Monday, July 12, 2010

Why it pays to be sorta organized

Every 10 years, the State Department says we have to renew our passports.  Some people say it's just another way for "The Man" to get our money.  To me it's Mother Nature's way of saying "You're not getting any younger Chicka and let's show the world!"

In May, I heard that the processing time for passport renewals would take forever.   So I went online filled out the application and put it aside to be sent at least eight weeks before the expiration date:  November 16, 2010.  Big pat on the back for being organized, right?  All would have been good, except for the news report I kinda caught last week which went something like this..."blah, blah, blah, passport renewal, blah, blah increase effective July blah."   I figured out the effective date was July 13th.  But I'm still thinking November 16th.  Hmm...not so organized.

So today, I'm home from work getting ready to have glass of wine and relax when it hit's me...It's 6:30pm on the 12th!

Let's see how organized I really am:

  • Passport renewal application - somewhere on my desk
  • Actual passport - it's there too!
  • New passport photos - uh....yeah, I don't have that.
So it's a scramble to Walgreen's for a realistic picture of myself (guys, that means no makeup and a quick comb through the hair).  Then it's a mad dash to the Post Office downtown (because Beth at the State Department said if it's postmarked today, I pay the old rate).  By 7:45 pm, I'm back in my car and my passport renewal application is on it's way (BTW:  last mail pick up in Chicago?  8:00pm)

Now you're wondering why all this to renew a passport?  Well, the current rate (until midnight at least) is $75.00.  New rate effective the 13th?  $110.00.  You can do quite a bit with an extra $35.00.

Lesson learned: It pays be be organized.  However you do it... to-do list (I'm a Franklin Covey girl myself), post it notes or a tickler.  With a little organization the dollars stay in your pocket.

Of course it also helps to read the Announcements on websites.  Had I done this (instead of jumping straight to the application), I would have known about the increase in May and planned accordingly.

P.S.  I'll have a very realistic picture to remind me of this lesson for the next 10 years.

Happy Savings!