I usually don’t wax ecstatic over nifty websites, but this one has become not only a tremendous timesaver for me, but has also managed to help me save a good deal of money. It’s called Remember the Milk and it’s basically just an online list manager – but it does that list management so well that it’s simply wormed its way into becoming a part of my life. I’ve found seemingly endless uses for the fact that you can keep any number of lists you wish and combine them together in views however you want, and you can also set due dates for particular items and thus have a constant to-do list. Even better, it’s still in beta so it’s completely free to use, so click over there and give it a whirl.
Here are five examples of how I use it to manage personal finance and lifestyle tasks.
This is the task that the service is named for, so it’s not surprising that Remember The Milk works really well for grocery lists. As I assemble my grocery list throughout the week, I just enter items on there in a list specifically for groceries, which I can do from any web-accessible computer. I usually copy down the list in my own handwriting before going to the store for familiarity’s sake, but if I forget to do this or am in a rush, I can just load up Remember The Milk Mobile on my cell phone and I have my grocery list right there. This feature alone has saved me a lot of money – instead of turning around and going home to get the list, or just braving it without a list and buying some frivolous stuff, I just snag the list on my phone and get down to business.
Online offer management
Quite often, I’ll see an online offer that I want to think about over time (like a $25 off coupon on a KitchenAid stand mixer over at Amazon). I used to try to keep track of these in various ways using email reminders and such, but quite often I’d just miss out. Now I just pop that offer into Remember The Milk and I have it stored for future reference.
I also use another list on Remember The Milk to keep myself up to date on bill due dates. Whenever I receive a new bill, if I don’t want to deal with it immediately, I enter it into Remember The Milk along with the due date. As it approaches, I use different views within Remember The Milk to see it coming and then plan appropriately to get it paid. In this way, Remember The Milk nearly functions like a calendar.
Long-term project management
Right now, I have several long-term projects that mostly relate to self-improvement. Using a list for each project, I can break these items down into several smaller items, place due dates on them, and thus use the overall “to-do” list to keep all of these projects going. Without this feature, many of them would fall along the wayside.
Though I’ve basically abstained from discussing blogging since my blogging series last month, I should mention that Remember The Milk is the tool I use to plan and schedule upcoming post ideas that I’ve not written yet. This enables me to sit down anywhere in the world when I have an hour or two, fire up a web browser and a text editor (which I don’t even really need, but I’m a big fan of TextEdit on a Mac and Notepad on Windows), and begin drafting entries for The Simple Dollar. With Remember The Milk, it becomes really easy to manage these ideas, set approximate posting dates when appropriate, check off ones I use and delete ones that don’t pan out, and keep them all sorted for later.
As a final aside, in the past I have mentioned my usage of GTD as a way to keep all of my tasks in place; I use two notebooks for this process. In the last few weeks, I have been migrating to using Remember the Milk for GTD, which has been a big help in keeping my life organized.