Serious Lists ideas - Clever Cactus

5 Serious lists you should keep

Recently, I wrote about lists you should keep all year long. These lists covered enjoyable things, like books to read and movies to watch. You know, happy lists! This week, I’m sharing a few lists that are a bit less fun, but even more necessary. I’m calling them my Serious Lists.

Here’s why you should have a few Serious Lists.

About a week ago, I went and bought a new pair of headphones … and was caught by a particularly good salesman who convinced me I needed the $5 warranty. (Foolish, I know, but he was very convincing.) I got home from that adventure – a little miffed at myself, but proud I didn’t let him convince me to change my internet provider, too – and realized that I had no record of all my active warranties.

Cue a two-hour-long session wherein I found all the details I could about my warranties.

Why is this important you ask? Well, I tend to forget that I paid money for warranties. Or that they’re there for me to use if something happens to my more expensive purchases. Our laptop, for example, is only a year old and has been acting up… so I should be able to make use of my four-year warranty, right?

Maybe someday I will.

But knowing I have the warranties is the first step. Finding all of these details reminded me of a few other things I’ve been haphazardly tracking. Since I can’t be the only one with bits of information and details strewn about their brain and office, I thought it might be helpful to make a list of all the Serious Things we need to keep track of, as Adults.

So, let’s dive in.

Warranties & Purchases

First of the Serious Lists? Warranties and Purchases (naturally). Keeping a note or record of when you purchased something – especially if it’s expensive and not easy to replace – will save you when the item inevitably breaks. This might be within the warranty timeframe, which would be ideal of course. And it might be three, or five, or 10 years from now. Either way, when it does break (because nothing lasts forever), you’ll have the purchase date, purchase location, receipt and etc. right at your fingertips.

If it does break within the Warranty timeframe, you’ll have the warranty information – who to contact, warranty number, all that jazz – readily available. It takes the stress out of having a broken big ticket item.

Suggested List-Making Method

Here’s how I set up my warranty and purchases list:

  1. Create a new document (Word, Excel, Sheets, Pages, whatever works for you)
  2. Make a chart with the following headings:
    Date Purchased
    Warranty Expires
    Optional: price
  3. Fill out the chart with all your active Warranties
  4. Save that file somewhere safe. Then print it.
  5. Put all receipts and warranty information in a folder.
  6. Attach the printed chart to the front so you can easily reference it.
  7. When you purchase new Big Ticket items or an item with a warranty, update the chart on the front of the folder.
  8. When the warranty expires, cross it off the chart on the front of the folder.
  9. Once a year, update the document on your computer and print out a new copy for the folder.

Important Details for Doctors, Mechanics & Other important people

Pretty obvious why this is important – you need to know who to call when you have an emergency. I don’t just mean a medical emergency either. I mean, any emergency. So don’t just include your doctor and emergency contact (though those should be at the top of the list).

Below are my suggested people to include. This is by no means a complete list. I’ve listed everyone I could think of, for every variety of emergency my brain can imagine (and that’s quite a few). Hopefully this will get your mind going so you can add the ones relevant to your life.

Suggested People to Include

In a document or even at the front of your Clever Cactus planner, write the contact details (name, phone number, address, etc.) for the following people:

  • Medical professionals: GP/Family doctor, any specialists
  • Dental: Dentist, orthodontist, any other specialists
  • Optical: Optometrist, eye store place
  • Medicine: Pharmacist, any other places you get your drugs
  • Vehicle, if applicable: Mechanic, dealership if applicable
  • Home: landlord/building manager OR mortgage broker
  • Childcare, if applicable: daycare, school
  • Insurance, if applicable
  • Bank: mortgage broker, investor, bank
  • Work: employer, employees, any special notes
  • Lawyer, if applicable: including who has your will!
  • Vet, if applicable

Accounts & Passwords

Keeping a full list of all your accounts makes it a lot easier to see where online you have your personal information, credit card details, etc. There are three main reasons why I think this is an important Serious List to keep.

  1. If there’s ever a cyber breach announced in the news, you can refer to this list to see if you had an account with the hacked parties.
  2. If you move, you can easily see which places online have your address and update it.
  3. If your credit card expires and you get a new one, you can see which accounts need the update information.

I’m pretty sure there are more good reasons to keep a list of Accounts somewhere; those are my top three.

The flip side to this is your passwords. I do NOT suggest keeping your passwords and information anywhere you can easily find them. But I do think you should have a way to access them if you’ve forgotten it, or for a loved one (someone you trust completely) to find the details if you’re unable to.

Suggested way to make these lists

For your accounts, I suggest creating a document with all the websites, plus a list of which details you’ve given them. So, for example:

  • Indigo/Chapters – name, email, address, credit card.
  • Gmail – name
  • Bank – name, phone number, address

Print this out and stuff it in your Tax folder or someplace you’ll be able to find it.

For your passwords, I fully advocate the use of a password manager. Seriously. If you don’t have one, get one. They’re amazing. Most if not all have integrations for all devices and browsers, so you can easily access your passwords on the go. My mom has one with a cute bear mascot… I use one provided through my antivirus program. They’re easy to set up – though a bit time consuming at first, if you’ve got a lot of accounts.

Active Contracts

Adulthood seems to be all about contracts. So of course information about your contracts is part of the Serious Lists! Whether it’s where we live, how we communicate or how we get around, we need to enter into agreements with everyone. Keeping track of what it is, when you started, how long it is for, and any costs/payments associated with it helps you manage your finances, expectations and more.

Suggested Contracts to List

Here are a few ideas for what you can put in this list:

  • Mortgage/Lease Agreement: start date, end date, rate
  • Phone, Internet, Cable: start date, bill date, rate, what’s included
  • Hydro, Gas: Start date, rate, bill date
  • Work contracts: Start date, end date, rate, job description
  • Car leases: start date, end date, rate, oil change date…
  • Car registration and licensing: start date, renewal date
  • Software contracts: purchase date, renewal date
  • Subscriptions & Memberships (TV, gym memberships, magazine or reading, etc): start date, renewal date, rate, what’s included)

Other Serious Lists You Can Keep

There are some Serious Lists that not everyone needs, but some people do. For example, if you require different medications, you will need to keep track of what they are, when you need to take them, how many refills, any side effects, etc. Someone who travels a lot (for business or pleasure) might benefit from a “travel documents” list, which they could check to make sure they have everything before each trip.

I’ve brainstormed some “not for everyone but might help someone” list ideas. Take a look and feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!

Suggested Not-for-Everyone-But-Might-Help-Someone Serious Lists
  • Medication & Prescriptions:
    What they are, when you take them, possible side effects to watch out for. (This includes your vaccinations – pretty sure at one point I had a vaccination passport for every shot I’d received as a child. I don’t have it anymore because, well, things happen.)
  • Moving List:
    People to contact with your change of address (so really, the Accounts and the Important Contacts lists above) plus WHEN you need to contact them prior to your move so you don’t lose service or get charged extra.
  • Friends and Family:
    Let’s face it, our phones don’t last forever. If you lose your contact list, you lose everything (at least, I do). So keeping this in a hard copy format gives me peace of mind.
  • Travel documents list:
    What you need to have to travel. Basically a checklist you can consult easy-peasy like.
  • Vehicle folder:
    Okay, this isn’t a list, more like a folder, but I realized when I wrote “Car leases” in the section above that it might be better to just put all your vehicle related details in one folder; that’d include:

    • Lease details
    • Mechanic’s details
    • Dealership’s details
    • Registration information
    • Licensing Information
    • Insurance information
    • Any other documents or information pertaining to your vehicle.
  • Home folder: same deal as the vehicle folder, only for your home.
  • Taxes:
    I do my own taxes every year. Not sure if that’s wise, but that’s for future me to think about. I keep a check list of everything that needs to be collected, organized and completed in order to file my taxes. It helps take some of the stress out of doing my taxes, an already stressful event.
Happy List Making!