Can you believe it’s already time to prepare for 2014? I sure can’t! Preparing for 2014 seems like something that we shouldn’t have to worry about now, but it’s actually only weeks away. To prepare for 2014 the easy and smart way, just start early! Simple tips you can do right now will make a huge difference in the year to come, along with your sanity during that time. Check out these tips to prepare for 2014 and you’ll enter the new year with less stress, and a real sense of empowerment that you’re ready to ring in the new year with peace of mind!
1. Make a Budget
I know this isn’t the fun way to prepare for 2014, but it is important and crucial to the year ahead of you. To prepare for 2014 the smart way, make a budget. Plan the first six months of 2014 out right now, depending on what you owe and what you make. Doing so will help you get a hold of your bills as soon as the new year rings in,and also keep you from blowing your tax refund if you can’t afford to.
2. Prepare Your Taxes
While we’re talking about your taxes, now’s the time to get a game plan together about what you need to file them, and to see if you’ll owe anything. Gather all of your documents from last year together, so that when you get your W2 forms or 1099 forms, that you’ll be ready to go. Also check with your employer to make sure your deductions are correct on the W2 file form they have for you. Gather all tax receipts, including charity items, business receipts and expense receipts. If you work for yourself, be sure you have a file prepared with how much you’ve made so you can prepare for what you’ll owe. Be sure you take out all expenses you had to put into your business, and keep up with all receipts.
3. Be Smart with Shopping
If you’ve already blown your budget for the year, then you can’t undo the damage, but you can be smart with your shopping as we approach 2014. Don’t spend what you really don’t need, and don’t buy unnecessary items you don’t need. Be smart with your shopping and you’ll have more money to put towards those bills so you can be debt free one day! That means not charging everything to a credit card you’ll spend the next year or two paying for!
4. Downgrade if You Can
No, downgrading isn’t a fun word. Because that means we have to give up something, right? However, downgrading your cell phone plan, your car, cable, dining out expenses, or even your home can be a great way to enter 2014 in a better financial state. You will likely not miss the things you give up enough to go back to wasting your money on them.
5. Clean Your Home
Another great tip to start preparing for 2014 is to clean! I’m serious, ladies! Start cleaning your home in tidbits now. Take one room a day if you can, and clear any clutter you’ve got going on. Just spending 30 minutes a day each day can help you clear the mess by 2014. Looking at a mess in one huge piece makes things overwhelming, but with any task, checking off one thing a day will make a huge difference in getting it done in no time. Keep up with the dishes daily, the laundry weekly, and clutter daily. Vacuum twice a week at least and clean your bathroom each week. Mop once or twice a week if not more, and dust a few times a week. Sure it seems like a lot, but in small little doses, it takes no time and gives you a clean home to start off the year with.
6. Have a Sale
If you’ve got items you don’t use, you’re not only wasting space, but also money to be made! Sell those items and make some money off your clutter. You can sell on Craigslist, eBay, or even have a yard sale. Doing this not only helps you clean your home, but also takes away excess stress from the clutter which, believe it or not, is real. If you’re not using an item, don’t hang onto it. Sell it and make some money off of it, and use it to put towards an item you need instead.
7. Eat Healthy and Exercise Now
How many people wait for the new year ahead to start “finally making changes” to their health? It’s the best time of the year for gyms, and if you’ll notice, all sales ads run health items on sale during the months of January and February. It’s actually my favorite time to stock up on these items, just because I know this. Just watch and see! Most of the country sees the new year as the time to eat healthy and exercise, but why wait? Start now and you’ll be 10 steps ahead of everyone else, and you’ll look and feel better on New Year’s Day than everyone else too! Plus, doing so only takes the stress off of you, and it doesn’t mean you can’t have a small treat here and there. It’s not about being perfect, but it is about putting action to your words. Don’t promise- just perform!
Do you start preparing early for the new year ahead at the end of each year? What are you doing to prepare for 2014, or what do you think you might start doing now?