We’re fairly organized people, or so we like to think. We can almost always find what we’re looking for, even though a good portion of our things are in “storage”. We pay our bills on time. We keep our commitments.
While I like to think that we’re organized, there have been a few instances lately that don’t support that claim. In fact, being a little disorganized had cost us or nearly cost us on several occasions.
Exhibit A: Refunds and Reimbursements
I was looking at the “free” section of craigslist (we’re looking for some fencing materials for a possible project) and was reading some of the interesting posts out loud to my husband. I came across “free bar study materials” and read that one (even though wmy husband already passed the California bar exam).
Hearing “bar study materials” triggered a thought. He remembered that Kaplan never gave him his book deposit refund. He paid $2,350 for the study materials, but $250 was refundable if you returned the written materials of the Bar study package. We paid $20+ to send back all the books two years ago and haven’t heard a thing from them.
My husband emailed them the next day and got a, “Whoops! It looks like that didn’t go through. We’ll send that out right away!” I’m not sure if that was an oversight or just the way their standard practice.
Had we been keeping a real budget at the time, I would have noticed that we never got the refund. Thankfully we got off easy this time, but being disorganized almost cost us $250!
Exhibit B: Recalled Products
As my husband was cutting some wood on Saturday for the tree house he’s making with the kids, the motor fell right out of the Skil table saw he was using. Pretty scary! Thankfully, the smoking hunk of metal missed his foot (and the children).
Hours later when the motor had cooled off enough to handle, he began to research the problem, if it could be fixed, and what it would cost. He learned that the saw was recalled back in 2005 because, well, the motor falls out of it! The recall said to stop using the saw immediately and return it for a refund or replacement.
Had the saw been registered when it was first purchased (it’s actually his dad’s saw), we would have been warned of the recall. Because the recall is 9 years old, we aren’t sure if we can still get it replaced. We’ll try, but we may just be stuck with a broken saw. Thankfully, we’ll still have all our extremities.
Update: We were able to send the saw back to Skil and get a new one, even though the recall had long since passed!
Exhibit C: Library Fines
The library is a great free resource, but if you’re not careful, it will cost you. Right now we owe $12.25 in library fines that have been accruing for over a year. I usually limit my kids books to as many as we can carry (and they think I’m supermom), so when we go to the library we take home a lot of books. We keep them separate from our books and keep track of them, but we still manage to get some of them turned in a day or two late. I won’t bore you with my excuses.
Last fall, I even had to pay for a book that turned up missing! That’s the first time we have ever lost a book. We searched high and low for it for months before finally having to pay for the book. I asked if I could just purchase it and bring it in, but instead had to pay about three times the cover price. At least it wasn’t an audio book– those are pricey.
We still love the library, but if we’re not organized, it’s not free!
Other ways to be more organized and stop wasting money!
- Keep your stuff where you can find it so you don’t have to buy multiples.
- Keep track of mail-in rebates.
- Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.
- Make a list before you shop to avoid impulse buys and return trips to the store for items you missed.
How about you?
- What ways has being organized saved you money?
- How has being disorganized cost you?