Hidden Costs of Disorganization

Most of us have places where money escapes us, either through spending more than we have to, failing to take advantage of free or inexpensive things, or losing track of our finances.  Back in October, I wrote about Seven Reasons Why Clutter is Costing Me Money.  It seems that the topic is timeless, because David at MoneyNing recently posted 19 Ways Laziness is Costing You Money.  I hate to admit to being lazy, but I will admit to being overwhelmed and underorganized.  There is just so much stuff that a girl's brain can contain at any one time.

I found three points in David's article that probably apply to most people:

  • #1  Gift Cards:  Gift cards have become such a popular gift and they are often given when you make a return.  At any given time, I might have a handful of cards in my box of small but important stuff.  Given the complicated fees and rules, I'm sure that some of them are worthless by now.  Make an effort to use gift cards as soon as you receive them, trade them with your friends, or sell them at a gift card site like Swapagift or Plastic Jungle.  These sites don't offer very good value, but they do offer instant cash.

  • #3  Old Stuff Collecting Dust in Your House  (or car, or storage unit, or parent's house):  In my clutter article, I argue that having excess things makes you more likely to miss out on opportunities or more likely to spend money unnecessarily.  Clearing out the old, whether selling it, donating it, or just throwing it out can free your life and your wallet.
  • #18 Not Being Organized:  I am absolutely guilty of this.  I hate it when I buy something but have forgotten the coupon.  I've been known to pay my water bill late because it comes irregularly and it slips my mind.  Sometimes I can't find an important piece of paper and it costs me money.

Again, I don't like the choice to use the word lazy, but David makes good points.  Disorganization can be expensive, there's no doubt about it.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • I hate to admit it, too, but #18 is a real tough one for me. My sister and I have so much stuff from our past, and now from our home business, and organization is our Everest.
    We are on a never-ending quest to find ways to organize all our fabrics, sewing supplies, mail and bills, thousands of childhood photos, etc.
    No matter how many chests and shelves we buy or build, it never seems enough. I think we probably need to throw things away, but never know what to throw and what to keep.
    I know the disorganization keeps us from reaching our full earning potential because it’s hard to keep a clear head in an un-clear working space.