Being organized is a trait that most people admire, but few people have mastered. There are many reasons we should all attempt to be organized, but did you know that if you are organized, you actually can save money?
The opposite is also true. If you are disorganized, you are losing money.
At the grocery
Have you ever clipped a great coupon only to get to the store and find the item on sale but can’t find that coupon? By taking the time once a week to get your coupons in order and filed, you can save money on the products you need to buy. My rule for coupons: If the coupon is for a free product or an item that I know I am definitely going to use, that coupon goes into the front of my expandable coupon file. That way, when I get to the store, I can pull out that small stack of ‘must use’ coupons and know that I am going to get those savings. I then put that expandable file in my purse so I won’t forget it when I run out to the grocery.
At tax time
As spring approaches, I start to see people posting on Facebook the dread of finding all the receipts and documents needed to file taxes. There are many items that you can’t claim on your taxes if you don’t have the proper paperwork. A simple file system through the year will save your sanity and help you be ready to file in April.
At dinner time
When it’s time to plan the meals for the following week, take a few minutes and go through your cabinets. Why spend the money to buy chili powder or diced tomatoes if you already have three cans hidden in the back of your pantry? Then plan your meals around what you find and save money on your weekly meals.
At the restaurant
When I get coupons for restaurants that I might possibly use, I put them in a small expandable file in my glove compartment in the van. I don’t want to be on a day trip to Lexington and decide to grab lunch and remember that my restaurant coupons are back in my coupon bag at the house.
3 favorite organization tools
Sports card organizer: You know all that stuff that multiplies inside your medicine cabinet when you’re not looking? Medicine droppers, random cough drops, sample lotions, tubes of cream — here’s an idea to keep them corralled in your cabinet. The baseball card holders that many people have stored in a closet work perfectly! They have small compartments to divide the different items and they lock in place so I can slide them in the side of my cabinet. You also could repurpose a craft box that originally was designed to hold cross-stitch thread for a similar use.
Shoe storage hanger: Use an over-the-door shoe hanger to store stuffed animals, little bags of kids’ toys, or hang doll clothes and accessories. Just because you don’t want to display all your shoes doesn’t mean you should toss this useful item.
3 Ring binder: The basic binder is an organizer’s best friend. I use a binder to keep all my kids school work stored after the year is over. I have one for each child, divided by years. I keep just enough papers and special projects to capture the memories of the year. I also use a binder to keep all my home ownership papers and forms in one place. A binder is a great way to keep all your financial or health records organized so you can find them in an instance.
What’s your favorite tool to keep organized? I’d love to hear!
Sharon Williams blogs about saving money in real life at www.reallifedeals.com.