end up spending about $40 on tonight's dinner or I would order pizza, and still spend $40 but not have to cook it. It was ridiculous and expensive and we were all sick to death of pizza.
So, I made another small change when I started using the planner.
Stick With Simple
On Friday, I sketched out an easy meal plan for the next week. I could already see which days were going to be crazy and which days weren’t and I started using “backup meals” for the nights when my plan would fall through. I had a box of spaghetti, a jar of sauce and a can of green beans in the pantry (something everyone would eat in a pinch) that I could pull out in an emergency instead of pizza.
Which cost me about $3.50 instead of $40.
On days I wouldn’t be there, I planned for simple 15-minute meals my husband or the kids could cook.
- Burgers and fries
- Breakfast for dinner.
By choosing quick and easy meals and making sure he has everything he needs to make it, we were able to save a TON of money because we weren’t ordering out.
And on the nights I was home, I could create an amazing dinner using 15-minute meals and serving them with a salad.
Online Grocery Shopping
This change has saved me TONS of time and money!
If I’m being totally honest, I thought the idea of ordering your groceries online was ridiculous when I learned about it in the Hot Mess to Home Success Course.
First of all, I live literally on top of a mountain and as I said earlier the nearest grocery store is 30 minutes away. The ONLY delivery service that would come near this place is Amazon (cause seriously, they’ll go anywhere!) so we don't have access to all of the great options out there like Shipt or Instacart.
Not to mention, I felt pretty lazy having someone else shopping for my groceries and I was having a hard time getting over that. I was convinced there was NO WAY that ordering groceries was cheaper for me.
Here’s what changed my mind.
We buy bulk snacks for the kid's school lunches. On Friday, we were totally out of snacks and I had 2 days to get them before the kids went back to school on Monday. It had been a marathon week and the last thing I wanted to do was go grocery shopping.
I was desperate.
So, I loaded up my Amazon cart with everything I needed for the week (except salad and milk). I already had tons of meat in the freezer ( I have been stocking up at sale prices for a while) and so I ordered snacks, bread, coffee, juice boxes, paper towels, shampoo, and even a flea collar for the dog…
My grand total was $250 for everything and it would be delivered in 2 days.
When I pushed the send button and nothing happened. I pushed it again and nothing. I tried like 6 times throughout the night and the order wouldn't go through. So, I canceled it.
I got up SUPER early the next morning so I could fit a 30-minute drive to the store into my already packed Saturday and I went shopping. I ran around the store grabbing HALF of what I had in the Amazon cart.
When I got to the register and the woman told me the total was $450. How is that possible?
I woke up at 6:30 am on a Saturday, drove for 30 minutes to the store, bought HALF of what I needed… and spent an extra $200 for my trouble?!?
I now have a totally different outlook on this online grocery shopping thing.
After that, If I can’t get what I need from Amazon, I order online from Hannaford, Shoprite or Sam’s Club and I pick it up. It saves me a ton of time and a TON OF MONEY every single time I do that.
Like hundreds of dollars a week have been saved with this one change.
This was what I loved most about Hot Mess to Home Success home management system, it was teaching me the fastest and easiest way to get my house and my life under control but it doesn’t just teach you the textbook “right way” to do something.
Hot Mess to Home Success gave a lot of surprising shortcuts that worked (even under all of the added stress).
Get Important Information Organized
For me, it wasn’t just my house and budget I needed to fix quickly. I also had to deal with a massive influx of information, directions, new symptoms, medications, and frequent emergencies.
Cancer’s a pretty big deal. *Understatement of the year.*
It’s easy for important information to get lost in the chaos of this disease. And getting this stuff organized can help you save a life.
And, It’s really easy to forget to communicate something important when you are anxious, worried and stressed. Cancer makes everything feel heightened and “emotionally charged.”
We had to figure out a way to organize all of the “stuff” that was flying at us. And we didn’t have time to figure out or maintain a super complicated process.
After we lost several important documents and a disk that took days to replace and held up our treatment…
We found a system (The Cancer Binder Pack, Also Free!) that could be set up in less than an hour and took minutes to maintain.
And (thankfully!) it actually worked.
We used this system to organize…
- Paperwork having to do with cancer.
- Directions we needed to follow.
- Symptoms we needed to look for.
- Side effects we needed to know about.
- Medications that could or couldn’t be taken.
We walk you through the entire Cancer Binder Pack system step-by-step so you can get all of your important medical information organized and under control (Which is kind of nuts for a free product!).
If you need it (welcome to the club that no one really wants to be in!) You can grab the Cancer Binder Pack with easy setup instructions for free here…
Finding a Laundry Routine That Worked For Me
The laundry was the hardest to put in place because the rest you could at least plan from anywhere!
Running at least one laundry load a day has saved my butt a few times. But, as my schedule got more and more intense, I needed a solution to this.
I began a new habit of starting the laundry every day before I leave the house. And when my husband came home he would switch it over.
But finding the motivation to fold it? And put it away after a really long day? Not going to happen.
Sorry, not sorry.
We only have one bathroom with a shower located on the first floor and ALL of the bedrooms are on the second floor. So, I had to figure out an easier way to deal with the never-ending laundry. Dragging laundry up the stairs was ridiculous.
We grabbed one of these cheap 20 cube organizers at Amazon, my husband put it together in less than an hour and now each of us has a full row for our clothes… and we have it in the laundry room right next to the dryer.
I can fold the clothes quickly (or at least stack them) right out of the dryer. We’ve used this for about 2 years now and it is awesome! Seriously!
The only thing I would recommend because I wish I had done it when we were putting it together is to superglue the connector pieces together. They don’t come apart often, but when they do they are a pain to put back together.
From Hot Mess to Home Success…
What I learned from this home management system, during this chaotic time will last a lifetime.
It’s kind of crazy to tell people that my dad’s cancer was what helped me learn the routines to better manage my home.
Life gets totally out of control when you’re helping someone you love fight a battle like cancer. And cancer journeys are long, so things usually stay crazy for a while.
Implementing these quick and easy changes will help you manage your home around all the craziness that cancer drops into your world. So you can focus on the important stuff like helping your loved one fight the battle!
How do you help someone you love fight cancer and manage your home and family too? Comment below and let us know!
P.S. If you love the idea of all of this but have no idea where to start… Grab the 90 day Budget Bootcamp before it’s gone!
If you’re a family fighting cancer, we can help.
I get a lot of questions about how my Dad is doing so, I wanted to fill you in.
Together, with the help of Memorial Sloan Kettering, we fought an incredible battle that lasted 21 months against Small Cell Lung Cancer and Paraneoplastic Syndrome. At 66, after some serious complications, my dad passed away peacefully at home (with the support of hospice), surrounded by people who loved him.
We had some amazing experiences, finished 2 bucket lists and talked about everything under the sun. I miss him like crazy, every day.
But every single cancer story is different. And, they are making new and INCREDIBLE advancements to beat this thing every single day. You are STILL in this battle.
And imagine how amazing it’s going to feel when you win!
You can do this. I can help.