A Semi-Comprehensive Financial Checklist For 2011

by David Bakke

Now, you may think from the title of this article that this is coming a day late and a dollar sort. However, I would respectfully disagree. For me personally, financially speaking, the holidays have just wound down and I am also preparing to my taxes for the year. This can be quite a daunting process. But, now is a great time to “take stock” of your current financial situation and to take a look at some things that may save you some money in the coming year.

Therefore, I thought I would put together a list for you of six things that I am going to review in the very near future to ensure that 2011 is as financially successful as it can possibly be.

Find An Interest-Bearing Checking Account

In the past, you’d never be able to find these, but these days, they are everywhere. Consider switching your current checking account to an account that will earn you interest on your account balance throughout the year. Currently, my checking account that I pay my bills out of earns me no interest whatsoever. But, I have another checking account that does bear some interest (actually, it gets me 4%), and I will be switching all of my funds over to that one in the near future.

Modify Dependents on Taxes

Do you currently receive a fat income tax return check? While that may seem enticing, in reality, you are doing nothing more than giving the government a loan on your money throughout the year.  Why not adjust your dependents and/or deductions to ensure that you neither get a lot at the end of the year, nor owe a lot. After all, it is your money.

Review All Bills

A year ago, you may have been using 1500 minutes per month on your cell phone. This year, maybe it’s less. Why not call up your cell phone service provider to see if there is a cheaper plan available? The same would go for your current television channel plan, and so forth. Things in your life change over time, adjust what you spend your money on accordingly.

Expense Ratios

If you are currently invested in an employer-based 401K plan, the expense ratios associated with the funds you are invested in could be eating up a big chunk of the funds you have set aside for retirement. Investigate the expense ratios associated with the funds you are invested in to see if you can’t save yourself some money in this area.

De-Clutter

Especially with the cold weather, now is a great time to clean out your closets. At the very least, you can have the peace of mind of knowing you’re living in a cleaner home, at best, you might be able to find something that you can sell and make some money on!

Reward Yourself!

If you’ve had a particularly good financial year, reward yourself! I wouldn’t go all out, but if you’ve lived a frugal life in 2010, and you have a little gift coming from Uncle Sam—indulge yourself! Buy yourself something you’ve always wanted, and while still keeping your eye on the ball so to speak, you can enjoy the benefits of spending wisely over the past year.

Closing

As stated in the title, this is by no means a complete list. If you have other ideas about things you can do to set yourself up for a financially successful 2011, feel free to add them in the comment section below.

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