If getting organized seems like an impossible dream, it may just be a matter of changing your expectations. Magazines and blog posts are full of photos of carefully rolled socks in drawers and perfectly stored pantry goods in pretty little matching jars – but getting organized doesn’t have to be extreme. A little cleaning up now and then can make a big difference in how stress-free your life can be. Need a little extra motivation to stay on track? It turns out being organized can help you save and earn more money, too.
Shop with a List and Save
Shopping with a list can reduce your spending. When you shop with a list, you are less likely to fall into the trap of impulse buying – or adding items to your basket that you don’t really want or need. You can more easily plan for what you spend, and you might find you make fewer trips out overall.
Waste Not, Want Not
Organizing your pantry and refrigerator can do more than make meal time easier; it can actually save you a lot of money. A recent study by the USDA found Americans waste about a pound of food a day. This means Americans are throwing away approximately 20% of food purchased every year—enough to feed an additional two billion people. What would you do with an extra 20% saved from your grocery and dining expenses? Make your grocery dollars stretch by knowing what ingredients you already have on hand. It will encourage you to eat at home more, eat out less, and use what you have before it expires.
Discover Hidden Treasures
Chances are, you don’t need all of the duplicate household items that are likely hiding in drawers and cabinets around your house or apartment. When you organize your closets, drawers and cabinets, you just may discover things you forgot you had, never use, or don’t really need. The good news is, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. You don’t have to have a yard sale to make cash from unused items. You can list your items on sites like eBay, or keep it local and avoid shipping hassles with Craigslist or social media marketplace pages. You’ll end up with a tidier living space and more cash in your wallet.
Set a Shopping Day
Choose one day a week for all your errands and stick to it. Plan your path based on locations and their relationship to one another. You’ll spend less on gas or bus fare, save time and be less likely to buy items you don’t need.
Budget for Bills
Late fees are a hidden danger that can result from poor organization. Keeping a payment schedule can help you keep the money you need on hand, while avoiding late fees. Late fees are not the only trap in not paying bills on time. You may run the risk of having utilities cut off, or your credit card interest rate hiked. Read the fine print on your credit card agreement and you may discover that even one late payment could end up costing you big. Looking for tips to help you get your payment schedule organized? The finance blog Investopedia offers these suggestions for getting your payments on track.
Now is the Time to Start
Getting organized may seem like a huge task, but remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Find one area of your life you can get organized. When you do, you may find that in addition to a sense of order, you end up with more money, too.