As 2024 has kicked off, I’ve been spending some time reviewing my personal finances and doing some clean up to start the year. I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve been doing and perhaps it can help you too.
1. Get a quote on your current auto and home insurance policy. It never hurts to compare costs across several insurance companies and make sure you’re not overpaying. You can use an online comparison tool or talk to an independent insurance agent. While you’re at it, make sure your coverage is adequate – especially as home values have taken a big leap in recent years. And don’t chinch on your liability coverage - an umbrella policy is cheap protection. Lastly, make sure your deductible is as high as you can reasonably afford to keep your premiums low.
2. Take a look at your life insurance policies and your disability policies. If you’re approaching retirement, your need for both types of insurance is much less. On the flip side, if you’re still 20 or 30 years from retirement, make sure your family is adequately protected. While I’m the first to say that disability insurance isn’t cheap, your income stream is your most valuable asset, and it needs protection. Life happens…to all of us.
3. Check your cell phone plan – costs creep up as they add more and more options to the array of services we can purchase. Are you paying for unlimited coverage but not really using it? Or conversely, going over your data limit each month and getting costly overage charges? Your service provider can help you figure out the most cost-effective option.
4. Review your credit card statement for monthly recurring charges and decide if you really still use those services – they can range from streaming services to membership sites and mobile app subscriptions, and it’s easy to forget who you’re paying for what. It’s like finding free money!
5. While it’s cold outside it’s a great time to catch up on your filing and organization, boxing up closed account files, and shredding old documents including tax returns older than 3 years. (The 7-year rule only applies if you claimed a deduction for a worthless security or bad debt. And of course, if the IRS claims fraud, then the statute of limitations is unlimited)
I don’t know about you, but there’s just something satisfying about starting off the year with organized closets and organized finances. And then you can think of something fun to do with the savings you discovered!