Monday, December 26, 2011

Real Resolutions For 2012

Hand.Pen.Paper.DupontCircle.WDC.17sep05Image by ElvertBarnes via FlickrWith the Christmas season nearly over it's time to make some real resolutions for the coming year. I don't mean the typical resolutions to lose weight and eat better. Those are admirable things to aim for but usually fall along the wayside by the end of January. I want you to make some important resolutions that will put some money in your pocket and make life better.

Save more in 2012.

If your not saving enough or at all, it's time to do a better job. Next year the contribution limit for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan will increase by $500 in 2012, to $17,000. Here Uncle Sam is is allowing you to save $42 more per month in your retirement account. Take advantage of this and adjust you payroll deduction when you go back to work in 2012.

Low-income savers whose modified adjusted gross incomes are less than $28,750 for singles, $43,125 for heads of household, and $57,500 for married couples may also be able to claim the Saver's Credit, which is worth up to $1,000 for singles and $2,000 for couples.

If your putting money into a Roth Ira be sure you are putting in the max. Any other money you can save, outside of retirement accounts, can be put into a nice emergency fund.

Related post: Savings Plan Pays Off

Emergency Fund.

Is your emergency fund completed yet? If not why not address it this coming year. The key to staying out of debt is to have that rainy day fund ready. It's a vital part of a financial plan. It should be large enough to cover 3 to 6 months of your living expenses.

Related post: The 4 Ways to a Better Emergency Fund

Reduce Expenses.

It's a good time to go over your monthly expenses. Maybe you have some monthly subscriptions you are paying for that you no longer use. Cancel them.

Reduce your expenses of your cable bill, phone bill, or cell phone plan. Call your providers and see if there are any cheaper plans available. Every time I call my cell phone provider I learn of a reduced plan they are offering. They won't be calling you so it's your job to be proactive.

Are there any ways to reduce your utility cost? Find ways to use less water and electric. There are many new devices that can help you cut back without impacting your lifestyle.
Related post:  How To: Create A Budget

Insurance Bills.

Insurance companies are still competitive in there rates. I recently moved my car insurance to a new provider. I not only saving  $50 per month, I have the rate locked in for the next year. Even your home insurance can be reduced by evaluating the bill. Call your agent and see if you have coverage you may not need. I recently reduced my coverage on a detached storage shed on my property. By not insuring the shed I am reducing my costs by $40 per month.

Related post:  Car Insurance Discounts Are Waiting For You

Make Sure Your Will Is Up to Date.

If you have a will make sure it is up to date. If not then make any corrections needed. If you don't even have a will make it a priority to have it done in January. The best gift you can give your family after you die is an orderly transfer of your affairs.

Have Adequate Life Insurance.

Not everyone needs life insurance. The only reason to have life insurance is to fill a financial need if you die. It may be taking care of your young children, college costs, or paying of a mortgage among other things. Check to see if the benefit is an amount adequate to fill your purpose. 

Make the coming year better than ever by getting you finances in order. Slowly the economy is getting better. Learn the lessons it has taught us and carry them on into 2012.

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