How Disorganization costs Money


January 15, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

4 months ago it was time to renew the family cell phone contract. I’ve had excellent luck and service with Verizon so after a short price comparison, we chose to stay with them.

With this renewal came my ability to swap phones for newer models. I picked out a few phones and they both came with rebates. Essentially I payed $100.00 upfront for some very good phones and then got my $100 back a few months later after I filled in the forms. The net of this is that the nicer phones are essentially free to me.

As I was paying, the Verizon store manager and I joked about the rebate and when asked, he actually told me that a recent company memo mentioned that 70% of their rebate forms are never returned within the required time frame. Therefore, the rebate gets nullified and Verizon simply gets to keep the money. We chuckled at the lazy ways of some people and I completed the purchase.

When I returned home I immediately put those rebate forms in the “to-do” file. Four months have passed and as I get ready for tax time by digging, organizing, and sorting through receipts, I stumbled into those two rebate forms that were previously worth $100.00. I never touched them even though I had earlier laughed at the silly people that through this money out the window. You’ve guessed right, I lost the $100.

This long story is a prelude to an excellent list of ways being unorganized costs your money. This morning I read a great list at Mighty Bargain Hunter. I’d encourage you to read on there but here are a couple of their points that really hit home for me.

  • Missed rebates.Rebate deals can be really good. But if you forget to turn the stupid thing in, it’s a really bad deal.
  • Emergency purchases. You were sure you had another box of diapers and it’s 2 AM and your two-year-old is really, uh, aromatic? The convenience store is a few miles away and the diapers there are two dollars — each!
  • Throwing money out the window. That store credit you received when you returned that unwanted gift? The one that was on the slip of paper that was the only record of the credit? The one that the cashier said not to lose because it’s like losing cash?
  • .

  • Buying things you already have. The one you have is still good, but it’s either buried under something and you can’t find it, or you don’t remember that you have it.
  • Dining out a lot. Because you ran out of time in the morning and didn’t pack a lunch.
  • Stuff breaking before its time. Forgetting to change the air filter in your central air system or forgetting to drain the hose in winter time will cause expensive surprises.
  • Susceptibility to sales pitches. A basic radon test was perfectly sufficient when we had our house inspected prior to purchasing it, but I didn’t know that and paid $100 for a deluxe one that I didn’t really need.

I think the most amusing part of this lesson is that I routinely receive a dozen emails every week from readers sending me tips on organization. I read every single message and love them. However, without installing tips into your daily routine, you are wasting time by even reading them to begin with.

To read the rest of the tips from Mighty Bargain Hunter, visit 16 Ways being Disorganized Costs you Money.


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