By: Cheryl Maguire
I love saving money, and I’m also an organized person. Over the years I’ve learned that my organizational strength has helped me to avoid fees and avoid buying things I already own. Here are some ways being organized can help you save money too:
- In order to avoid late fees, you must pay your bills on time. Create a designated bill in-box in your home office or any area you frequent, as a reminder to pay your bills.
- Organize the bills with the most recent due date on top. You can also mark your calendar or set a phone reminder to remind yourself to pay the bills. Another option is to schedule the payments through your on-line bill pay the same day you get the bill or on a “bill pay day” that you select.
- You should mail your bills at least one week before the bills are due or if you pay your bills on-line through your bank sometimes you only need to pay the day before. Another option is to pay the bill on the business website (i.e. a credit card company) which usually allows you to pay the same day the bill is due.
- Automatic bill pay is another option to avoid fees when paying your insurance. You also should mark the date on your calendar of when the automatic bill pay is deducted to make sure you have the money in your account otherwise you may incur fees for insufficient funds in your bank account.
- Organize all storage areas including your basement, attic, garage, closet, and kitchen cabinets. By organizing these areas, you will be able to locate items you need quickly and you will also be able to remember items you own which will help you to avoid unnecessary purchases (especially related to food and clothes). If you do not use an item for more than a year, consider selling or donating the item.
- You can use a coupon organizer or any method which works for you. It is important to organize your coupons in order to use the coupons before they expire and to remember to use the coupons when shopping. If you do forget to bring the coupons with you to the store, the next time you are at the store ask customer service if they will reimburse you for the coupons. Now many stores also offer digital coupons and that you can order by expiration date.
- Create a price list of items you shop for on a regular basis. Include the size/weight of the item along with the price and store purchased. This way you will know when you see a great deal. You can keep this sheet in your coupon organizer and take it with you (or a picture of it) when you shop.
- Create a shopping list with items you shop for on a regular basis. The notes app on your phone is a great option. There are also lots of grocery related apps you can download. You can add or delete item before you shop. You and even make a notation if you have a coupon to use for the item and add the coupons to the list. You can keep a copy of the list in your coupon organizer.
Plan your Meals
- Plan your meals for the week, especially before you go grocery shopping, to avoid impulsive spending at the grocery store. Plus, you will avoid ordering a meal out or eating at a restaurant.
- Create a gift list of people you purchase gifts for and possible gift ideas. Include the person’s birthday or occasions you purchase the gifts for the person. When you are shopping or browsing through store circulars, keep the list in mind and purchase the gifts when they are on sale or if you have a coupon for the item even if the person’s birthday or other occasion is months away. Most stores allow you to return an item 3 months after the purchase. Check the stores return policy before making the purchase.