Starting The New Year Off Right

by Guest on January 6, 2012

Well, it’s 2012 finally. The planets are aligning in a way that will disrupt the electromagnetic orientation of the Earth and destroy life as we know it. At least that’s what the Mayans predicted when they ended their vaunted calendar later this year. But one thing the Mayans didn’t have insight into is your financial status this fall. There is no calendar for that because it’s a constantly fluctuating variable. The Mayans also didn’t have insurance quotes, title loans, low interest credit cards, or any other relevant financial advice. So, to pick up the slack, here are some personal finance tips to help you start the new year off right:

Get started with your taxes now, while you’re sane. They’re coming, as assuredly as death. The Taxman lurks around the corner this time of year, waiting for his spring offensive. If you know you’ve got your work cut out for you fending off the IRS, you should get started now. Not only will you spare yourself the cost of hiring a professional tax filing service, you’re more likely to get money back off remembered deductions.

Write off the holidays. While we’re on the subject of taxes, let’s assume you are a philanthropist and made a charitable, tax-deductible donation during the holiday season. Failing that, you can at least try to write off some gas mileage. Didn’t you talk business during that family drive? I could have sworn you had a lengthy talk with the kids about search engine optimization. And I’ll be darned if you didn’t break down flexible spending accounts for your mother-in-law.

‘Tis the season to be frugal. The spendthrift months of gifting, road trips, plane fare, and big meals are over. Now is the time to reign in your expenses and be financially responsible for a few months. If you’ve checked your bank account recently, you might have found yourself scratching your head…and sobbing. The holiday season is brutal on the checkbook, which is why the best way to start the new year off is cheaply and frugally. Cut out a few sushi lunches, no more shoes, no more apps.

The start of the new year is a time when many people feel stressed out financially. But this is the best time to settle up last year’s expenses and get yourself back on budget. It’s time to start saving money for the future—after all, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

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