How Disorganization Is Costing You Money


This is a guest post by Catherine Alford

I’ll admit it. I’m a little obsessed with organizing. It’s a sickness. I couldn’t even find a planner that I liked this year, so I had to make my own (in Excel with tons of colors and categories, but I digress…).

The good news is that you don’t have to be as Type A as I am to get your finances organized. You just have to have a little bit of order when it comes to your money so that you don’t hurt your financial reputation with late fees and a bad credit score.

Yes, disorganization costs you money! And, no one wants that!

We want to keep our money so that we can go on vacations, pay back our student loans, and save up for retirement.

So, let’s make a pact. Let’s get organized and stop giving our hard earned cash to other people. Here’s how:

Get A Planner

Planners come in all shapes and sizes. If you don’t have a huge purse to carry one, you can purchase one that is pocket sized (so there’s no excuse not to have one!)

You can also keep your calendar updated on your phone. I just prefer a pen to paper, just in case my phone malfunctions and I lose important information.

Make A Plan

Choose a day or two that you will pay your bills. Usually it’s good to pay them around the 1st and the 15th because that’s when people usually get paid. Your bills will be sporadic and due all different days throughout the month. It’s better to pay them early than to risk getting a late fee, so decide which of your bills will be taken care of at the beginning of the month and which will be taken care of in the middle of the month.

Remember, the goal is not to give our money to other people. Organization helps us avoid late fees!

Stick To The Plan

Buying a planner and saying you will pay your bills twice a month is the easy part. The hard part is following through. I find that for people just starting out, it helps to have a money buddy.

This can be your significant other, your co-worker, or your next-door neighbor. This person should be in charge of either helping you keep your bills straight or simply asking how your money organization project is going. It’s proven that when we have accountability, we perform better.

Still Don’t Believe Me?

If you still need more convincing, here are some other ways that disorganization can cost you money:

  • If you forget to max out your IRA and miss the deadline, you can never go back to that year and add money to your account.

  • You might forget to use coupons before they expire.

  • The interest rates on your credit cards will skyrocket after a late payment.

  • You could get evicted from your apartment after too many late payments.

  • You could lose reimbursement checks from your employer or a rebate check from an electronic purchase and never be able to get it back.

I could think of several more ways that being disorganized is detrimental to your finances, but the good news is that everyone is more than capable of keeping their money straight. Whether you use a spreadsheet, an iPhone app, or a simple organizer, it will only take a few steps to get started on the path to financial security!

What are some other ways that you keep your money organized?

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who blogs about her money adventures and misadventures on her blog,

 Photo Credit: Simply Tidy

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  • I keep my work receipts in one half of my wallet, and personal receipts in the other half. I review my work receipts on a weekly basis, then take a break and do the same with my personal receipts. I only keep receipts for big ticket items, clothes I haven’t worn yet, and rare special circumstances. I mobile deposit checks as soon as I receive them, then void the check and put it with my receipts to get filed. I use MoneyDesktop as my PFM, which helps me track my account balances, stick to a budget, and keep my long-term debt reduction plan top of mind. Implementing this system over the last year has not only saved me money by eliminating fees, but it’s saved me immeasurable emotional energy in stress reduction!

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