Lesson Learned -Warning! Don’t leave these things until the last week of the year!

Lesson Learned -Warning! Don’t leave these things until the last week of the year!

The end of the year is bittersweet.  It is exciting that you might be able to leave behind some projects, aggravating people, stressful work, bad memories and over-whelming responsibilities. On the flip side, a new year brings, fresh projects, new people, innovative work, exciting memories and expanding responsibilities.  So as I write this, it explains why the last two weeks of the year make me feel a little bi-polar.  Excited and eager during part of the day and then CRAP! Anxiety over what I still have to get done and squeeze into 2 more weeks.  And, the truth is that with two weeks left on 2013, only 8 of those days have potential for results (because of holidays and weekends).

So on November 1st, 2014, I have set an alarm on my phone to remind me to do the following things.  By starting this list earlier next year, I feel like I am ahead of the game.

  • Schedule a health check-up.  This way you make it in on the current year’s deductible.  This saves the cost of an office visit, which is about $170.00 out of pocket.
  • Make an estimated quarterly IRS income tax payment, no matter how much money you need to save for Christmas.   This helps to prevent fees and penalties (they can be $1000 to $250) and makes April 15 so much easier.
  • Check first and then file for a real estate tax adjustment.  This requires a visit to the Cook County Assessor’s Office and gets the paperwork done.  I have not done it this year.  I do about every two years.  When I did it in 2011, I ended up getting $360 back for the changes in my real-estate taxes. Totally worth the effort.
  • Call your insurance company and review charges they have rejected, visits/procedures that they challenged.
  • Schedule lunch dates with all your favorite people.
  • Schedule a vacation over the best travels dates for 2014.  I am always too late to take advantage of the weekend of Martin Luther King at a reasonable price.
  • Put all receipts and deductions aside so tax season is easy.  Ideally I give my accountant the year up through November.  Filing early is so gratifying. Plus is t helps you to review your year at a quick glance.
  • Confirm days off, vacation days and required school events that are already posted.  This helps me to find babysitters for the wide range of in-school service days and holidays that sneak up on you.  Not a great way to use your vacation and sick days.
  • Call cell-phone company, cable company, and home/ car insurance companies. Negotiate better rates.  So far, I have lowered my cable $10, got an upgraded box out of it and lost no channels.  I was able to get my cell phone lowered by $100 (although I technically signed a new contract).  This inquiry also got me a $60 credit for some upgrade I never approved and caught while I was on the phone.  My rate improved for my car insurance by $135.00 because I have no tickets or claims.  Keeping my fingers crossed that my home insurance will turn into savings as well.

I am not sure if this blog made you feel better or worse.  Perhaps reading it now will help you get something on the list started before you realize it is Monday, December 30th, 2013 and you really meant to get it in by the end of the year.

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