Once again I’m in crunch time. Another year coming up and another pay cut. But the good news is that I know it’s coming so I can prepare for it! You can spend an entire day on Google or Pinterest and find a thousand ways to improve your budget. There is some wonderful advice out there. But whether you choose to do cash envelopes, produce a budget plan or follow the advice of Dave Ramsey, let me tell you how being organized impacts your money. I’ve come up with a list of 5 Simple ways that organization saves money!
Be An A-Lister
Are you a Type A list-er and have an appreciation of things listy? If so, you know most of this already. But if not, be prepared to be wowed and hopefully inspired. Boy Scouts have nothing on a woman taking three kids under six shopping. I go prepared. My goal is to get in, get what I need, complete my list and get out quickly before the kids get bored and I have to leave my insurance information with the store manager.
Being organized helps you to avoid buying duplicates. Keep a running grocery list of things that you need as soon as you run out of them. When you know what you need instead of guessing, you won’t have three dozen eggs free loafing in your fridge. Now, I imagine you’re asking yourself, what does it matter if I buy duplicates of stuff we eat?
Well, you aren’t saving yourself time or money by buying in bulk if it spoils before you can eat it. Or it you don’t store it properly (freezing) before it becomes a science project. You can find some tips on saving money on food by reading Food For Thought.
Keep up with your stuff! Because it’s not just food, it’s office supplies, art supplies, weed eater string, printer cartridges, school supplies, ice scrapers, rock salt, tools, garden shears, gloves….. Anything that you’ve had to repurchase because you can’t find the first one.
BTW – the lost item will turn up after you’ve used the new one to the point that you can’t return it. Or, what about those four packages of razor blades you kept buying because you weren’t sure you had any? They won’t fit the new razor you just had to buy. That’s a given! So being organized and knowing where your stuff is can and does save you money!
You can save big bucks in this category. Planned shopping isn’t just about avoiding duplicates. It’s how to avoid paying more than you need to because of; emergency shopping, impulse buys and buying out of season. I like spontaneous shopping; I’ve just got to check my budget binder first.
My money was disappearing because of impulse buys, so I’ve learned to schedule it. Spontaneous shopping trips are planned now (I know, I know). By that I mean, I have a set amount of cash I take with me, but I can buy whatever!. That’s still spontaneous!
If you keep a list of things that you need then pick it up when it’s on sale, in season, on clearance or at a thrift store, you’ve saved money! If you know that you’re down to one pair of shorts, it’s so much cheaper to get new ones at the end of the season on clearance instead of waiting until next year. Same with winter items, firewood, linens, electronics, food………….
Oh, then there’s all the gas you saved with one well planned and mapped shopping trip instead of numerous dashes to pick up those forgotten items. Lists are magical.
Fees. The word kinda says it all. If you keep an organized budget plan, you know when your bills are due and if you paid them. Fees add up, and some companies continue to add costs to the first fee if you don’t pay it on time. It’s like leaving a pair of compatible rabbits together with dim lights and a Norah Jones CD….they multiply. And something that should only cost you $20 a month ends up costing you $40.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of fees. Set one or two days a week to keep a friendly eye on your bank balance, pay your bills on time, watch your credit line and for goodness sake don’t forget to pay your gym membership. Or you know, cancel it because you’ve forgotten how to get there.
Keep A Maintenance Schedule
Do you have a maintenance schedule? A list of things to do for your home in the spring and again in the fall, (check out Fall Chores)? What about car maintenance? If you keep on top of your home and car’s maintenance needs, the odds are in your favor that you can prevent an EXTREMELY costly repair later.
Let me give you an example. The following story has absolutely no basis in my reality…..ok, maybe a smidgen. If you check your tires for wear, you might avoid a blowout while going 75 on the Interstate. Then let’s say due to the blowout you temporarily lose control, hit a guardrail and spin back into traffic. And instead of hitting the 62 Pinto, that’s hanging onto its bumper with the assistance of a zip tie, you smash into the Mercedes that was driven off the lot the previous hour. All this and the husband explosion that followed could have been prevented if my…..I mean, the tires in this example were checked and replaced.
Simplify Your Lifestyle
Being organized simplifies your life. You can get rid of what you no longer need. Sell your excess!! But you could take it further. Simplify your meals, who eats pheasant under glass anyway? Find out what I think about cooking at home in The Real Joy Of Cooking. And keeping up with the Jones? Well, they’re on their third mortgage. The more organized you are, the more you realize you can live happily and stylishly on less money. Turning off our cable was the best thing I ever did for my family. We schedule time together now. I read more and spend more time doing the things I love with the people who love me.
Organization Saves Money
Just in case you’re curious, I’ll tell you how I’m preparing to handle another pay cut. Luckily for me, I know how much the cut is going to be, so I have a plan. This year, my husband and I refinanced our home and went from a mortgage payment of almost $1,000 a month to $732.
You can read how we did that in My 5 Stages Of No Spend January. We pay a little more on our mortgage and take the balance of that money and spread it out between savings accounts. I’m looking at our homeowner’s and auto insurance as well as a new cell phone plan. One way or another, I’ve got this! How is your financial year shaping up? Are you willing to try to save money with some of these organizational tips?