The following is a guest post.
Here’s to a happy New Year for you and yours. May it be full of good will and success. But if you’re like me and millions of other Americans, your personal finances need mending in the aftermath of holiday spending. On top of that, the new year brings a renewed need to get your overall financial house in order, as well as re-evaluate last year’s spending habits. As you enter 2012, spend some time focusing on the following personal finance must-dos of the new year:
Getting taxes prepared
Save yourself some trouble in a few months by organizing your taxes now. Take some time to gather up all necessary receipts and other essential paper work. While you can hold off filing for now, it’s wise to set aside all evidence of income and deductions by the end of January.
Shopping around for insurance
Rates are always changing, so before sitting down and compiling your new year spending expectations, shop around for better insurance quotes. Whether it’s car insurance, health insurance, or homeowners insurance, see if you can’t get a better deal to start your new year right.
Selling off old items
The holidays may have meant a new television or other hefty home appliance. Waste no time in selling off the old stuff online or through the classifieds, instead of storing these items in the basement for no reason. It could mean a few extra bucks in the first few months of the year, which is great for paying off that holiday debt.
Paying off holiday debt
This is no doubt the most pressing personal finance issue on your mind right now. Whether it’s increased credit card debt or dipping into your savings, it’s a top priority to get your personal finances back to where they were prior to the holidays. It’s necessary in order to relieve stress, which will help increase the chances of your year getting off to a good start.
Projecting the New Year’s budget
Your most important mission of all during the month of January is to take a few hours and map out a plan for this year’s spending. Crunch the numbers down to the day if possible in order to lower the amount of spending surprises throughout the year. Predict big purchases, and in turn, come up with ways to save for them. Otherwise, you’ll likely to rack more debt up than you pay off throughout the year.
The new year means renewed hope in success and possibility. But it also means it’s time to re-examine your spending habits, organize taxes, and budget for the times ahead. Before January finishes, make sure you’ve taken the time to work on your personal finances. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that the year ahead will be a great one.