Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's gonna cost ya...

I am a huge procrastinator. I can find something, anything to distract me from the task at hand.

Such was the case with my coupons. Between work, school, surgery and yes, procrastination, my coupon inserts piled up and up and up. A couple of months ago, I went through them. All of them were expired. In essence, money down the drain.

I vowed that I wouldn't let my couponing get the best of me. Well, you know what they say about good intentions...

I was looking for a way to procrastinate from doing homework the other day, so I decided to tackle my coupons. (At least it's a productive procrastination.) After several hours, I ended up with this:

This is several months worth of expired coupons. *hangs head in shame* While going through all these coupons, I found coupons that I would actually use adding salt to an already-opened wound. As I'm going through them, the following conversation transpires between TMB and myself:

Me: "I found a Hormel Chili coupon! Expired! *defeated*
TMB: ...
Me: "I found an eye solution coupon! Expired! *ashamed*
TMB: ...
Me: "I found a Tetely tea coupon! Expired...*disgusted*
TMB: "Have you learned your lesson?"
Me: ...

Yes, Mr. Man, I have indeed learned my lesson! When I was finished, I had a nice (albeit, smaller) pile of coupons:

Which I will file-whole inserts-here:

Why would I publicly bare my shame and procrastination? Why, to help you, of course. I know everyone is knee deep in resolutions. (It's everywhere! I saw a couple of nurses walking during their lunch break, for crying out loud!) Since I certainly can't teach you what to do, I can teach you what not to do.

The truth of the matter is: not being organized can cost ya - big time. The proof is in the pudding (well, pictures). I outlined three coupons that I found that were expired. These are brands/products that my family uses every month; these aren't obscure brands of the oh-I-don't-use-that-brand-so-it-doesn't-matter land. No, these were high-end coupons that could have saved me $3. What's $3?, you might say. $3 is a pound of ground beef when it's not on sale. It's a pound and a half when it is! $3 is a gallon of gas! $3 is a gallon of milk! You get my drift. I threw away $3. Trust me, it's a big deal.

Why am I rambling on about coupons when most of you don't use them for a variety of reasons (too much time, too much hassle, not enough money saved, etc)? Because if you have them and don't use them (especially if you have them for items you normally buy), you are wasting money. Still not connecting with you?

Okay, let me put this little spin on it - if you have bills due and you don't keep track of them (or their due dates!), you will incur late fees (which is pretty much free money to the companies because you aren't paying them for a service). Or, you lose that service (cable or internet isn't such a big deal, but electric, water and housing is a whole other story!)

And, since a lot of you are wanting to save money this year, getting organized with the stuff that matters is a very good way to do it. Is it common sense? Of course it is. Most of the things that we have to do to "fix" the things that are wrong in our lives is - simple common sense.

So, how do you get organized? Well, it largely depends on who you are. Taking coupons for example, there are several ways that people choose to organize them. Some people cut them out and file them individually in notebooks (been there, done that - it took too much time). Other people file whole coupon inserts (like me, it saves time - when you don't let them pile up). The same is true for bills. Some people choose to have their money automatically withdrawn from their accounts; others use online bill pay or other online bill paying system. Some people budget using Excel spreadsheets; others use simple pencil and paper. The point is: a system that works for you is the system you should work.

Steph over at Debt Free Through Spending is working with her husband to create a webinar series to help people help themselves get out of debt. It is completely free - their theory is that you shouldn't have to pay money to get out of debt. She and her husband have included free printable forms that go along with the webinars. By the way, in case you're wondering, I plan on undertaking the task of getting (more) debt-free in 2012. (Disclosure: Just sharing some linky love - I am not compensated in anyway other than helping you help you get out of debt.)

Until next time...