Are you a morning person or a night person? I ask because I realized that I had been trying to do the whole "evening routine" thing in the evening before and after my husband would get home from work around 11 pm. I would get everything done except the kitchen and then I'd be simply too tired. Well, I'd stay up online to take a break after supper and then try to clean the kitchen. This was disasterous in many ways. So I decided that I would be fine with leaving the kitchen dirty in the evenings even if it is depressing to walk into a dirty kitchen the next day. This allowed me to get to bed earlier, wake up earlier and be ready to tackle chores in the morning before heading out to work. Before, I would wake up late not clean up after breakfast, rush out and come home without any idea what I was going to cook for supper and a dirty kitchen to boot. Now, I prep the next day's meal as much as I can as I finish prepping supper (whether its a quick supper, side dishes, or I usually always have a fermented drink that needs to be restarted, etc), stick everything in the crock pot in the morning before work after the breakfast dishes are done and the day goes a lot smoother. If I were an evening person, I would stay up later and get as much done as I could before bed and leave as little as possible for the morning.
As far as saving money goes: what are your actual drains on the budget? I know that previously, when I had disposable income, I would get on these "money saving binges" (DH dubbed them this) and would decide that I would save money by learning a craft (and investing in the start up costs), or make my own detergent (and not cook supper that evening because I was too busy figuring out how to do so, requiring getting a pizza delivered), spend my day meal planning & budgeting and once again not have supper ready. Kind of silly, but true.
Also, I've found that meal planning does not work for me. I used to come up with these incredible meal plans and then end up spending more on groceries because my meals required ingredients that were out of our budget or because the meals involved complicated recipes that didn't fit my schedule or were otherwise inappropriate. So, I started cooking off the cuff with pantry items. I shop once a week, have a large bulk pantry, and regularly read cookbooks for inspiration and to learn "how to cook:" how tastes and textures fit together, what makes a good pasta sauce and what's better roasted, etc. But, when it comes to cooking I'll look in my refrigerator the night before, try to use up our CSA and decide what the next day's meals will be. That way I can put grains to soak for the next day's breakfast, see if I will need to bake another batch of bread and feed my sourdough, soak beans, transfer meat from the freezer to the refrigerator, then chop up any ingredients that I'll need the next day so that everything is ready to go. Once a week I have a cooking day when I make broth, pancakes, snacks for the week, etc. It's been working out great and our food budget is the lowest it has ever been. And I'll be honest, it's a lot more fun that way. It makes me feel like I'm back in Europe where I could go to the market in the morning and decide what I'd have for supper that evening, even though I'm "shopping" from my pantry rather than the market.
For sewing and crafts start very simply. Though I had learned to sew when I was a kid, to remind myself I got a book of simple stitches and mending. It has been great. I found it at HalfPrice for I think $4 and since then, I've fixed my own hems, mended DH's shirts, etc. I don't have the book in front of me and can't remember the title but when we get home I'll PM it to you. I've actually found that shopping for clothes on ebay or diaper swappers, etc. is much cheaper than anything I could sew. I've found wonderful designer clothes for me (like a Donna Karan skirt for $0.99) and great stuff for Ladybug simply by keeping my eyes on ebay and waiting for the right deal to come along.
For knitting/crocheting I tend to buy cheap and stock up on yarn and stuff too. However, that's actually backfired. When I have a new project in my mind, I find that I just don't want to work with the yarn I have on hand, so I end up buying new yarn anyway. Though I've saved money with knitting wool soakers for cloth dipes, I've saved even more money with repurposing sweaters for that purpose. If you are serious about yarn crafts though, go ahead and invest in a set of interchangeable needles like the ones sold by knitpicks. They will last you for many different projects and you'll spend much less money long term.
About hot spots. I've limited their number. Quite simply, when I see things gathering someplace, I'll move them to a designated hot spot. We have two in our home and that's the limit I keep it at. If I see stuff on the kitchen table, I simply move them to my desk. Ditto for dirty clothes, rather than sorting them I stick them in one hamper. This may not be as efficient as dealing with the items right away, but I find that simply not having clutter in my sight helps me keep order in my household (and believe me, I am a major messy and was desperate only a few short months ago). So, I have no qualms about "cleaning" by putting everything in a box and hiding it until I know I'll have fifteen or even thirty minutes to go through it.
As far as scheduling goes, I do have an ideal schedule, but then there's real life. If I don't get to laundry on Monday, I don't iron on Tuesday and do the laundry then. I then don't iron again till the following Tuesday (DH either irons himself or wears a wrinkle free but not crisp shirt). There are tasks that I know can be moved around (like ironing) and then there are tasks that really should be done regularly to prevent other systems from falling apart (like marketing and laundry). Actually, food and clean clothes are my priority now: I will let other things go on busy weeks but I make sure we have laundry done (even if it's not sorted) and meals cooked. I learned that here
. Can't find the exact article right now, but the entire site is simply a treasure trove of real life help.