Being Unprepared is Costly

being unprepared

If there’s one I’ve learned in my 27 years on this Earth, it’s that preparation makes life go so. much. easier. I really believe that life is hard enough without being caught in a bad situation just because you didn’t do the heavy lifting ahead of time. I’ve been in situations where being prepared is basic, like actually putting diapers in a diaper bag before you get in the car.

I’ve also witnessed what preparation can do in dire situations, like how my dad had a working radio, generator, and microwave in the midst of Hurricane Katrina. I guess you can say preparation is in my blood. Here are some examples of why it’s important for your wallet too:

1. The Umbrella Principle

You know how stores always seem to have a bucket of umbrellas right by the door when it’s storming outside or those awesome ponchos that make you look like you’re wearing a trash bag? That’s genius, right? They always catch the people being unprepared who didn’t check the weather that day and had no idea it was going to start storming. After 30 minutes of non stop rain, customer after customer plunks down $7 for an umbrella. Before the store manager knows it, he’s had one of his more profitable days in a while.

This is just a small example of a principle that applies in many different areas of life. If you don’t have an umbrella when it rains, you might have to buy one (even though you already own one.) If you are about to run out of gas, you won’t have time to shop around for the cheapest station. If you waited too long to book your flight, prices are going to go up and up and up. Just a little bit of preparation goes a long way.

2. The Organization Principle

We talk about organizing a lot when it comes to money, and that’s because you just can’t have a good budget without keeping your receipts and numbers straight. I’m not saying you have to be absolutely perfect all the time since we all make mistakes, but organization helps you to be prepared and saves you money.

For example, if you prepare your taxes in a timely fashion, you won’t miss out on deductions. If you shop around and get your life insurance squared away nice and early, your family will be taken care of in the case of a tragedy. If you organize your pantry and know what you have in your house, you won’t come home with your third bottle of olive oil (not like I’ve ever done that of course!) ;-) In sum, the more organized you are in both big and small ways the more money you can save in the long haul.

There are other aspects in life when it pays to avoid being unprepared, like really being ready for a job interview or a big speech. All of those things can lead to promotions and more money down the line, so it’s definitely important to prepare for everything.



What are some of the ways you stay prepared throughout life? Can you think of a time that you were unprepared and it cost you (either a lot or a little)? What’s one of the easiest way to avoid being unprepared in everyday life?

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Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer and blogger. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, she enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,

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