It’s that time of the year again! November and December is when I get in full-on planning mode to tie up loose ends from the current year while prepping for the start of the upcoming year. Getting these tasks out of the way always feels good.
Here are the top 5 tips to keep in mind
1. Review finances, expenses, annual contracts
- I review checking accounts and credit cards. Two biggies this year were cable/internet and Amex points. I called Spectrum and ended up getting an upgrade on internet service PLUS saving $40 per month on overall service. With Amex, I had $1800 worth of points which I applied toward my next monthly bill.
- I also reviewed all annual subscriptions to make sure I wanted to maintain them and if not, I opted-out of automatic renewal, e.g., Citbike.
- At the end of the year, I always review my spending by category and make adjustments where necessary. I’m aware that my two indulgences are eating out and travel. Neither is problematic for me since all my other expenses are minimal.
- I have done a monthly spreadsheet of my personal expenses and my credit card spending for the last 10 years which has given me a clear picture of my spending. And as much as I love eating out, I will scale back if I see I’ve gone overboard.
- I am also the treasurer of our co-op and do a spreadsheet for the building every month as well.
- I know – to a penny – where the money goes.
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- Decluttering and organizing. I wrote about this previously. A must-do on an annual basis and definitely one of the more satisfying household tasks.
- Additionally, if you’re planning to donate any items, it’s good to get it done now for tax purposes.
3. A shopping list of items needing to be replaced
- This goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. As I organize my closets, I always make note of items that are in disrepair, worn out or just crying out to be replaced, e.g., non-working light fixtures, frayed towels, flat pillows.
- I also use the opportunity to toss anything that is unfixable or no longer relevant to my lifestyle, e.g., ashtrays. The only items that I cannot bring myself to discard even though I never use them are my copper pots and pans. They’re so heavy but look so amazing.
- A good time to replenish household items is in January when stores hold their post-holiday sales.
4. Update profiles and other documents
- Update all my social media profiles, e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
- This includes bios as well as new profile pics.
- Review other apps for accuracy, e.g. Venmo, Zelle, Resy, etc.
- And finally, the accounts I rarely use, e.g., Pinterest either get an update or canceled.
5. Set reminders for routine appointments and renewals
- Calendar all my annual/bi-annual/monthly appointments and renewals, e.g., dentist, medical checkups, flu shots, eye exam, hair color, keratin, botox, pedicures.
- I also check for renewal dates for my driver’s license, passport, green card, CDs and IRAs.
- Museum memberships are a special case. Unfortunately, they’ve gotten really scammy about sending renewal notices when you still have a whole year left on your membership.
Setting goals (financial and otherwise) has been a lifelong passion of mine. It’s in my DNA. And it’s served me well.
Few people I know are quite as organized as I am but it feels very satisfying to me. The world might be chaotic but my little corner of it is in perfect harmony with a place for everything and everything in its place.