I was not born organized. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Over time, I’ve had to learn systems to get and stay organized. I’ve read lots of books on the subject and work very hard at staying organized. There are still times when being disorganized has had a financial cost. Now, being organized is even more motivating to me, knowing it can save me time and money.
Make a menu
Do you ever get home from work at the end of the day, open the fridge and wonder, “What should I make for dinner tonight?” When the options seems unappealing or unappetizing or the ingredients aren’t all there, you’re left with a number of choices
- Go out to eat.
- Pick up some groceries.
- Get creative with the ingredients you have.
- Order in.
I find the most difficult part about making dinner is choosing what to have. If someone else would make the decision and have everything already there, the actual cooking would be the easy part. When I sit down and make a menu and a corresponding grocery list once a week, I’m making all of those choices at once. It removes the stress of choosing what to make for dinner when I know I have the ingredients I need. I also saves a lot of money if you can avoid eating out or ordering in on a regular basis.
Know what you own and know what you need
This gets even more complicated once you have children. Two years back I found a pair of rubber boots on sale in the next size up for my son. I bought them, brought them home, took them down to the boot storage area in the basement and low and behold found the same boots already down there! Now I keep a ‘needs list’ in my wallet so when I find a sale, I can refer to it and know what we already own. It doesn’t matter how big of a sale it was, we don’t need two pairs of rubber boots in the same size.
Have a filing system
Recently we found out we were being reviewed by the CRA and needed to send in a record of all of our charitable donations and tuition statements. Fortunately, I knew where to look. I went into the file marked “taxes 2008”, found the statements I needed and mailed them off within the hour. Without my trusty filing system, I may not have been able to find everything I needed which would have resulted in a an extremely costly re-assessment of our taxes.
Keep all of your receipts and tax records going back six years. Have a file for warranties, manuals and investments. When you need something, you’ll know exactly where it is.
Of of the most common New Year’s resolutions after losing weight and exercising more is the desire to get organized. Knowing that getting organized can help save you money makes it even more motivating.
If you’re on the disorganized side and are looking to get more organized these books are a great place to start. If you want to be frugal you can order them through your local library. These resources are for people who didn’t inherit the organizational gene. If you’re already pretty organized, they probably won’t do you much good. If you need some help, these are a great start.
Books on Getting Organized at Work
- One Year to an Organized Work Life: From Your Desk to Your Deadlines, the Week-by-Week Guide to Eliminating Office Stress for Good (link)
- Getting Things Done (link)
Getting Organized at Home
- Real Simple: Cleaning: Your Room-by-Room Guide to a Beautiful House (link)
- ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life (link)
Organizing Your Finances
- The Motley Fool Personal Finance Workbook: A Foolproof Guide to Organizing Your Cash and Building Wealth (link)
- One Year to an Organized Financial Life: From Your Bills to Your Bank Account, Your Home to Your Retirement, the Week-by-Week Guide to Achieving Financial Peace of Mind (link)
How has being organized saved you money?
Kathryn has been a staff writer for MDJ since January 2009. During the day she works in an office. In her off hours, she volunteers as a financial coach helping ordinary Canadians with the basics of money management. Kathryn, along with her husband and two children live in Ontario.If you would like to read more articles like this, you can sign up for my free weekly money tips newsletter below (we will never spam you).