Monday, September 8, 2008

Muda Monday - finding financial wastes

In today's entry, I am turning my eyes to household monetary waste and scouring my bank checking account and see what financial muda occured in July 2008. Many of the seven wastes cost money so I thought I would see the what money is wasted directly. Just like other precious resources, I want to understand and reduce the cash that is spent needlessly. Here's what I found after examining my bank account:


This charge for orthodontic services for one of my kids should have come from a Flex spending debit card account instead of our bank checking account.

2) Financial Management Software: Monthly Service Fee

Neither my wife or I authorized this charge or know what it is.

3) LIBRARY books $26.50

Overdue library books. Ouch.

So, in total there was $136.50 wasted in July. That's enough money to fill my honda up with gas 3 times! Now, I follow Mr. Ohno's tenet and work to eliminate these wastes in August. So, here's my improvements to reduce or zero out these losses for each identified financial waste.

1) This was a simple matter of using a personal debit card vs. the flexible spending debit card when taking my child to the orthodontist. So, I had a conversation to remind my whole family to use this card for trips to the doctor, dentist, or orthodontist. Fortunately, I can recover the $100 but I will spend 20 minutes collecting, copying, filling out, and faxing the proper paperwork and waiting for up to two weeks for reimbursement. In addition, I called the orthodontist office to put a note on the account to remind is to pay with the flex spending account card when we come in.

2) We called the bank and had the charges disputed and added back to our account.

3) Our family is working on a bette system to return books. We are going to sign up for reminder emails for my wife's library account so she gets email reminders of when the books are due at the library.

Waste happens. These days, you have to watch carefully what is wasted and optimize your finances to be a great steward of your finances. It's easy to want more but it's surprising how content one can be when you get the most out of what you already have.

Dan Lafever

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