Summertime! That means vacation and fun and friends and amusements parks and picnics and lots and lots of things you want to remember! If you're like me, you're faced with the dilemma of being an artistically-challenged memory packrat. Scrapbooking is not my hobby - so many tools and products, so little motivation and talent! And I am usually a season behind on processing pictures - forget about going to the trouble of uploading and printing and assembling them chronologically. Not to mention the fact that this all costs money. Fancy scissors ain't free. Alternatively, you could keep a journal to capture all of life's events, but it's too easy to look upon the task as a chore. Journaling requires some degree of discipline. Although I will admit to being a teenage diarist, and it is both mortifying and hilarious to read through my misadventures as a Doc Martens-wearing 16-year-old. So, if you are inclined to writing, journal away! Chances are you will thank yourself later for preserving your own words, no matter how silly or serious they may be.  

There is a happy medium that I invented for myself back when journaling became too fussy for my "adult" (and I use that term loosely) lifestyle: The Quote Book. Hey, my friends are just as witty as Oscar Wilde or Tommy Lasorda, why should their quips not be recorded for posterity? That was my thought. So, with one of the hundred blank journals I had sitting around, I started writing down stuff that people said. Stuff that made me laugh, stuff I thought was brilliant, stuff that I heard in songs, stuff that I read in books. But basically, stuff that for one reason or another I didn't want to forget.  

For as simple of a project as it sounds, the impact it made on my life (both then and now) was huge. I have always been fortunate to have such funny, smart, ridiculously-creative people in my life, so I was never at a loss for entries. I think I've guffawed another five years onto the end of my life. After a short time, The Quote Book became a collaborative effort; people wanted to write things, draw pictures, or make notes in their own hand. And for me and my circle of friends through the years, The Quote Book has become the definitive point-of-reference resource, memory-jogger, and sentimental artifact.   

The commitment is small. And that is something people on a budget like to hear! All you have to do is get a blank book (usually you can find these for bargain prices at a chain bookstore, stationary store, or even a dollar store). Toss it in your purse or keep it in your car. Done! Whatever your situation, people say things worth remembering. And as life moves forward, the contents shift. It can be a personal diary, it can be a scrapbook for friends, it can be a family project. Weird to think that at some point I will start a Quote Books for my kids(s)! It's an economical way to time travel; in one shot you have the who, what, when, where, why, and how. No lengthy prose or baggage fees required.    

It doesn't take a lot of time or money to archive your life. Whatever you do - however you choose to do it - you will find the payoff to be priceless!

Stacey Pavlick

Stacey is a participant in the CareOne Debt Management Plan, soon to complete her second year on the plan. She is also a contributing writer for the My Journey Out of Debt blog and Single & Settling In blog. She is currently an operations manager for a title insurance company and moonlights as a music reviewer for SpectrumCulture.com. She combines her passion for writing with her passion for getting out of debt to share her struggles and successes along the way. Compensated CareOne Blogger.