Things I Do at the Start of a New Month

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With the start of the new month, you get a fresh start in your planning. Consider these strategies for making the most of every minute and every dollar.

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I love a new beginning.

A new notebook, a new school year, an empty cupboard, these are a few of my favorite things. Each represents a clean slate without any mistakes in it yet.

For this reason, I also love mornings, Mondays, the first day of each month, and January 1.

July 1, coming up, also counts!

Over the years managing a home with lots of kids while also running a side hustle writing business, I’ve developed a few systems that help me keep my head on straight. These have evolved over time, pivoting with whatever is going on in my life, but they really all come back to my planner.

And that’s at the heart of what I do at the start of each month…

Last year I moved to a digital version of my planner which has been really fun. I’ve created custom stickers in Canva and am slowly learning how I want to “decorate” the pages of my life in a way that makes me smile.

To be clear, esthetics aren’t everything, but I find that making things a little bit purty helps me enjoy the process more. Even if I’m not that gifted (yet) in the purty department.

So, here are some of the things I do during the change between months.

priorities listed in a digital planner on an iPad.

Review my intentions for the year/last month.

Each month I flip to the yearly intentions page of my planner and start thinking through habits I’m cultivating or projects I’m working on.

It’s so fascinating to see what was important to me in January may no longer have the same weight now at the end of June. For instance, we completely postponed our Japan trip due to conflicting schedules.

“Meet the neighbors” has morphed more into “make new friends at our new church”. Not that we won’t still try to cultivate relationships with our neighbors, but folks at church are more eager to be made friends with!

This is what I’m talking about when it comes to yearly planning.

Part of reviewing what Past Jessica thought was important is to review what Last Month Jessica thought was important. I write a few notes about what went well and what didn’t.

If I am in the right frame of mind, I try to tease out some of the reasons behind the wins as well as how I could do differently/better in the future.

iPad open to July priorities page.

Set intentions for the new month.

At the start of the year, I build out the vision page of my planner as well as set intentions for the year. Each month, I pull from these things, edit, adjust, and reframe how to go forward.

Again, I follow a framework of five basic areas, working toward general improvement in each, depending on what’s going on.

  • relationships – Fish, our kids, my mom, in-laws, friends

  • home – organizing closets, finessing my weekly reset, deep cleaning bathroom and kitchen

  • personal – specifically, personal growth in mental and physical health as well as catching up on all the doctor visits.

  • finance – our family finances

  • writing – prepping and sharing new meal plans, creating back-to-school and holiday


Rather than set up goal posts, I try to think of input goals, such as “have a daily check-in with each kid” or “try to get 10k steps daily”. These are more measurable than saying “have a great relationship with each kid” or “stay active”.

For example, earlier this year, I planned to do a room-by-room declutter. Getting sick in May threw a damper on those plans, so now is the time to get back in the groove before school begins. I’m working on closets because these are our trouble spot.

control center bulletin board with summer printables.
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Get a long view of the month.

While I use Google calendar for my day-to-day planning, mapping things out on a monthly calendar helps me see things in a different way.

I think the act of writing it out “in ink” helps me remember and think through what I need to do to make the upcoming events work best. I can also take a photo and send it to the fam or post it on our family board so everyone can see at a glance what’s coming up.

planner with post-its, pens, and markers open on a black table, showing the weekly to do page.

Revise my “ideal week”.

Last year I read The 12-Week Year at the same as started listening to the Vine Podcast. Within the same two-week period, both sources recommended mapping out an ideal week, something I’d done in the past but had fallen a bit by the wayside.

Creating a time budget really is a game changer. Whenever I follow it, it works amazingly well!

Please note: it doesn’t need to be an hour-by-hour schedule. It can be something as loose as weekly routines which give rhythm to your week. It’s critical in creating a summer schedule for kids.

I did this prior to my girls’ summer camp, again for the weeks of summer camp, and will do so again once the kids are back to school.

my pantry under the stairs filled with food.

Canvas the freezers and pantries.

I do my meal planning inside my planner, so this is actually all related. One of my main strategies for saving money on groceries is to shop the kitchen.

Knowing what I have in the freezers and pantries helps me to use what we have and avoid food waste and overbuying. I can plan better menus with an idea of what’s already on hand as well as what to watch for on sale.

At the same time, I can adjust my meal plan theme nights if I see we have many particular ingredients that could get used up.

So, those are the basics of what I do to set myself up for the month. Sometimes I’m right on track with the change of the month, and sometimes it’s more like a transition week.

Either way, setting up my systems really helps me get my head in the game.

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  1. Thanks, Jessica! So good to read and be reminded of these things again! Very helpful. I like your planner and use it to keep ideas and plans on place.