Tips for Finding Funds by Making a Few Changes

Changing disorganized habits into organized ones can save you money on everything from clothes and food to toys.
Changing disorganized habits into organized ones can save you money on everything from clothes and food to toys.

It’s amazing how falling leaves can make you think of money—if only it would rain down on us like the swirl of red, gold and brown leaves. Those falling leaves start a train of thinking about finances—wishing you’d saved more, how much you have to do, travel expenses, hoping you have enough money, and we won’t even mention the heating bills.

While it is wonderful to try to earn more money or pick up a second job, there is something else you can consider: saving money in a new way through organization. During the holiday season, however, there are many ways you can add a little more structure to your life.

Save on gas: Coordinate errands with trips you must make this week. Don’t run out to do one thing. Piggyback trips in the car so that each time you are out you accomplish something along the way.

Save on groceries: Organize your pantry by sorting through your dry goods and canned goods and placing like items together. Organize the contents of your freezer and refrigerator. Sort out frozen meats from premade dinners and frozen treats. To tidy up your refrigerator, dedicate one shelf to leftovers, and make sure all of the produce is stored together. Then, use the items you already have to build meals to save money and prevent items from going bad. Plan your shopping strategy ahead. Take the time to organize your menu for the week, and take advantage of coupons and sale items.

Save on clothing: You’ve got a closet full of clothing, yet nothing to wear. You wear your favorite items over and over, then get tired of them and shop—yet again. Instead, organize your closet. Sort your clothing by activity: work, casual, exercise, and dressy. Then, take the time to mix and match outfits from items “hidden” in your closet.

Save on stuff: From pencils and pens to nuts and bolts, screws, glue sticks, tubes of lipstick, matches, thread and needles, and Band-Aids, your drawers and cabinets are teaming with stuff. Yet when you need something, you end up running to the store to pick something up. You know you have it already, but you don’t know where “it” is. Get organized by putting like items together and use what you already have.

Create a bill-paying system: Disorganization causes individuals to pay bills late. People simply forget. Next thing you know, you are paying late fees or fines, the interest rate on your credit card goes up, or you pay a higher loan fee due to a lower credit score. Set up phone and email reminders. Create one spot in your home where everything related to paying bills is placed so you don’t have to hunt all over.

Spend gift certificates and gift cards: If you have gift certificates or gift cards, use them or exchange them. If it is a restaurant or store that you don’t like, swap them through a gift card exchange website.

Don’t put things off: In the long run, it will save you money to address issues head-on when they appear. Getting a tooth that needs a filling fixed is vastly cheaper (and less painful) than getting a root canal. Getting a “funny noise” looked at on your car is cheaper than getting a whole new transmission. If your method of operation has been to address issues when they get serious and you can’t avoid them, try addressing issues when they first come to the light so that they don’t get serious at all.

Save on toys: Oftentimes, children appear bored with toys, and it makes you think they need something new to play with. Instead, they may need organizing their toys. Get small bins to organize. Once sorted, put half of the toys away. With less mess, you will find they are more engaged with the toys they already own. Then, in a week or two, swap the toys and let them play with the toys that were once put away. In this manner, toys seem fresh and fun. They have all of their parts. And of course, you as a parent save hundreds of dollars!