If there’s one rule you take away from this site, just remember the name of the blog every time you’re thinking of buying something… But fortunately there isn’t only one rule…
My second-favorite rule is to “pay for” things. When I buy things, I “pay for” them. I don’t make payments.
If I charge the item on a credit card, I pay off the card when or before I get the bill. And, of course, I pay my rent early. I typically do it because I just can’t stand owing people money. I also refuse to pay any new interest.
Anyhow, onto my point….
Two things inspired this post. The first: I usually go to the ATM machine and take out a few bucks on Monday morning when my cash gets low. A couple of weeks ago I was in a rush to get to work, so I skipped the ATM with only four bucks in my wallet. Not a big deal, usually. That day it was pretty freakin’ annoying…
At 1pm I get an e-mail from a coworker.
Your Girl Scout cookies are in. You owe me $12. I’ll come down in a few minutes to bring you your cookies and pick up the money.
I replied: I haven’t made it to the ATM yet but I’ll try and head out in a little bit.
An hour later, a different coworker pops into my office.
You have the $12 for ‘Sarah’? She wants to come down but didn’t want to come down if you didn’t have her money yet.
Me: Nope. I haven’t made it to the ATM yet today. I’ve been working on finalizing something all day and haven’t even left my office yet. I’ll try and hit up the ATM this afternoon. Does she really need it this afternoon?
Coworker: Not sure. She just asked me to pop in.
Me: I’m really sorry. I’m not trying to be difficult. I just really need to get this project done and haven’t been able to get to the ATM. If there’s a reason she needs the money fast I’ll stay late to finish the project and will run across the street now. But if it can wait I would appreciate it.
Coworker: OK. She just asked me to pop in.
Me: No problem. Just let me know.
Two hours later I got an e-mail asking if I made it to the ATM yet. I politely replied, “No, sorry. I’ve been chained to my desk,” and quickly got a reply saying “OK. You can get them tomorrow.”
What’s my point?
Technically if I just had $12 in my wallet it wouldn’t have turned out this way. But this is the type of conversation and distraction that you deal with if you owe money. And I don’t owe any money other than my rental property and student loans, so this was particularly annoying…
I mean, I ordered 3 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that I didn’t even want just to be polite (plus my wife and son like them…). Two months later I get a random “got my money?” e-mail and then two other interruptions.
(Incidentally, if I ever need money collected I’m hiring this woman – I mean, it felt like someone collecting a payday loan! I actually stopped the project and got her money that day (but she had already left, so my cookies didn’t get released from the impound until the next morning…))
But why am I writing it here?
Short answer: It’s my blog, so I can write about whatever I want
The actual answer is the second thing that inspired this post:
I was in the grocery store this weekend looking for a greeting card and got another reminder about why falling behind doesn’t pay. The store has an entire section of 89 cent cards. They’re a bit “smaller” and just paper with pictures and writing. They don’t play songs or have glitter or holes to stick your fingers through and pretend you’re a Radio City Rockette. But they’re cards. And they’re 89 cents.
That is… all except for one. See the pic up at the top of this post? Actual pic from the aisle. The “belated” cards were $1.39! That’s right. Miss a holiday and “they” know they have you by the *ahem* neck… So you get to pay 56% more!
Pretty funny, right? I mean seriously – pretty brilliant business move, right? You know… taking advantage of less price sensitive buyers…. Although I’m not sure why you couldn’t just buy a regular card and write “sorry I’m so late, but I hope you had a great… whatever” on the inside.
(Tangent alert: I don’t get greeting cards. Does anyone but my wife send them anymore? I’d much prefer a phone call or simple handwritten note if you want to be really nice. But she likes sending them and we get a ton for free, so we send them. Every once in a while we pay for them and this weekend was one of those times. Plus, stores have so many aisles dedicated to them that they must be money makers…)
So there you have it. Two stupid, irrelevant stories that illustrate one important point: Just pay for the crap you buy, ok? Aside from avoiding interest and finance charges, staying ahead can save you over 50% on greetings cards, haha! And let me tell you, being unorganized was definitely my biggest money waster historically and getting on a budget and taking a no new interest pledge has left my life nice and simple… that is, until I ticked off the Girl Scouts….
Has being unorganized cost you? If so, one great way to avoid falling behind is to sell the crap that you’re making payments on. Hard to miss a payment when you don’t have any!
And please, Please, PLEASE don’t ever fall behind on Girl Scout cookie payments! Those girls have some pretty fierce collectors!
Until next time, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!
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