|The finished product|
Don't get me wrong, although I am the anal person who opens her presents by carefully lifting up each piece of tape on the package to minimize wrapping paper damage, things are not so tight around here that I iron wrapping paper for reuse. (I only do that if the paper's real cute.)
However, I am cheap enough to see no point in piling all the tissue paper into the recycling bin, when there's absolutely no reason why I can't use it again next year. It's just going to get all crumpled up again when it gets used: who cares about a few wrinkles?
Kind of like how Scarlett O'Hara shoves a dirty turnip into her mouth and melodramatically proclaims, "I'll never be hungry again" at the end of Gone with the Wind, I sat there smoothing out the tissue paper and thought, please 2012, allow me to smooth tissue paper not out of necessity but because I abhor unnecessary waste.
Here's how am I resolving to make it through 2012 without feeling like a poor person:
1) Christmas Fund
Every December, I have that "reach for the paper bag and hyperventilate" moment when I realize I have extremely limited funds to figure out lovely, meaningful presents that don't look cheap. To prevent this horrifying experience from repeating itself in 2012, each week in 2012, I'm setting aside $10 into a Christmas fund. By December, I'll have nearly $500 saved up for Christmas presents and related expenses (i.e. tissue paper) - more than enough to cover everyone on my gift checklist.
2) Freelance pay check percentages
I've been making my way through Joseph D'Agnese and Denise Kiernan's The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed. The book does a great job of charting out a system for freelancers to manage their sporadic payments. One of the key ideas pushed in the book is to take each incoming payment and immediately take out a set percent for taxes (taxed income does have its perks!), retirement and the emergency account. I'll be putting that method into practice for all of my freelance checks this year so those funds are used more effectively and thoughtfully, rather than just throwing the payments at whichever bill is most in need at the moment of receipt.
3) Invoice tardy clients
I have a regular client who pays me whenever they feel like it. Whenever they feel like it is usually months after my work's been published - around the time when I've forgotten what I wrote and what I'm owed, actually. This method is stressful and also makes it difficult for me to catch discrepancies. Now that I have all my financials running through QuickBooks, this client's totally getting invoices. At least one of us can be on top of things that way.
Do you have plans to make 2012 a less stressful financial year?