So lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to get organized. I love using all the different apps on my phone to keep track of things, but I have a hard time staying accountable to my phone. This is in part because I use my phone for play more than I do for work. You know Pinning, checking social media, getting the news and weather, and texting…sometimes talking too! I keep track of appointments by adding them to my calendar, but don’t really do any bill paying and such on my phone. The only time I do is if I forget and need to pay one really quick, which is usually when I run across an email about one. I do occasionally check my bank account from my phone, but I don’t manage it from my phone.
Back when I worked, I had a routine and set schedule that I followed daily, so it was easy to keep track of things, including bills. I was busy, so things had to be prioritized and nothing was left forgotten. Now with my son being the center of my world and things revolving around him, my attention span and focus is all over the place. I need to get back to doing things the old fashion way, writing them down. Last week I received an email from my Old Navy credit card about my statement. I have paperless billing, so I get everything via email and didn’t think much of it. Then, lightbulb moment, I didn’t remember making a payment this month. The bill is usually due at the beginning of the month along with a few other bills, so I rarely forget any of them. Most of my bills are front loaded at the beginning of the month, because when I was in the military, we always got paid on the 1st and 15th. I’d use one check to pay bills with and the other one to shop, save, and do whatever. Never had an issue. Well everything changes when you go from two incomes to one.
Regardless of how much you made, even if it wasn’t a small amount, not making that anymore has a huge impact on your financial. As I digress, back to the email, I looked at the statement balance and it looked a lot higher than what I remember spending. When it comes to credit cards, my mantra is to pay them off in full when they are due. I HATE incurring interest! HATE it! Of course sometimes things come up that you can’t afford at the time, and credit cards are a good safety net for those situations. However, they are not good to use irresponsibly or to buy things you can’t afford. With that being said, I’m very careful about my credit card purchases and make sure I have the cash to pay them right back off at the time of purchase. The only reason I even have store credit cards is for the discounts, otherwise I’ve alway been been vehemently against them. They tend to carry extremely outrageous and ridiculous interest rates, upwards of 20-25%. You end up paying twice as much for something in the long run, because your constantly paying that 20% on top of the purchase price every month until that balance is $0. You catch my drift here?
This is exactly how the credit card companies make their money. They suck you in with the discounts, points and perks, but at the end of the day they win. Of course, if you never have a decrease in income and only spend what you can pay right back off, you can avoid this situation totally. This is what I do, or try to do. Although, there are a few times of the year where I may splurge and carry a balance for a short period. I despise being in debt, so I work very hard to pay it off as soon as I can. Unfortunately, sometimes you get this interest incurred when you forget, yep forget, to pay a bill. Its not that you didn’t have the money or that the bill came at a weird time of the month, you simply just forgot to pay it. This is what happened with Old Navy. I hadn’t been to Old Navy in weeks, like probably since around my birthday in early April. I hadn’t even thought about Old Navy, except for the daily, twice a day emails I get from them. You’d think I’d remember getting that many emails from them, but I didn’t. Next thing I know, I see this email that contained my statement and it hit me. I logged into my account and low and behold is was past due. Not just past due by a couple of days, but past due by nearly two weeks. And yep, that 20-some odd percent interest was tacked right on to the past due amount, plus like a $25 fee. You can imagine my agitation, but I had no one to blame or be mad at but myself. I was miffed for a few minutes, but went ahead and made the full payment.
I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten to pay bill, and because of it had to pay an extra $25 in addition. Times are tight financially, and that $25 could have been diapers for my son or gas in tank. I don’t have $25 to just given away, because of my own dropping of the bill paying ball. Well, now I refuse to let that happen. After that happened, I logged into all of my accounts and made sure I had payments scheduled. I ran through a mental list and everything is set to go. However, I don’t trust myself to remember and just keep a mental note.
So now, I’m headed back to the old school way and writing them down in my new planner than I’m personalizing for myself. I should have it done by the end of the week and can start utilizing it to stay on track with everything I have going on right now, to include bills of course. I remember back in college, before cell phones were so widely used for things, writing all my expenses down and when bills had to be paid. I didn’t have a calendar app on my phone to record things and keep track of appointments, but I had a college/day planner and that’s where everything went. I’m excited to get back to doing things tis way, plus I’ve always loved planners and pens. Not sure if I ever mentioned it, but I’m a huge stationery, office supply, and pen buff. I love anything in that realm of things. I don’t do much hand writing these days, because of having a phone, iPad, and MacBook, but I’m totally nostalgic to get back to physically writing things down.
There’s just something about writing things down that makes them accountable. Its the time and thought process to physically writing an getting your mind to actually brainstorm and think about everything. Plus, being able to check things off a list is like positive reinforcement for me. Its like if I don’t accomplish anything else that day, I can look to my planner and have something to check off or at least write down to do in the future. No longer will I freak out thinking I’ve missed an appointment, not paid a bill, or plain out forgot to schedule or run an errand. I’ll definitely be posting all about using my new planner once I start using it, and I’m thinking of adding an organization series to blog. So see, through my irresponsibility, you all get to benefit! I have a few posts on organization, but this will be an entire new endeavor with using a planner and organization binders. This will also help me as a business woman to run my business for efficiently and effectively. It will do the same for me as a blogger and I couldn’t be more excited and motivated about that!