Monday, April 19, 2010

The Value of Being Organized

Being organized--having a place for everything and keeping everything in its place--can save you not only time but money. Here are a bunch of recent examples of how being organized can save both of these valuable commodities...
  • I reviewed my insurance coverage and found that it was time to shop around and find out if my homeowners insurance was still the best coverage for the money I was paying. Having a copy of my policy on hand (in a file where I could easily find it), I figured out what coverage I had, what I was paying for the coverage annually (something many people don't pay attention to because it is usually included with your mortgage payment), and went about seeking quotes for insurance from a handful of local insurance companies. I switched companies and now save about $200 per year.
  • A local store had an excellent sale on batteries. Instead of guessing whether or not we needed more batteries and what sizes (AA, AAA, D, etc) we needed, I simply went to the cabinet in the garage where we store the batteries and looked to see what we needed. No hunting through the house and searching various places for lone batteries. If they are all stored together, not only can you see when your supply is getting low, but, if need be, you can find them in the dark in the event of a power outage.
  • I save time, money, and gas by planning my day the previous evening. By laying out your day on paper, you can schedule in errands (ie: a trip to the post office or a quick grocery shopping trip) where they logically fit in your day instead or running across town and back two or three times, wasting both your time and gas. On a side note, I usually have a cooler in my vehicle which is useful for a number of things including keeping the milk cold if I buy it mid day instead of on my way home. On occasion I have been down on the docks to meet friends and ended up with a cooler full of fish. Nice.
  • I keep a print out of all of my important papers/documents and review this list occasionally. By doing this, I noted that my passport will expire in about six months and my concealed carry permit will expire next year. By ensuring that these types of documents are renewed before they expire, you save hassle (ever tried getting back into the country with an expired passport?), money (in added fees to renew documents that have expired), and time (by renewing before these things expire, you can choose the time to renew them instead of running down to the office in a panic on the busiest day of the month and waiting in line).
  • Having financial records at your finger tips can save time and hassle. When shopping around for mortgage financing, you are always asked for records. Past tax returns, annual income records, DD214, bank statements. Obviously you can round these up with time and effort by contacting your bank, the IRS, etc., but that is the hard way to do things. By having these records on hand, neatly filed in one place, you can whip out these documents and have a loan decision in a couple of hours.

I am all for having the big important things in life well organized, such as my BOB, backpacking gear, and the trunk of my vehicle or first aid kit, but by having ALL of your possessions, documents, and even the smallest of things such as fingernail clippers in ONE specific location ALL of the time, you will save money, time, and frustration.

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