Expert: Key to saving money is to stay organized

HOUSTON From the kitchen to the bedroom -- even when you run errands -- if you are disorganized, it may be costing you money. But by planning and getting rid of the clutter, you could end up saving money.

"Being organized has changed my life immensely," Tina Sabuco said.

It's the gift that keeps on giving -- that's what Sabuco says of her personal organizer Andrew Mellen. She was given his services as a birthday gift four years ago. Since then, she has been working with him and her life is clutter-free.

"I think the best way that I save time and money is that I know where everything is, everything is organized," Sabuco said.

"Without proper planning, you are always at the mercy of chaos, and with proper planning you actually are in control of your day," Mellen said.

When it comes to the biggest waste, Mellen, author of Unstuff Your Life, says it's usually in the kitchen.

"If you don't have a plan for what the week looks like, if you are not shopping smart with a shopping list, you are going to get lost and you're going to end up stopping to get fast food or running everybody to a restarant," he said.

And that can be a costly mistake. A typical trip for a family of four to a fast-food restaruant costs about $20, at a restaurant about $40.

"Proper planning will ensure that you are always saving money," Mellen said.

So here are some things you must do when it comes to meal planning.

Know what is in your fridge by storing "like" items with "like" items, such as prepared food in one location and vegetables in another. Do the same thing in your pantry.

As you already know, shopping with a list at the grocery store will save you money, but you must also make a weekly meal planner to know what to buy.

When it comes to running errands, Mellen says have an errand basket near the front door.

"When you come across the mail that needs to go out, or the package that needs to be returned, a library book, the dry cleaning," he said.

That way you can run all your errands you need to make in one trip, saving gas money and time!

"If three of the things you have to do are in the same neighborhood, gang them together and do them all at the same time," Mellen said.

When it comes to organizing your closet, color-cordinate your wardrobe so you can easily find what you are searching for. That way, you don't waste money duplicating clothes you already have.

As far as accessories, be creative. Sabuco used a piece of fabric against her wall to see everything she owns.

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