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7 ways procrastination has cost me money

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This is a guest post from Plonkee Money. She is a UK based financial blogger, so you'll minor differences to what you may be used to (like using the Pound rather than American dollar).  The concepts are universal, so I encourage you to subscribe to her RSS feed.

I'm not the most organized person in the world, and this is not a good trait when combined with my penchant for putting off till later what doesn't strictly have to be done right now. In some respects this is comical. I can get ready for work including taking a shower within 10 minutes if I really try - I know this because I've put off getting out of bed until 10 minutes before I really, really, really have to leave for work. But when it comes to my finances, its not had such great outcomes. Here are seven ways in which I could have saved money if I'd got my act together quicker, in order from bad to worst.

  1. Updating my address
    When I moved house a couple of years ago, I had my post forwarded for six months by Royal Mail giving me plenty of time to change my address with the relevant parties. After the six months came to an end and I still hadn't updated them, I had to fork out for another six months at about £36 to avoid having my post sent to my old address.
  2. Switching Electricity Provider
    In the UK, electricity is an open albeit somewhat regulated market. When I first moved into my old flat I think that I wasted about £50 by not getting round to switching to the cheapest green provider.
  3. Buying Train Tickets
    Train tickets are definitely cheaper if bought in advance. On a recent trip to London, I could have saved £16 by booking as soon as I knew I was going to go. I'd have also been able to go on the quicker route and this would have saved my more than an hours traveling time as there were engineering works on the slow route. This is not exactly an uncommon occurrence in my life. I estimate that it happens at least 4 times a year.
  4. Changing House Insurance Provider
    The cheapest deals for house insurance require the house to be occupied, have window locks and smoke alarms as well as premiums to be paid annually. For this reason it was better for me to go with a more expensive company for the first month of my new purchase as I wasn't actually living there. Not switching to a cheaper deal as soon as possible cost me around £120.
  5. Going Grocery Shopping
    When I actually go shopping, I'm quite good. I make a list and a budget and stick to both. Of course all this is only beneficial if I can actually be bothered to go. I often don't go until several days after I've run out of food and in the mean time I pick up a few things from a small supermarket every day on the way home from work. Not very cost effective and I estimate that this has wasted about £20-£30 a month for several months.
  6. Paying Credit Card Bills
    I have to admit to opening a SonyCard to get the some bonus points which I'll be using to buy Christmas presents. I put off paying the bill until closer to the due date, and was then very late. I've paid about £14 in late fees and I've made a dent in my credit score.
  7. Claiming Expenses
    In the last year I've run up work expenses totaling approximately £750 which remain unclaimed because I didn't get round to filling in the (relatively simple) form and sending them off. I have established to my satisfaction that at some point I threw away the receipts - I'm not getting this money back.

Posted on November 7, 2007.

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Money Management

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10 Responses to “7 ways procrastination has cost me money”

  1. Susanna says:

    I don’t even like to think about the amount of money procrastination cost me. The worst was probably the drivers license fiasco, which depleted my savings account.

    When I moved to a new apartment in Atlanta, I forgot to update the address on my drivers license. So I didn’t get the notice that I needed to update my license plate sticker, and I got ticketed for having an expired plate.

    Knowing what a procrastinator I am, I should’ve set things right immediately. But I didn’t, and I forgot to pay the ticket. Because I never updated the address on my license the city couldn’t contact me to remind me to pay the ticket.

    Several months later I moved to North Carolina. When I went to get a new drivers license, I discovered that my old one had been suspended. So a lot of paperwork ensued trying to pay the fees and get it reinstated. Finally, I was back up to date.

    Unfortunately, NC does not look kindly on people who have had their licenses suspended, no matter the reason. I had to pay the highest car insurance rate – it was almost as much as my rent. Before I moved to NC I was putting $200 a month in savings. After a year living in NC, even with a decent raise, my savings were nearly gone and I’d racked up quite a bit of credit card debt.

    I’m still a procrastinator, and unfortunately it still costs me money. But I have learned one lesson: always, always do your civic paperwork immediately!

  2. Laura says:

    I procrastinated on dropping a class I sucessfully tested out of. I found out that couldn’t get a refund because I missed the date by 2 days! Argh that was $600 down the drain!

  3. I guess the most important part would be to procrastinate on your financial planning. Many people think that retirement (and it’s planning) comes at the age of 50. However, we should all start our financial planning in our 20’s…

  4. Quotes says:

    Hey lazy man. We all fight procrastination from time to time. I find that working to a schedule helps. If I intend to do a task when I get to it, I never do. But if I plan to do a task at 10:30, then at 10:30 I do it.

    I’ll leave you with a quote from William James: “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

  5. I’ve got a story of my own here… Once I ordered a new Nvidia Geforce 2 Graphics Card (those were hot stuff in the day!), and it came dead on arrival. So I got an RMA form filled it out, and just didn’t get around to shipping it forever, and two weeks later when I finally sent it uot, the RMA was expired…there’s $100 out of my pocket. oops.

  6. Mary McK. says:

    Like Quotes, I’m finding that putting everything on my calendar (I use Time & Chaos) has greatly reduced lateness-related issues for me. There are few things more frustrating than discovering I’m paying for my own lack of planning.

    As a good friend of mine recently put it: “Never put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today, because tomorrow might be a mo fo”.

  7. Ann says:

    Thanks for this! After reading the list of tips, I was motivated to finally fill out and send in the rebate form for a cell phone I got last month. That’s $30 more towards the credit card debt. :)

  8. Danny says:

    Yeah, I just missed the postmark date for a $20 mail in rebate. Oops.

  9. plonkee says:

    Thanks for including this.

    My procrastination isn’t really getting any better, although I am remembering to claim expenses. Now if only the company would remember to reimburse me, I’d be away.

  10. mich says:

    I forgot to return a movie to Blockbuster and they automatically charge your card for the price of the movie. Well this movie was part of a set (a television series) so the charge was $65 for the one disc. I could have still returned it within 30 days and got reimbursed, but I didnt do this either. So now I am out. I have not filled out rebate forms for multiple items including $150 for my laptop as well

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