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The Cost of Procrastination

Guest post from Rachel of The Purposeful Wife

As busy moms and homemakers, we are always looking for ways to stretch a dollar… right? Here’s a new idea that dawned on me the other day: procrastination can be costly.

Looking to save? Stop procrastinating!

It started with a deal I found on

100 free prints on Snapfish, with shipping as the only cost. There was an entire month to use the code so I put it on my To Do list. And it sat there for the whole month.

But do you think I actually followed through? No — and I missed out on a fantastic money-saving opportunity.

This carries over to the kitchen, too.

I really meant to turn those overripe bananas into bread or muffins that would last us several breakfasts, but I put it off too long and they ripened beyond redemption.

A friend gave me a large container of homemade applesauce, too much for us to eat at once. My intentions were great.

One day I was going to make applesauce pancakes and muffins for the freezer. When that day finally came I opened the container only to find mold growing on top.

Maybe I didn’t have time for extra baking, but even freezing the applesauce in smaller containers would’ve been better than throwing it away. And that would have only taken a few minutes.

Think about your car.

When the check-engine light went on, did you take it straight to the shop, or did you keep driving and end up causing more damage and a higher bill?

Or what about the time you put off balancing your checkbook and ended up incurring a steep overdraft fee? The possibilities are endless, but the bottom line is the same: Procrastination can be an expensive bad habit.

In the book of Proverbs it says: “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Slackness, specifically procrastination in our case, causes rich resources to be wasted. But the hand of the diligent doesn’t miss out on these vital things — she keeps working away, and “makes rich” as a result.

What costly items on your To Do list are you putting off? Do them now, and save yourself money and regret! It pays to act fast.

Rachel and her husband Niall live with their sweet baby girl in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She blogs about home, walking with the Lord, and life as a micro-preemie mom at The Purposeful Wife.

photo credit

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  • Mindy says:

    Happy to see a fellow NEPA resident loving MSM too. I checked out your blog and I’m from C. Summit as well. Thanks for the post!

  • Holly says:

    The ripe bananas can go in the freezer until you are ready to bake with them. Let them thaw out before using them. I find they make the bread a little more juicy.

    • Amy says:

      Yes, I just throw them in the freezer skin and all. I just made some banana bread yesterday. I just defrosted the bananas in the microwave a little (still a little frozen) and it turned out great!

    • Rachel says:

      Good to know!!! Thank you!!!

      • KimH says:

        I used to toss whole bananas in the freezer too but these days I take a few seconds to peel them and then toss in plastic baggies in the freezer. If I want to make banana bread, I have them.. if I want to make smoothies, they’re ready to go.

        A funny that amused me. My step daughter saw me toss bananas in the freezer most of her life.. so after she got married & moved away, she called me one day to ask how long she needed to freeze the bananas before she could make banana bread.. haha.. I thought it was cute.. She laughed when I told her they didnt have to, I just did that cuz they were past prime eating phase & I didnt want to waste them.

  • Becky says:

    Wow. I was checking out Money Saving Mom just now (not for the first time today) to procrastinate on grading a few papers while the little guy naps. Good timing. Now I’m off to grade those papers! (It won’t save me any money, but it will definitely save me stress and sleep later!)

  • Monica says:

    Love this article! It’s so true, “PROCRASTINATION LEADS TO REGRET”.
    I drove around with my engine light on for two weeks before I got an oil change last week.

  • joanna says:

    ugh! this has me written all over it! =( i buy produce thinking i’ll use it. well, usually i do, but sometimes my days don’t seem to have time to get them washed, trimmed, cut up, etc. i have been doing a bit better in this area recently; found that tues. (after grocery shopping mon.) morn. is a wonderful time to pull out those veggies & start prepping them! takes, what 1/2 hr. tops, but yeah, i’d procrastinate about it! no more though! =)

  • Lisa guyer says:

    Such a wonderful reminder! Thank you!!

  • Christine says:

    I make the dr/dentist appts, and take time off at work to get the kids there but I procrastinate when it comes to making my own visits. Just yesterday had cleaning, a yr overdue. It took 2hrs v. normal 30-45minutes, time I didn’t expect to have to take off from work. So I scheduled 2yrs worth of appts before I left the office. Overall I’m really bad at scheduling me time – i either feel guilty (taking time off from work, spending the money, etc.) or i truly don’t have the time to spare.

  • So true. Living a purposeful and intentional life is so important. It not only saves money, but it also saves time, stress, and potentially effects health and relationships, as well.

  • Beth says:

    I seem to have the opposite problem. And yes, it is a problem. When something needs to be done, I do it right away, but many times at the cost of pushing something else off that doesn’t need to be done right away. I spend most of my life fighting the fire that is the immediate concern. For instance, when someone emails me, even though I might be emptying the dishwasher, I feel the need to email right back. The dishwasher gets emptied, but it would have gotten emptied a lot quicker had I not paused three times to do different things. When a good online deal comes up, I will work on getting that deal late into the night and sacrifice sleep to get something finished or complete. Any help for someone like me? Oy Vey!

    • Leighann says:

      I do these things, too! So does my husband. Apparently, it’s a major sign of ADD and ADHD. I’ve got separate issues, but my husband has ADD and he has the most problems getting through tasks because something else “catches his attention.”

      He takes medication and that helps a little bit, but for the rest I have to keep him on task. If we’re cleaning up the house on the weekends, I have to be there to remind him “OK, you didn’t finish cleaning up the kitchen, go back in there and do it.”

      For myself, the only thing that helps is telling myself over and over “This needs doing, that needs doing.” Making lists and lists and lists, and putting them in several places. I’ve got “To Do” lists on my fridge, in the bedroom, in the living room, and on my email tasks. That way I know what needs to be done and it helps me stay on task better.

      When it comes to staying up late, I’m “allowed” to stay up and read (I have horrible insomnia), but at 10 p.m. all electronics go off – no computer, no laptop, no wifi, no phones, no television. When I first started that, I felt some serious anxiety because I wasn’t sure what deals I could be missing, but after a few months that anxiety went away. Now I’m able to go by the philosophy “OK, if I miss a deal, then I just miss it. If I’m not able to get in on it, I wasn’t meant to have it in the first place!” That one should be especially easy for religious folk (it’s easy for me, and I’m an atheist!!) because you believe everything is determined by god….so just go with the idea “If I didn’t get on the deal, god didn’t want me to have it!” 🙂

      • Beth says:

        Thanks Leighann. I have been diagnosed with ADD but I have opted out of meds. I think the lists are a great idea. And since I’m a believer, I shouldn’t ever let myself be consumed with the trivial things in life since there are so many bigger fish to fry. Appreciate you sharing that I’m not the only one like this!

        • Leighann says:

          You would be surprised what a difference medications can make in your daily life. My husband also opted out of meds for a long time, and he was an absolute mess. Now he takes a low dose of a mild medication and he’s an entirely different person (and he’s a lot happier for it!)

          You can always go off medication if it isn’t right for you, but you’ll never know if it will work unless you give it a try. Who knows, you may get on the medication and go “Wow! Things are getting done, I’m so much happier now!” Or you could get on it and go “Things still aren’t getting done, I’m going off this stuff!” You just never know until you try.

        • Andrea says:

          Some people are able to reduce the symptoms of ADD by changing their diets. Might be worth considering.

    • BethB says:

      I do the same thing. What’s helped me is to keep a note pad handy and make a note of things like returning emails, looking up a recipe online, etc.. Then I set aside time each day to actually do those things. It helps me from getting sidetracked.

      Not sure if this is relevant to your problem but sometimes I need to just let messes or tasks sit for awhile. For example, right now I’m sitting at a desk with several paperwork items that need to be dealt with. A tax form to fill out, a business email to send, receipts to be recorded, etc.. Honestly, it’s only 15 minutes of work at the most but I need to force myself to chill. I just spent the last 1.5 hours in the kitchen cleaning and doing various cooking tasks and I’m tired. I have a small bit of time to relax before the pizza crust needs to be taken out of the breadmaker and I need to use it to relax. If I spend that time running around trying to get Just One More Thing done I’ll be exhausted and cranky by the time my husband gets home. I made a note about the desks tasks and they’ll get done Monday morning. They can wait.

  • Tracy Selle says:

    So happy to see I’m not the only one! Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement! : )

  • Leah says:

    I am so guilty of this! So convicted by your post. Thank you so much for sharing, and for the inspiration. 🙂 I definitely need to work on this area of my life. 🙂

  • Filing our taxes! I’m pretty sure we’re getting a refund, which is currently earning interest for the government instead of for us.

  • Honey says:

    Once procrastinated taking care of a filling that fell out of my tooth (which probably could have just been re-filled. By waiting, I had to get a root canal and a crown-that was a painful, expensive lesson learned!

  • Great encouragement – I try hard to sit down first thing each morning and decide what I need to do – it helps keep me on track – even things like “use up or freeze the bananas” go on the list!

  • O. Rivera says:

    I just checked in my snapfish account and I have a 100 credit for 4×6. I’ve had it for about a yr or so and don’t plan on using it. If you can figure out a way to get it, email me if you like.

    • Rachel says:

      Haha wow, thank you so much! I have no idea how that would work though. Anybody have any ideas?

      • Julie says:

        Well, if it’s like shutterfly, you can “share” the pics you want to have printed to O. and send her your shipping address. O. can then order them for you.

    • Wanchai says:

      Snapfish 100 free prints deals some time the shipping cost is killing the deals is sometimes equals when you got deals from Walgreen’s or Target that you can order and pick up and Target just one hr at the store so I let more than my 200 free prints expired. I think I just don’t like to wait .

  • Catie says:

    Oh my! Just today I had to throw out a bag of tangerines because I waited too long to do something about them. All I needed to do was peel and freeze them for smooties. I am terrible at procrastinating about food prep. I just don’t like to do it. I need this to be my ‘frog that I eat’ every morning.

  • I really need to make some breakfast burritos. I have got both eggs and sausage that needs to be used up!

  • Anna says:

    All my bad procrastinating habits in one article! Thank you for the gentle reminder to be a better person <3

    • Leighann says:

      You’re a good person no matter what you do!

      You’re just more organized if you don’t procrastinate as much 🙂

      • Julie says:

        And the more organized I am the more peace I have. And the more peace I have the better my countenance! And aren’t we all wanting a peaceful household?

  • MK Jorgenson says:

    That’s a great line from Proverbs. I’m reading through it and underlining all verses that reference sloth, diligence, etc. and let’s just say…that’s been an eye opener!

    It’s funny how big the mountain of dishes seems until I actually roll up my sleeves and tackle it. Twenty minutes later, I realize I’ve spent a bunch of time thinking about, dreading, and putting off something that could have been done ages ago! Oh, speaking of dishes, mine seem to be gathering near the sink…better hop to it!

    • Rachel says:

      Wow, I’ll bet it is :). That sounds like an excellent exercise! I should give it a try. And I totally hear you about the dishes, they are my “one weakness.”

  • Grace says:

    So true but not what I wanted to hear currently turning a blind eye to everything

  • Jen Smith says:

    You are fabulous!

  • Carol O. says:

    I actually took care of throwing out my overripened produce yesterday and vowed to do better. You are SOOOO right about this. Another topic that I thought of that kind of goes hand-in-hand with this is carelessness. We all have accidents but when it is carelesses that robs us of things of value, that is sad. I often set things down instead of putting them where they belong which means I lose them or they get damaged, which means I have to re-buy them or lose a LOT of time looking for them. I lose time and money this way more often than I would like.

    I found a tip that you can freeze all the little green onion tops (chopped to tiny size) and use what you need in your omelet each morning or on your baked potato each evening. The person who posted it even put them in a re-used spice shaker and store them in that in the freezer. Did up my green onions today!

    • Kimber says:

      Thanks for sharing. I love it! I almost always throw away some of my green onions because I don’t use them fast enough.

  • zora says:

    My mother once said:”Eyes make a pile look big; however, HANDS make a pile smaller”.
    It was spoken in another language, and i did my best to translate.

  • Too true, very good one. For me what was the costliest of my life was my lack of health. I kept putting it off (there’s the procrastination) and then because I was unhealthy I procrastinated on EVERYTHING! Now that I am healthy I rarely procrastinate because I have the energy mental ability to do the things I need to get done right away.

    Thanks for the insight 🙂

  • Miriam M says:

    It’s good to know there are others out there like me. Grace…its like looking in a mirror, lol. My car is on the shop now for ignoring the “signs”. As for the produce, I feel the need to buy 4lbs of bananas just because they were 4lbs./$1.00. Next time I will buy just 2lbs. I have about that much now rippening as we speak, if anyone has a banana bread recipie, please list it here. I would love to make it tonight. I am working on the orginization thing. I used to think if everything was in boxes or if I could walk around in the attic, then I was organized. What I have found is “great deals” that was purchased years ago, still with tags on and receipts in the bags. UGH! I have realized that while I’m c;eaning I get distracted by somthing I found that needs to be organized in another room. This can snowball to the point that I don’t actually completely finish any one room, but have small projects in each room to be done. I can’t wait until spring, let the yard sales begin!

  • Rebecca says:

    I am TERRIBLE about returning library books/rented movies on time. I have no idea why….they can ride around in my car for DAYS and I just don’t feel like stopping (this is completely insane, I know). Then something comes up, they get pushed to the back seat and I really forget about them. I have probably paid enough money in overdue fees/fines to buy the things I checked out for “free” :/

    • Miriam M says:

      We are guilty of this as well. I cut up my Blockbuster card just for this reason. I learned to give myself a reminder EVERYDAY on my phone, on my calendar, on my cmputer..whatever it took until I returned the library books/movies. It helps to place these items right on the dashboard of the car so it is the first thing you see as you are getting in the car. I have had books/movies that I enede up owning because of this. It hasn’t happeded since I have incorperated these techniques.

    • Kimber says:


    • Allison says:

      If I don’t think I’ll get to the library soon (or don’t feel like going), I go ahead and renew the items that are due in the next couple days. Where I live renewing online is pretty easy. I guess this is technically procrastination.. but it helps me consolidate trips and avoid fines.

    • Mrs Price says:

      This is me too. I call it my “donation” to the library to make myself feel a little better. I can pay out a couple hundred dollars a year in fines. I am getting better, but I still need to work on it.

  • Tyler S. says:

    When I don’t get out of bed early, I have to work late, and end up missing out on quality time with friends. It kills me and motivates me to get up as early as I can to get things done!

  • Trina Holden says:

    Good point! *guess I should quit procrastinating on that snapfish coupon now* 🙂

  • Maegen says:

    If you’re tired of bread, I found this banana bundt cake recipe that’s pretty amazing.
    It’s just a box of yellow cake mix, a box of banana instant pudding, a little bit of vanilla, and then some ripe bananas (I think I used three last time).
    It’s amazing-doesn’t taste like a mix at all. I am a huge procrastinator, and yes, I always have fruit in my freezer!

  • Thanks for the reminder! I just sat down at the computer to procrastinate on the English Curriculum I should be writing right now… 🙂

  • Yeah, thanks for your honesty…so true!

  • Patrice says:

    Bummer I didn’t read this a few days ago. I just had to pay $18 at the post office to overnight an Etsy order that I had been putting off until the last minute. 🙁

  • Wow, you could have been describing me! I have been guilty of all of those things 🙁 I need to organize my time better to be able to fit all of these little things into my day.

  • Angela R says:

    Oh gosh, this post is so RIGHT ON. Can I add a few of my own mistakes to her list:

    :: Delaying in taking the books to the library – having to pay a fee.
    :: Forgetting to pay my PO Box fee on time and incurring a $32 new key fee on top of it all.
    :: Waiting until the last minute to prepare my kids’ snack for snack day/gift for the party/fill in the blank here and having to go to the store and buy it last minute.

    This is something that’s definitely been on my mind the last year or so. You know something else that causes money waste? DISORGANIZATION. How many times have I purchased something only to realize much later I already had one, but it had been misplaced? Or misplacing coupons and then missing a deal?

    I could go on and on, but needless to say – this blogger is right.

  • Wendy Jahns says:


    Thank you for this great article and reminder. I visited your blog after reading your article here on MSM, and could not stop my tears after reading your experience in the NICU with your precious baby S. You are a trooper in Christ, and a very blessed family.

  • Ashley L. says:

    Thanks for posting this, I can definitely relate!

  • Nadine says:

    Great article! Here’s another tip: I now pour extra spaghetti sauce into silicone muffin pans and freeze. Then I just pop them out and store them in a freezer bag until I need one. You can do the same thing with chicken broth, and leftover wine can be frozen in ice cube trays and stored in a freezer bag to use for cooking.

  • I am the world’s worst for this! But I know it would make my life so much easier if I just took care of things ahead of time. Everytime I do something important ahead of time to prevent problems later, I’m always glad I did 🙂

  • Wendy says:

    Wow…I can totally relate. I often have good intentions…& then procrastinate (letting myself use the excuse that “I’m too busy” when I know I could’ve made time if I wanted). A good reminder that procrastination never leads to good results!

  • Jackie says:

    This is a pretty huge one: I recently left my job due to a move and procrastinated signing up for individual health insurance because I’m healthy and not planning on getting pregnant anytime soon. Well, when I found out I was pregnant in January and that I had been without insurance for just barely over 90 days, my husband’s insurance company said that I could be added to his plan and they would cover the pregnancy costs…after the 6 month exclusion period was up. So what would have cost us $200/month for a few months if I had signed up right away could end up costing us A LOT more if the baby is born only a few weeks early. Lesson learned and boy was it a harsh one.

  • Ginnie says:

    So it’s not just me???

  • Ugh. Procrastination is my krytonite. I try not to, but I tend to rank things in order of when they have to be done, not by what is most important. God is still working with me on this, thankfully!

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