Friday, August 21, 2009

Being Disorganized Will Cost You Money

Saving Money Tip #177 - Being Disorganized Will Cost You Money. There are very popular television shows that focus on organizing people’s homes. Not only because clutter makes one’s home look, well, cluttered but because it also wrecks havoc on people’s lives. And doing things like having to clear off the dining room table every time you want to eat will not only be a hassle, but it will also cost you money.

How? You ask. Well, setting a proper dinner table is difficult when the table surface is covered. And eating dinner out of paper cartons then becomes that much more appealing. So clutter might lead to more take-out food or more dinners out.

What if you have taken the time to cut out supermarket coupons for your next grocery trip? But then when it’s time to go food shopping, you don’t know where you’ve put them, but you have to get the groceries anyway. Well, there goes several dollars that you would have saved.

Having your bills disorganized might lead you to pay some of them late leading to late fees and finance charges. Dave Ramsey, a popular financial planner likes to call this a "stupid tax." I think it’s a tax on the disorganized.

Maybe you are heading to the beach on vacation. But you have no idea where you put your goggles from last summer. Or your flip-flops. Well, for just a few dollars, you can stop at the store and pick up a new pair. Again, costing you several dollars for your disorganization.

Other examples might be more extreme. Suppose your disorganization leads you to misplacing your keys many mornings. That might lead to your being late to work, which may in turn lead to fewer or lower pay raises.

I can list pages’ worth of examples, but it won’t accomplish much more than what I’ve already done. If you are not organized, it is not only costing you some chaos in your life. It is also costing you big bucks.

In Real Life – I would love to be one of those super organized people. You know the type – those who have everything filed away and labeled and know where things are at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, I am not. While I am not disorganized enough or my house cluttered enough to be featured on a television show (thankfully), I am not as organized as I would like to be. There are toys in pretty much every room of my house. There are papers piled up on my counters. And I have piles of clean laundry waiting to be put away. (My kitchen and dining room tables are clear, though!)

And this disorganization, although not as bad as some, has cost me. I have been known to not be able to find the car keys once or twice or ten times in the past year, causing me to get my daughter late to school and leaving me to rush through my errands. Surely, I could have gotten better deals if I had time to shop more leisurely. I have paid a bill late because I don’t have an official filing system for my bills, although that has only happened a few times in all my years. (Online or automatic payment are great remedies for this, by the way.) I have paid many a library book fine, and just last month had to pay for a book that we just plain couldn’t find. (We still never did find it, and I’m guessing my 2-year old son threw it in the trash, but the blame still lies with me.)

I have a friend who is very disorganized and sadly can probably be featured on one of those clean up the clutter shows. Her husband has told us how they’ve had to buy a new camera when they couldn’t find theirs, only to find it several weeks later. Or they’ve had to buy a new toy when their child misplaced one – again only to be found in their cluttered house months later.

So, while I don’t necessarily have any advice on how to become clutter free or the best organization system to use (there are many good books in the library for this), my point is for you to realize that being disorganized does more than just cause you to have a chaotic life. It leads to higher costs in many forms. Cleaning up your home and organizing your things can give you more money to save or live on. For other frugal tips, check out Life As Mom.

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