Thursday, April 16, 2009

Disorganized Frugality Is An Oxymoron

My organizational skills are questionable. I tend to go through seasons of organization where I have everything completely organized and things run smoothly and by the book. And then there are those other times. I wish I could say the highly organized times far exceeded the others, but honestly, it's probably only 50/50 at best.

So with that in mind, I am speaking from personal experience here.

Disorganization and frugality do not go hand in hand. Sure there are areas where it won't matter, but for the most part, being disorganized costs more money. Here are a few examples for which I have first hand knowledge:

  • Without organization, it is harder to keep track of library books or video rentals and to get them back on time. Result - overdue fines.
  • Disorganization in the kitchen makes it difficult to keep track of food that you do or do not have. Result - leftovers are forgotten about and go bad and/or you buy too much or not enough at the grocery store.
  • Paperwork (or even electronic inboxes) that is disorganized means things get misplaced. Result - bills get lost and not paid on time, offers or coupons get forgotten about, and worst case scenario, a check gets throw away.
I'm sure there are lots of other examples, but I guess my mind is not organized enough to come up with them right now. I bet some of you might have some examples for me, right?

I am currently revising some of my organizational methods that clearly need an overhaul. So unfortunately, I don't have many suggestions for you there, although I'd love to hear some ideas of what you use. The only tried and true organizational tools that I can say work without failure for me are my master monthly menu plan list and my master monthly grocery shopping list. Those are gems that have saved us hundreds if not thousands of dollars on groceries.

Stop by Phoebe's blog for some great frugal organization tips and then stop by Life As Mom for more Frugal Friday.


Brianna @ Heart(h) Management 12:30 AM  

I am in hearty agreement! Whew. I've lived my entire life in a struggle against disorganization. I'm not naturally an organized person and I've paid the price many, many times. It affects your money, your peace AND your relationships.

Your examples are good ones. Another I can think of is having to pay full price for something you need when you could have saved a bundle by thinking ahead and stocking up on sale.

Gifts--for birthday parties, Mother's Day, etc. These can really run high when you don't plan ahead to find bargains or plan to take the time to make something yourself.

SavingSomeGreen 1:46 AM  

Seriously - this post could have come from my own mouth.

Amen sista!

The Real Me! 6:29 AM  

I menu plan as well and I agree it's such a money saver. I am also a plastic binaholic. I use plastic bins for just about everything. They stack neatly on top of each other. The clear ones you can see right through to get a glimpse of its contents. Oh yes, a time doesn't go by that I'm in Wal-Mart and I don't peruse the storage bin aisle. LOL.
That wasn't very helpful was it? But I have to tell you, it made me feel better confessing! LOL.
Have a great weekend.

Jennifer 7:48 AM  

The library one is always getting me. I have a designated spot, but with 4 kids taking their books all over the house, they get misplaced. It is so frustrating.

Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free 7:58 AM  

I couldn't agree more!

This year I've been doing an overhaul on all my organizational things as well--hopefully someday I will have it all down. I win some days, and lose the rest... :)

Rona's Home Page 8:07 AM  

Over the years our organization methods are evolved. (thanks to technology and growing older)

Mom2fur 9:21 AM  

I can help you a little bit with two ideas regarding paperwork. I learned these from some organizing TV show or another. First, for papers: there are only 3 things you need to do with these: Act on them, File them, or Toss them. Remember: AFT. (Or "FAT," but that's such a negative word, LOL!) Gather up your papers into one basket, then sit down at a table. You'll make 3 piles. "Act" could refer to a bill or a notice from school. "File" could be your copy of your tax return, for example. "Toss" is obvious, but don't forget to get rid of the outer envelopes of bills and all those stupid inserts no one ever reads. Do it as soon as you get the bill (or as soon as possible), and you'll only have the actual bill and mailing envelope to deal with. After you make these three piles, and get rid of the junk, you'll probably cut the paper mess by at least a third.
The other idea I use and love is color-coded files. I have a 2-drawer file cabinet that uses hanging files. The hangers are only used as holders, not as actual files. I put my tax papers in purple files, medical in green and household information in red. One file goes into one hanging file. Oh, heck, this is long but I do have another tip: don't put all your user manuals in one messy file. Divide them up by the room where the appliance/object is used--a file for the living room, a file for the den, for example. That way, if you need to fix the A/C in your bedroom, you go right to the bedroom file and there's the manual.
I hope these tips help you and that you don't mind my writing so much!

Heather@justdoingmybest 5:11 PM  

Our posts compliment each other this week! I did not think about the areas you mentioned, though I had my own first-hand examples of disorganization. Good post. :)

BarbaraLee 7:32 PM  

I know what you mean. I get this way around cleaning times, spring & fall. I let things go till I get order back.

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