I’m almost always organized. I’ve always been pretty organized but now I use the system outlined in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done which has been extremely effective for me. Being organized saves me money.
If you are organized you don’t miss payments. You don’t miss appointments. You buy things when they’re on sale. You don’t pay late fees. You notice fees you shouldn’t be paying and get them reversed. You don’t forget about money coming to you – refunds, returns, rebates…
There was an article in the Saturday paper about clutter. I question almost any statistic I read, but it says that one-quarter of Americans can’t park even one car in their two-car garages because there’s too much clutter. I have a hard time believing that, but I do have one friend who falls into that category. The article says that we have accumulated so much stuff that the demand for self-storage units has doubled in recent years. People are paying $75 to $150/month to store stuff – an incredible drain on their finances.
Anyway, the article also says that 23 percent of adults incur late-payment fees because they lose bills. THIS I don’t doubt. Not being able to keep track of things and/or procrastination end up costing people lots of money. Years ago one of my family members, the one who can least afford it of course, signed up for one of the expensive movie cable channels because it was cheaper than all the late fees she paid to BlockBuster. Today, this same person pays $25/month to her bank just to have an account. An account that probably rarely has more than $200 in it. Isn’t there a bank or a kind of account where she wouldn’t have to pay a monthly fee? She just hasn’t gotten around to it. Meanwhile, she spends $300 year after year to keep that account open.
It’s a vicious circle. Often, those who can least afford it are the ones who pay the most, because they are the least organized or disciplined, making them even less able to afford things. Renters who have to pay late fees. Renters who, for whatever reason, must have three pets, thereby paying pet deposits and higher rent. Renters who bounce checks. Renters who have to pay with money orders costing $5. (Can you tell I’m a landlord?!)People with bad credit who have to pay higher insurance and interest rates. People who can’t come up with a high enough down payment and have to pay mortgage insurance.
If you aren’t in this downward spiraling circle, stay out of it. If you are, get out of it. Get organized. Make a To Do list. Attack an issue every week. Climb out of the hole. Life is much cheaper once you get yourself on level ground.