A disorganized life filled with chaos can be very costly. That’s why for years I have been a proponent of getting rid of the mess of clutter and finding solutions to find what you need when you need it so that the hidden cost of clutter can be significantly reduced.
Experts tell us that in the U.S., 15 to 20% of our annual income is drained by disorganized finances. Some of the ways in which these money leaks show up:
· 23% of Americans can’t find their bills and end up incurring late fees and extra charges as a result.
· In 2014 $1 Billion dollars in misplaced gift cards went unredeemed resulting in a massive waste of money.
· What about those overdue library books — the average community library collects a whopping $182,000 in overdue fines each year.
· More than 10% of households rent storage space to hold their extra junk. Families who use them spend as much as $1,000 a year on rent. And home storage products — you know those plastic bins stacked in garages and basements, and those pretty boxes and baskets — they have blossomed into a $10.5 billion business.
· Americans waste 55 minutes a day looking for stuff they own but can’t find. The result? They end up buying duplicates of everything from measuring cups, staplers, clothes and tools. The result is what you can’t find you have to pay to replace and it’s costly.
· Poor planning results in American families throwing away 25% of the food they buy. For a family of four, that means nearly $2,500 a year worth of food dumped in the trash.
The Cost of Clutter
The likelihood that clutter is eating away at your finances and costing you money that could be better used to paying off debt or saving for a home is high. Here are some ways you can reduce the clutter and save yourself some money in the process. Watch the video or read on
Find A Home for Your Bills
Inevitably people with an enormous amount of clutter typically can’t find all or some of their bills resulting in late fees and shut off notices. The trick then is to find a “home” for you bills and to put those bills in their place every time a bill comes in.
What I recommend is that you develop a command center somewhere in your home. It can be in the kitchen or a home office or even a corner of your bedroom if you have limited space. No matter where it is, develop a place where without exception when bills come in it goes there. A large envelope pinned to a command station with ‘Bills” written on the outside is an easy way to accomplish this task.
If want to go one step further, have all your bills electronically delivered. In this case, you’d set up a specific file folder and place all reminders into the folder when the email arrives. This way you’re only looking at one location for bill reminders.
If you’ve ever bought something and found you needed to return it but couldn’t locate the receipt, then this hack will help you not only be organized but to save money too!
When you go shopping take the receipt from the salesperson, don’t have the receipt placed in the bag. Bagged receipt have a higher chance of being lost or thrown away than receipts you take yourself and put in your purse or wallet.
When you go home, take those receipts from your pocketbook or wallet and place them in either a shoe box or penda flex file folder that has been labeled according to categories.
If you want to get high-tech, use one of the receipt apps to keep track of your purchases.
Every single misplaced document can cost you money and stress. Need to renew your passport, but you can’t’ find your birth certificate again? It’ll cost you up to $30 to get a new one.
Your roof’s damaged in a storm, but you can’t find your insurance policy?
The solution is simple: create a binder, file on your computer, or create a file system and put every single piece of important paperwork from relevant documents, birth and marriage certificates, tax records and insurance policies. Anytime you need them; you’ll know exactly where to find them.
Do you have a habit of misplacing or down right losing your keys? Having to pay to have your house rekeyed can cost upwards of $200. Lose your car keys, and it could cost even more.
The solutions are simple. Place a hook, or nail right by the door you enter and leave from every day and place the keys on the hook every time you step foot in the door. This way you’ll always know where to find them!
If you must use a paid for storage unit, then make sure you keep a list of what’s being stored. List out all the things you’re keeping in storage. It doesn’t have to be super detailed – just the basics. This way if you ‘forget’ what’s in there you can refer to your list before you run out and make a purchase for something you already own.
This idea can be utilized for any storage area in your home.
For the most part, you should strive to stop paying for storage and declutter your home so that everything you want to keep can fit into your living space.
Wasted food is costing American’s a lot of money each year. I’ve seen this in my own home too! What I have found is that when I sit and properly meal plan, shop according to my list and then prepare what I have purchased, I’m less likely to throw food away.
Another way we’ve reduced waste is by shopping twice a week. I know, not what most of us want to do, but fresh fruits and veggies don’t last an entire week, and so we shop for fresh produce twice a week instead of once. This little trick has saved us around $25 a week!
The reality is most of us have too much stuff we will NEVER use. Why not remove the chaos and clutter and sell your stuff? You can either sell items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or via your own yard sale. I’ve made significant money on every yard sale I’ve ever hosted.
These articles should help you formulate a plan for your next yard sale:
Clutter and chaos cost money. Find a way to implement these simple solutions and get your home clutter free. In the end not only will you reduce the cost of clutter but you’ll gain peace of mind and an organized home.
MY FAVORITE MONEY-SAVING TOOLS
EBATES: Want to earn cash back when you shop online? Ebates acts as a shopping portal offering coupons and cashback from over 2,000 online stores. I always check on Ebates first whenever I shop online! You can join Ebates for free and get a $10 welcome bonus when you sign up through this link.
DIGIT: Like the idea of saving but need something automatic? Digit is the perfect solution if trying to automate your savings strategy. In essence, what Digit does is use an algorithm to detect spare money and then transfers it to a secure savings account – so you’ll always have something to fall back on. Sign up for free!
GROCERY BUDGET MAKEOVER: Is your grocery budget giving you a serious kick in your families spending plan? Grocery Budget Makeover helped my family slash $6,000 a year from our food bill! Learn more about how Grocery Budget Makeover can help you save money too!