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Being Prepared: Oftentimes, It’s the Little Things!

I was headed to the store earlier this week, wanting to get some last-minute grocery shopping in before we were quarantined due to the Coronavirus. It should have been a simple trip – we had most of what we needed, I just wanted some fresh fruit and vegetables. Halfway to the store, though, I remembered that I had given my out-of-town daughter my credit card to pick up dinner over the weekend, and never got it back. Darn!

No worries, though, right? I typically carry some cash, a debit card, and a few blank checks in my wallet, just in case I need to be prepared. But I wanted to make sure, so, I pulled out my wallet and found: $2 in cash; an expired debit card; and no checks. Basically, I was sunk – no way to pay for anything! Thankfully I had discovered this before standing at the register ready to pay, but it was still very unlike me, not to mention very frustrating! And to add insult to injury, when I went home to replenish, I had to plow through my mound of paperwork to find the new debit card, as I hadn’t filed any paperwork for a while. And cash – well, there was none of that hanging around either!

As I was thinking about the frustration this caused, I realized that my experience is also a metaphor for the repercussions in many aspects of life if you don’t take care of the little things when they occur. They can snowball into larger issues that can range from just annoying, to creating a lot of unnecessary chaos at a bad time. Especially in light of today’s world of sudden quarantines, cancellations, and uncertainties, the aspect of not taking care of items along the way can have an even bigger negative effect on the future – and in a much more devastating way than just having an expired debit card at checkout! 

Being the organization guru that I am, I am typically committed to getting things organized and put away, but I admit that I’ve been slacking on that lately. And now I’ve paid the price! I even wrote a series of blogs on it a few years ago, which apparently I need to go back and re-read! One was on organizing incoming paperwork

While this situation was a minor inconvenience, this same lack of organization and follow-through could have much bigger consequences if it were something more important that I didn’t follow through on. Things like saving money for an emergency, or putting important papers away so they can be found at a critical moment only takes a few minutes at a time, but can save a lot of time and frustration later on.

A few key takeaways from this latest adventure:

  • Keep things filed and current, so they’re easy to find. Especially when something unexpected happens, if you know where things are, it’s easier for you or someone else to find
  • Be sure to refill/replace something when you use it. Activate and replace the credit or debit card when it comes, pay that bill (or at least file it somewhere that it will get paid regularly), and file your paperwork on a regular basis.
  • Have a system of regularly filing, reviewing and/or taking action on financial matters. This also relates to saving money – have a regular system of putting money into your savings accounts, so that the money is there when you need it!

This analogy can be used in all areas of your life, but when it comes to the financial aspects, it can sometimes mean the difference between being able to pay for something or not, having a late fee charged, or important paperwork that is hard to find when necessary. A few minutes of your time periodically, can make all of the difference later on!

I guess I know what I’ll be doing during the upcoming weeks of isolation – filing my paperwork!!