Sunday, July 06, 2014

Sweeping the Floor, Sweeping Away Late Fees

Freedom from late fees tops my 14 Declarations of Financial Independence. And I've found one frugal path to financial freedom after sweeping the white tile floors in my apartment. I see money-saving connections between sweeping, bill-paying and late fees.

Daily Sweep

I have to sweep every day or else face increasing tracks of dust and dirt. Likewise, financial management is a daily chore and failure to pay bills on time can leave dirty tracks on my credit record and a trail of expensive late-fee penalties. You can rack up late fees from:

  • Mortgage or  rental payments.
  • Overdue library books.
  • Credit-card payments
  • Utility bills.
  • Cable contracts.
  • Store charges.

Most of us don't plan to create a pile of late fees. But life happens, and any kind of life event or unexpected expense can knock us flat. And it doesn't seem fair that when we're hard-pressed to pay bills, we can also face higher charges in late fees--which makes it still harder to pay. It's a vicious cycle.  But there are money-saving options.

Here's what sweeping taught me about late fees: 

  • Reduce tracks and footprints: One dog owner in my apartment building places red outdoor booties on his dog to cut back on the amount of dirt that his pet tracks into the apartment. Other folks keep a welcome mat by the door or have a ban on shoes in the home. These steps cut the amount of dirt that enters the home from outside. The same principle applies to fees. I can reduce late fees by cutting back on how much stuff or services I track into the home.
  • Sweep often: Household chores like clearing clutter and sweeping floors work best with constant discipline, including clean-and-tidy rituals in the morning and evening. Likewise, financial discipline is more than a once-a-month, weekly or even once-a-day ritual. With moment-to-moment vigilance, I can cut back on fees.
  • Find better tools: I should buy a better broom. My sweeping duties are made more difficult by an older broom and an inefficient dust pan. An electric broom or a vacuum cleaner with useful attachments would make it easier for me to clear away dust from the floor and corners of my home. Likewise, there are a variety of financial apps and electronic tools that can help me track my finances and automate savings.

Day 6 Lessons: I can sweep away dirt, dust and costly financial fees.

______________ Here's how  my book:

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