Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bullet Journal & Car Diary

There are some YouTubers that I watch faithfully.  One of those is Mel from cockeyedhomestead.  In fact, I've been watching her videos ever since she began as One Woman & Two Acres--that kinda struck me as appropriate since I'm one woman with 2 1/3 acres. 

This past Sunday, Mel posted a video about her Bullet Journal.  I'm interested because I always carry some sort of notebook around with me, and I'd like that to be more useful and organized.  The Bullet Journal seems like such a worthwhile method that I'm already making plans for one of my own.

In fact, I was so intrigued that I was still thinking it over while I was in the car on my way to the Post Office--that's when I happened to glance over at the passenger seat.  I always keep two important things there: an expandable file for my postal receipts and a Car Diary.  The Car Diary is nothing fancy.  It's a simple 4 X 6 inch Weekly Planner from the local dollar store.  I get one every year to keep in the car--I fail to recall whether it costs $1 or $2 but it's definitely worth the price. 

This is my notebook from last year.  (Yes, that is a candy bar under the notebook.  Milk Chocolate with Caramel & Sea Salt, if you must know.  It was a Rainy Day--no other excuse needed.) 

I make a little pocket at the back of the book by taping two pages together, and that's where I keep my gasoline receipts.  I don't have many receipts, though, because I generally only gas the car about once a month.  (No, I am NOT kidding.) 

On the date pages, I take note of everywhere I go, and I jot down my mileage when I get home.  I also make note of when I pay the car tag, when I put air in the tires, and any other important information dealing with the car.  It's very scribbly, and I use abbreviations for store names and so on.  I'm not worried about neatness.  This little book is there to help me save money!

 It is because I take note of where I go that I am able to reduce my mileage and gasoline usage to the minimum.  The Car Diary shows me what my habits are, and I can use that information to make changes. 

The Car Diary makes me aware of where I tend to shop most often, so I plan the shortest routes to get there.  As a general rule, I go to the farthest place on my list first and I make all the other stops in order on the way back.  I also think about which side of the road my stops are located and how difficult it is to enter and exit parking lots--this just makes things easier and sometimes even safer (especially given that I have to drive through the two most difficult intersections in town when I make my daily journey to the Post Office). 

Now, I live near (but not in) a fairly small town so most of the stuff I need to do is quite close to home.  But it would be oh-so-easy to dash across town on a whim simply because I tend to be a whimsical person.  Thanks to habits I've built from my Car Diary observations, I think instead of what other things I might need to do in various parts of town; if I have just one errand, I will wait until there are others so I can justify the mileage.  I generally won't even leave the house for a single errand (unless it means going to the PO to mail eBay packages; that is a non-negotiable duty).  And since I'm not driving anywhere on impulse, I'm less likely to be doing impulse spending as well.  Win/win.

My car is a 2006 model with not-very-good gas mileage (only about 18 MPG) but because I know where I go and how I get there, because I plan ahead, because I employ self-control, I can still save money on gas.  That's money I can use for other things.  And, yes, it's true:  my ten-year-old car has less than 30K total miles on the gauge.

Give it a try.  Keep a Car Diary for a month or two--just use a notepad to scribble on if you have to but keep it in the car until you have a bit of information to use to do a driving assessment from your data.  See what you can learn about your driving habits so that you can also save time and miles and money.

And maybe you'd like to watch cockeyedhomestead videos so that you can be inspired, too.  I'm gonna start that Bullet Journal soon so I can see if some new observations about organization will help me make more great life changes.  Thanks, Mel!

Life is good.


  1. You're very welcome! If a bullet journal can help me, it can help anyone. I'm like you with lists and keeping something nearby to jot down a note. Unfortunately, my notes kept getting lost or burned for tinder. Now everything is close at hand and easy to manage. I love the bullet journal!

  2. It's an absolutely brilliant idea, and I'm so very glad that you shared it in your video. I, too, lose notes all the time. Worse, I have half a dozen notebooks all over the house and I forget what I have noted where! A sensible system of keeping everything in one place sounds like a just-right solution, and I am so happy to have learned about it. Looking forward to lots more videos from you because you really are an inspiration.