The Case for Automating Your Finances or How I Screwed Up!

stress pulling hair out

It’s been an extremely busy time for me.

For the first time in my life, I’m juggling working out of the home full time, freelance writing part-time, taking 2 classes in graduate school (one which has me starting the writing process for my thesis so I can graduate in August) and being a single mom. Occasionally, I even throw in a blog post or two.

To say that my calendar is full would be laughable.

I carry around a day planner, an iPhone with alerts AND a notebook, aptly titled “Mind Clutter” for all things that need to be saved. I do that so I am where I am supposed to be on the right days and I’m turning in assignments, whether they are for a client or school, on time. Unfortunately what I didn’t do, was take notice of the date.

Today is March 2nd and…


This is a big deal! It’s a big deal because there is no grace period and on the second of the month, if you haven’t paid your rent, you are assessed a 10% fee! For me, a 10% fee is roughly the equivalent of one day’s pay if I were subbing.

I just lost a whole day’s pay and I haven’t even worked it yet.

This hurts even more because I’ve had to take off more days than I am comfortable with in February just to get all my assignments done on time (and still some have been late). Spring Break is coming up next month which means, I’m going to lose an entire week’s worth of work as the schools I sub for are all on break at the same time.

Money is going to be even tighter than it has been for the next couple of months as I recover from this. I’m trying not to freak out but it hurts. I was just starting to catch up. I’ve actually had the money in my account for two weeks. I thought about paying my rent a few days ago but then it just completely slipped my mind.

Automating your finances is so important but I haven’t done it in the past. I never knew when I’d have enough money in my account to pay a bill and I didn’t want to overdraft my account when a bill came due before a paycheck was received.

I’ve started automating things in recent months. I have most of my bills set up to come out automatically but for some reason, rent wasn’t done.

And because of that, I’ve lost a very large chunk of money (to me). I don’t have the reserves to fall back on just yet so it hurts.

If you aren’t automating your finances, I suggest you do that. If you are in a situation like I am in where you are never sure if you’ll have enough money to pay a bill, it’s time you do something to fix your life. Make the changes you need to make to avoid mistakes like I’ve made.

I’ve always shared my stories so that others could see themselves in me. People don’t talk about the money mistakes they make very often because they are ashamed to admit it or afraid someone will judge them. I’m not ever going to judge you. I learned from my (most of them) mistakes but not until my mid-30s. I don’t want that for you or for your children. No one should have to worry about how they are going to pay their bills next month, next week or the next day.

I personally can’t wait for the day when that will be me!

For now, I’m going to request that my apartment complex give me a credit for this month’s late fee since it is the first time I’ve done this. I set up automatic payments for rent. And I’m going to hustle during March and April to work every day that school is in session.

I’m also going to seek out some more writing opportunities. I’d like to increase my writing so that I can work at home more (and sub only 3 days a week). If you or anyone you know needs some writing done, I’m your girl. My rates are very reasonable.

Dave Ramsey calls this a “stupid tax,” have you ever had to pay one? What was it and how did you make sure to avoid it in the future?


Image Credit: brianna.lehman

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9 comments for “The Case for Automating Your Finances or How I Screwed Up!

  1. March 4, 2013 at 12:00 am

    We’ve paid more than one ‘stupid tax’ when we didn’t get the credit card bill paid in time. Since we always pay it off in full, we’ve generally only had to cough up a $25-35 late fee…but that pretty much wipes out any cashback we got. And makes me feel really foolish, as well. Ouch.


  2. March 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I actually just started automating my finances last month. I had been aggressively paying off my student loans and never thought of automating till my debt was paid in full. Now I that I have done I hope to start doing all the budget stuff. Since you have never been late before I doubt they should give much of an issue.
    Kevin Watts recently posted..Learning for Earnings – Highest Paying Degrees


  3. March 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    10%? oh my god, that`s an awful price to pay. I can understand that you`re feeling overwhelmed, but hopefully this will be a reminder you`ll never forget!


  4. March 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    for some reason, this site had my last blog automatically signed in, so don`t pay attention to my blondeonbudget link, I don`t write there anymore:-)
    The Norwegian Girl recently posted..Be SMART about phone use and SAVE money


  5. March 7, 2013 at 9:12 am

    This is why my phone is set to go off 3 days before any and everything is due. I rather pay early than late. Especially since most companies let you pay online with a card and that usually takes time to process if you pay after a certain time of the day.


  6. March 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    This is why I’ve got my mortgage payment automated – and have from day one! I don’t trust myself to remember to write that check every month, whether I’ve got the money or not.


  7. March 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I’m generally pretty forgetful, so I have set up automated payments for all the regular expenses I can. I got the BillTracker app about a week ago – still getting used to it, lol, but it seems pretty good. There are quite a few different apps that will help you avoid these kind of late fees.


  8. March 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I have been there before. You are so tied up with everything going on in your life with school work and other projects that you just don’t seem to find mental space for some of essential responsibilities and you just always remember about them when its too late. I’m sure you will figure out what to do about the Spring Break situation. Best of luck!!!


  9. March 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Awwwh, that stinks! 10% sounds horrible, but hopefully this was a sad lesson that you will learn from and make the best of. Best of luck!


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