Clutter and debt go hand in hand. If we learn to keep clutter at bay, we will almost always diminish our debt at the same time. Scheduling a time to pay your bills and run errands is the first Baby Step to spending less. You'll see how good it feels to have exactly what you need instead of filling up your house with more clutter. You'll pay bills on time because they're not out of sight (and out of mind) under a sea of other papers. But, first, let's look at what's causing us to lose control of our finances.
Step back and take a look at a SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive) in action, or, should I say, in inaction. Take a closer look and you'll discern the steady drip, drip, drip of leaking money. How many of these scenarios have you lived?
- You forget to change the oil in your car. Then, for some reason, the car stops working and you're faced with a huge repair bill.
- You forget to go to a doctor, dentist, hair, nail, or vet appointment, and get charged for it anyway.
- You go to the grocery store without a list and buy three times more than what you need.
- You lose things in your clutter and have to replace them.
- You don't balance your checkbook, then bounce checks and get hit with overdraft charges.
- You forget to pay bills and are charged late fees.
There is an easy way to avoid all of the above situations: a Financial Home Blessing Hour (FHBH). Pick one day a week to run your errands. If you choose Thursday, reserve an hour on Wednesday for your FHBH. Write it down on your calendar. You'll use this hour to get ready to run your errands in an efficient way. It won't take long, so just sit down and do it! Get out your timer and spend a few minutes on each item. Don't get bogged down trying for perfection.
Financial Home Blessing Hour
- Check your schedule for the next week. Make menus for all the meals you'll eat at home.
- Decide what ingredients you'll need and check for other household items that you're running low on.
- Make a shopping list for the grocery store and another for the pharmacy.
- Pay bills. Put your envelopes in a stack, and mail them while doing errands.
- Check your balance online, taking into account the bills you've just paid. Decide how much you can spend at each store you'll be going to.
- Collect any library books or videos to be returned, dry cleaning stubs or clothing to drop off, and prescriptions to be filled. Leave them by the front door, ready for errand day.
- List, in order, the errands you need to run (i.e., bank, post office, library, dry cleaners, supermarket, pharmacy, pick up kids from school).
- Put your lists in your purse or wallet right now so you'll have them on hand tomorrow.
Once you get into a weekly routine of doing this, you'll regain control over the steady leak in your pocketbook. It will become a habit and you will feel empowered. I am proud of you for wanting to find financial peace in your home.