25 Things to do to Prepare for the New Year
Every year people make resolutions to change their lives for the better. But far too often these resolutions are broken within weeks of making them. The truth is, it’s hard to stick with anything in life if you haven’t properly prepared for it, and that goes double when you haven’t done your research on how best to accomplish what you want. That's why we've compiled 25 things you can do this year before January 1st comes around so that the New Year will be full of promise instead of disappointment.
Here are 25 Things to Do to Prepare for the New Year:
Take Control of Your Finances
Most people think they're in control of their finances. But when you look at the facts, it's clear that most people are not in control of their money and they don't know how to get out of debt or save for retirement. It's time to take back your power!
Here is a list of 10 things you can do today to start taking charge of your financial life: 1) Track Your Spending 2) Get Educated on Money Management Skills 3) Make a Budget 4) Create an Emergency Fund 5) Find Out What You Owe 6) Save for Retirement 7) Learn about Investing 8 ) Talk with Your Spouse 9 ) Be Smart About Credit Cards 10 ) Get Help from a Professional
You can also focus on merging your accounts at other financial institutions into one location, consolidating debts, refinancing your auto loan and home loan, and opening up savings accounts to better prioritize your financial goals. Put your Rivermark membership to work for you throughout the year.
Review Recurring Subscriptions and Payments
It's hard to know how much you're spending every month. You might have a vague idea, but it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact amount of money that is going out the door each month. The first step in creating a more financially healthy 2022 is knowing where your money currently goes.
Are you paying attention to all your monthly bills that are automated? Recurring monthly subscription services are more common than ever and can add up quickly. The new year is the perfect time to take inventory of all of your streaming services and other subscriptions and decide which ones are a must and which you could do without.
That means reviewing your recurring payments and subscriptions, which might include magazines, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or anything else you're paying for monthly on an ongoing basis. This can often be found by looking at last year's credit card statements or bank statements online - just make sure to check both! If you see any surprises or things that are not necessary (like the aforementioned magazines), cancel them now so they don't sneak up on you later.
Boost Your Savings with A New Budget
It can be hard to save money, especially if you're not sure where to start. But the new year is a perfect time to start boosting your savings with a new budget.
There are a few different ways to create a budget that will work for you, but the key is to find one that is realistic and that you can stick with. One way to do this is by using the 50/30/20 rule. This rule suggests that you break down your expenses into three categories:
-50% should go towards essentials like rent, utilities, and groceries
-30% can be used for flexible spending like entertainment, dining out, and travel
-20% should be saved for long-term goals like paying off debt, retirement savings, or emergency savings
If you're starting from zero and have a hard time finding ways to cut back on your spending, search online for tips and tricks on how to live on a budget. There are lots of helpful resources that can be found with a quick Google search that can help you begin pursuing your savings goals in no time.
However, if that doesn't feel realistic for where you are right now financially, make the necessary changes as slowly as possible. Every little change helps!
Prepare for Potential Disasters or Emergencies
There are a lot of things that can happen in a year, and it's important to be prepared for potential emergencies. That might mean having an emergency fund saved up, having important documents like your passport and driver's license safely stored away, or knowing the contact information for your insurance company.
The new year is a great time to make sure you're prepared for anything that might come your way. Review your insurance policies and make sure you are fully covered in case of an emergency. Update your contact information for all of your insurance policies, as well as for any other important accounts or memberships. Make copies of your important documents and store them in a safe place - preferably somewhere that is not home.
Make Yourself More Organized
Here are some tips to stay organized.
- Plan your day the night before
- Get up and out of bed as soon as you wake up.
- Make a list for the day ahead.
- Set an alarm on your phone or watch to help keep you on track with your schedule.
- Create a home organization system that works for you, like using labels to organize bins in closets or drawers, hanging things from hooks rather than piling them on shelves, etc...
- Use a calendar app or paper planner to stay organized and make sure everything is written down so it's not forgotten!
Get A Document Scanner
A document scanner can be a lifesaver when it comes to staying organized. Instead of having to keep track of physical copies of important documents, you can scan them and store them on your computer or in the cloud. This can be especially helpful if you're prone to losing things or if you need to access your documents from multiple locations.
There are a few different types of document scanners available, so it's important to do your research and find one that fits your needs. Some scanners are designed for scanning thick items like books, while others are better for scanning smaller items like receipts or business cards.
Once you have a scanner, make sure to create a system for organizing your scanned documents. You might want to create folders for each type of document, like bills or receipts. You could also organize your documents based on when they might be needed, like placing health insurance information in a folder with your tax forms for easy access later.
Update and Consolidate Your Contact Information
One of the best things you can do for yourself in the new year is to update and consolidate your contact information. This means gathering together all of your contact information - including email addresses, social media profiles, and phone numbers - and putting it in one place.
This can be a tedious process, but it's worth it in the end. Not only will it make life easier for you when you need to get in touch with someone, but it also helps to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.
There are a few different ways to go about consolidating your contact information. You could create a spreadsheet or database, or you could use a contact management app like Contactually. Whichever method you choose, make sure to update your information regularly as people move, change their contact information, or get added to your contacts list.
Shred Your Documents with A Good Shredder
Shredding your documents is an important way to protect yourself from identity theft. Not only does shredding your documents make it difficult for someone to piece them back together and get your personal information, but it also destroys the document so that it can't be used fraudulently.
If you're looking for a good way to shred your documents, there are a few things to consider. First, you need to make sure that you have a good-quality shredder. A low-quality shredder might not be able to properly destroy your documents, which could leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
You also need to make sure that you're using the shredder correctly. Many people make the mistake of just putting a stack of documents in the shredder and hoping for the best. You need to make sure that you're feeding your documents into the shredder one at a time and that they go all of the way through before removing them.
You should also regularly clean out your shredder so it can destroy more than just paper. Once a month, put some used coffee grounds or hair clippings in the shredder and run them through. This will help to get rid of any food or grease residue that might be inside of it. With these tips, you'll be able to make sure that your identity remains secure while still being able to get rid of old financial information and other sensitive documents.
Set Short-Term Goals for The New Year
Long-Term goals are usually what people focus on when building New Year's Resolutions, but they tend to fizzle out because they don't stick to the plan. In addition to your long-term goal, it's a good idea to set some short-term goals as well. This helps you stay motivated as you work towards your ultimate vision.
To keep track of your accomplishments, try setting a few measurable goals that you're going to work on each week. If you want to lose weight, for example, one of your weekly goals might be eating healthy at least four days per week.
Another way to stay motivated is by working towards a reward for meeting your short-term goal. For example, if you eat healthy all week and meet all of your other goals (like drinking water), then on Friday you could allow yourself some time for shopping or seeing friends. This will make you more likely to stick to your goals and help you achieve them faster.
Sell Unwanted Items Online to Reduce Clutter in Your Home
If you sell your unwanted items online, then you can move them out of your home and into someone else's with a few clicks of a button. This will make your home more organized and less cluttered.
In order to make the most of this idea, you need to list some of the things that you don't want anymore on sites like Craigslist or eBay. You should also be sure to take pictures before listing anything so people know what they're getting.
This is a great way to make some extra money for yourself as well as clear up space in your house that has been taken up by clutter. For some last-minute sell-ables that have been lying around collecting dust, try putting them on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Next Door, and Offer Up.
Clear Out Your Email Inbox and Folders
One of the biggest things that can cause a lot of stress for a person is having an overflowing email inbox. To help prevent this from happening, you can set up filters to automatically move emails from certain people into different folders. For example, you could set up a filter to automatically put emails from your family into a "Family" folder on your laptop and emails from friends into a "Friends" folder.
This way, when you check your email, you'll see all of your important messages at the top while also being able to scroll through some less important messages under them. This will make it easier for you to prioritize what needs attention and be more productive in the long run.
However, in order to accomplish this, you typically need to go through each page of emails on your email client and clean it up. Take a page or two of emails per day and then you'll be able to schedule and set the filters mentioned above.
Boost Your Tax Deductions with Last-Minute Donations
If you're looking for a way to boost your tax deductions ahead of the New Year, then consider making some last-minute donations. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one of the best is by giving to a charity.
When you donate to a charity, you're allowed to write off the donation on your taxes. In order to get the most out of your donation, you need to make sure that you're getting a receipt from the charity. This receipt should include the name of the charity, the date of the donation, and how much was donated.
In order to make things easier on yourself, try to donate to a charity that you know well. This way, you'll be able to tell which donations can be written off more easily.
If You Live in Oregon, Donate $50 To A Political Organization
If you live in Oregon and want to make a difference in the upcoming year, then consider donating $50 to a political organization. By doing this, you'll be able to help support the organization and its efforts.
Plus, when you donate money to a political organization, you can get a direct state tax reimbursement off your taxes (not just a write-off.) This means that you'll be able to get a little bit of money back while also supporting a cause that you believe in.
There are a number of different political organizations that you could donate to, so be sure to do some research first. This will help you find an organization that aligns with your beliefs and values.
Clean Your Home Thoroughly
Another way to start the new year off on the right foot is by cleaning your home thoroughly. This means taking the time to clean all of the nooks and crannies that you may not have had time for before.
In order to make things a little bit easier on yourself, try to break up the clean-up process into smaller tasks. This will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
Some of the tasks that you may want to consider include: sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning the windows, scrubbing the kitchen counters and stovetop, wiping down the bathroom surfaces, and vacuuming and dusting the furniture.
By completing these tasks your home will be cleaner, and you'll also feel more relaxed when you sit down later on to enjoy your clean home!
Don't Give Up on Unfinished Home Projects
When it comes to unfinished home projects, you have two options. You can either hire someone else to finish the project or you can do it yourself. Here are some 6 things that will help you get through your unfinished home projects:
- Schedule out the time to finish the project
- Assign tasks for different days
- Find a nice playlist of music that motivates you
- Shut off your cell phone so you don't get distracted
- Have realistic expectations
- Have snacks on hand to keep your energy up
Start Preparing Your Taxes by Gathering Your Receipts
As you prepare for the new year, it's important to start preparing your taxes as well. One of the best ways that you can do this is by gathering all of your receipts and organizing them into different categories. This way, you'll be able to save time when it comes time to file your taxes because everything will already be in order.
Here are some tips on how you can organize receipts so they're easier to find later:
1) Sort receipts according to type (groceries, medical bills, etc.)
2) Organize by date or category (all January 2021 expenses go together, for example).
3) Group like items together (keep all gas station receipts together).
Doing these three things will help reduce stress during tax season and make the process much smoother.
Stock Up on After-Christmas Sales for Next Year
One of the best things about the after-Christmas sales is that you can stock up on items for next year. This means that you can save a lot of money on items that you may need for the upcoming year.
Some of the items that you may want to consider stocking up on include: wrapping paper, electronic cords and plugs, batteries, stockings, holiday decorations, and even gifts for family and friends.
By taking advantage of the after-Christmas sales, you'll be able to save money while also getting ahead on your shopping.
Establish A New Exercise Routine
A great way that you can prepare for the new year is by establishing a new exercise routine.
This doesn't necessarily mean spending hours at the gym each week. It simply means finding a balance between moving your body and staying active. This includes running, taking the stairs, and doing some light weight training or yoga.
Here's what will happen when you start exercising:
1) You'll feel more energized
2) You'll sleep better
3) Your mood will improve
4) You'll feel less stressed
5) You may even lose weight
6) You'll be healthier!
Change the Oil in Your Car
One of the best ways to prepare for the new year is by changing the oil in your car. This will help ensure that your car is running smoothly and that you don't have to worry about any major repairs down the road. You should be changing your oil every 6 months for full synthetic cars and every 3 months for conventional oil.
You can schedule your appointments out in advance to prevent you from forgetting!
Reach Out to A Friend You've Lost Touch With
It can be tough to stay in touch with all of our friends. However, you'd be surprised at how many people are happy to hear from old friends. If you've lost touch with someone recently (or even years ago), consider sending them a text or inviting them out to dinner. You may find that this reconnection ends up being beneficial for both of you.
Create A January Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan is simple, but you don't have to plan the entire month at once. Take the first week of January and start there. Then when you have it ready, move on to the next week.
- Create a meal plan for that week in January.
- Write down what you're going to eat each day of the week.
- Plan your grocery list based on these meals and make sure you have all the ingredients necessary for every dish.
- Stick to your meal plan! Try not to stray from it too much or else you'll end up eating unhealthy foods that are easy to grab when you're in a hurry or ordering too much GrubHub!
Start Using a Credit Card for Purchases
Another way to prepare for the new year is by starting to use a credit card for your purchases. Credit cards are convenient because they allow you to buy things anytime, anywhere. It's also important to protect yourself against fraud and identity theft.
Also, cards like the Rivermark Cash Back Visa offer a buffer between your family finances and the outside world. Plus, some cards offer cash-back and point-based reward programs. Just be sure to choose a card that fits your lifestyle and needs.
Get A Check-Up at Your Doctor's Office
A much-needed thing to do for the new year is to schedule a check-up at your doctor's office. This will help ensure that you're in good health and that there aren't any underlying issues that you're unaware of.
If you've been feeling off lately or if you've been struggling with some health problems, it's best to get checked out by a professional.
Doctor's appointments can sometimes be expensive, but there are a few ways to make them more affordable. Check with your insurance company to see what services are covered and ask about discounts for paying upfront or scheduling multiple appointments at once.
Make an Appointment with The Dentist
It's important to make an appointment with the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and check-up. This will help ensure that your teeth are healthy and that you don't have any cavities or other dental problems.
The dentist is also a great place to go if you're experiencing any tooth pain or discomfort. Sometimes, the pain can be caused by something as simple as a cavity or an infection.
If you're overdue for a check-up, the first of the year is the time to make an appointment!
Make Sure You Enjoy The Holidays!
It's really important to enjoy the holidays before the new year. You can't get back that time that you lost, but at least you can relish in the memories. It's also a good time to revisit what went well and what didn't go well with your family. These conversations may help lead to solutions for future occasions.
You also have to think about how you're going to spend your days off from work during the holidays! Think of creative ways to spend time with family and friends, or do something special for yourself! This could be a trip somewhere warm, a fun new hobby, or some self-care. If it's going to snow where you live, bundle up and get out there! Get some exercise in the fresh air and enjoy being outside. Just remember to take care of yourself, too!
You can also cross things off your bucket list for the year - just to get a head start on that list!
From all of us at Rivermark, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Holidays can be stressful!
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