Would you believe tomorrow is New Years Eve? The year 2016 has come and gone, and if your like most the year brought new challenges, lessons and habits (for good or ill). This time of year, Jason and I usually sit down together and go over preparations, ideas and wishes to work towards in the upcoming year. We can’t always be prepared for EVERYTHING the year has in store, but its good to be as many steps ahead of the issues as we can be. As always, we will be facing challenges and hurdles but rather than waiting to the last minute to address or plan for them we want to start now. Below, we have listed some of those things to get started on before the New Year hits!
1. Tax Time
Tax time is just around the corner (in the United States). Start gathering up any documents you’ll need to file and keep an eye out on the mailbox for forms to arrive.
2. Insurance Plans
New (or changed) insurance plans may change your coverage, co-pay, deductibles and limits of coverage. Take a look at 2017’s policies to make sure no nasty surprises show up.
3. Start January 2017 Budget
Now is the best time to get started on next month’s budget to stay 1 step ahead of your money.
4. Update Calendars/Address Books
We always get free calendars from local mom & pop shops so we keep one hanging on the wall with all of our family’s important days written on it (technology is handy, but sometimes paper is just convenient for a quick glance at what’s coming up.)
5. Home and Vehicle Maintenance
Now that the Holiday season is pretty well behind us, it’s probably a good time to take a look around your home/condo and your vehicles to see if any maintenance is needed. Plugged filters, worn out tires, drafty windows and oil ready to turn to sludge can really make your New Year’s not so happy.
6. Start a List of Goals and Plans for the Year (Start saving and accounting for them now)
As we mentioned above, we sit down and just discuss what we’d like to see happen in the coming year and write it down. We also estimate (to the best of our ability) how much each thing on the list will cost and then we put them into the order we would like to see them or make them happen in.
7. Consider Giving your Time and Resources to a Local Charitable Organization
If you have a lot of extra time that you’re not sure what to do with (most of us don’t nowadays, but there are faster paced seasons and slower paced ones), consider donating some of your time or resources to a local charity. If you have some extra money you can give, they can probably use it but mostly the best thing you can do is roll up your sleeves and give your time and energy directly by working with them face-to-face. This will let you see the heart and mission behind the charity (or the lack thereof, which would be a sign that your efforts are best used elsewhere).
8. Start Making Weekly Meal Plans (if not already, this is a HUGE time savor!)
Seriously, you should really try this if you’ve never done so. By doing this, you can nearly eliminate the time you spend wandering down the grocery store aisles just wondering “What will I want to eat later this week…?” When you have an entire week (or longer) of meals planned out, you can go into the grocery store on a mission for very specific, fresh ingredients and products and leave without destroying your budget. Stick to the meal plan!
9. Organize and De-Clutter
Now that decorations around the house from the holiday’s are probably coming down, it’s likely that now would be a good time to take a look around and see what needs to be organized better, de-cluttered or maybe even sold or donated. The most stuff that we have to tend to, look for, clean around and otherwise maintain the more time it steals from things that really matter in your life.
10. Check Expiration Dates on Food, Coupons, Medicines, Etc
Finally, while we’re thinking about cleaning and decluttering, it also may be a great time to go through any coupons you have and get rid of old ones (many of them expire on 12/31). Also, take a look through the pantry, refrigerator and medicine cabinet. Many products here have expiration dates that should be kept current with. Old coupons are useless, old food can be dangerous/poisonous and old medicine is likely inert or no longer as effective as the manufacturer intended.