How prepared are you for the coming year? You may have made several New Year resolutions but life in general may still seem as hectic as the holidays. Here are seven steps to help you start this year on the right track.
Check your gift cards and organize returns. The holidays have just passed and it is common to receive gift cards or gifts that do not work out. Check any gift cards to see when they expire, if registration is necessary, or if the card discounts over time. Make a plan to use them because it could happen that the retailer is no longer in business if you wait too long. It is too easy to let returns and gift cards slide until it is too late. Take care of your returns or gift cards in a timely manner so you can put them to good use.
Clean up the clutter. The New Year is a great time to go through your home and clean out items that you never use. If you haven't used something in a long time, you probably never will. Donate useful goods to charities to help other people and be sure to get the receipts for future tax returns. You may even find things you have been searching for while cleaning up.
Organize your papers and receipts. April 15th will be here before you know it! Organize your papers and receipts for your bill paying and income tax return. Be ready so that if you have taxes coming back, there is no delay.
Review your budget. Plan next year's finances now so you know what you will be able to afford during the year, such as a vacation, a new appliance, or that upgrade you want. If you are making monthly payments for services you do not use and/or do not need, cancel them. See if there are bills to combine into one payment. If you have credit card debt, figure out how you can pay it off.
Review all your policies. Once a year you should review all the due dates of your policies - renter's insurance, car insurance, life insurance, warranties, etc. January is a good time to do this review. If you still do not have renter's insurance, then set up a policy as soon as possible. There are no funds or programs to replace your contents during an emergency or disaster except renter's insurance.
Check your smoke detector/alarms. Start this year's safety program by checking all smoke alarms. If a device is not working, replace the batteries. If it is still not working, then report it to your property manager immediately. Remember to continue this throughout the year - this can save your life.
Review emergency procedures with everyone in your residence. If you have not prepared emergency procedures for your household, do it now. It is important that everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency or disaster. If you already have one, review it with all everyone in your residence once again and make sure the procedures are still applicable.
Start the year with these positive steps and have a safe and successful New Year.