The end of the year is steadily approaching and we shall soon be embarking on a new year. But before this one winds down and comes to an end, there are a few things you should add to your to do list before the ball drops. Here is your checklist of ten things that you need to do before the end of the year to keep you healthy, happy, and safe.
Check financial records and update address for W2′s:
Once the new year begins we will be headed into tax season, so if you have not already done so be sure to update any of your records with current or former employers so that you will not miss important end of the year paperwork including those W2′s that you will need in order to file your income tax and other important documents during the coming tax season.
Also, do not just assume that if you did not move during this past year that your records are necessarily correct with the personnel office. Database moves or account updates can sometimes result in some one entering your information in incorrectly and even a small typo on your address could mean that your tax forms get lost or misdirected. So take a moment to double check all of your account information with your employers, banks, etc. to insure that the information that they have on file is indeed up to date and error free.
This is also a good time to review your financial records to see how your accounts were performing over the last year and what adjustments you may need to make in the coming year. You can double check to see if you have any savings bonds or cd’s that may be maturing in the coming year or reevaluate your current investments or retirement plans to see if they need to be adjusted for the new year.
Weatherize Your Home:
Before the harsh winter takes full force be sure to weatherize your home by sealing gaps and drafts, repairing faulty thermostats, replacing broken or single paned windows, etc. Having your home properly weatherized will keep you family toasty in the cold weather months and save you money on heating costs.
Change fire extinguishers and smoke alarms:
Nothing is more important than your safety and that of your family. Having properly installed and functioning fire extinguishers and smoke alarms is an essential part of home safety and there is no better time to take inventory of these fire safety items than now. It is also a good idea to check for loose wiring or to take care of escape routes such as fire ladders for upstairs windows or to check for properly functioning fire escapes.
Make annual check-up appointments:
If you are long over due for your yearly check-up appointment with your health care provider now is the time to take care of it and get caught up so you can face the new year knowing that you are either in great shape or that you are on top of any potential problem. This can also help in setting some of those personal goals for the coming year. For example, if your blood pressure is a bit too high then you might want to set weight loss goal or find ways of reducing stress. If your cholesterol numbers are not where you would them to be then one of your goals for the coming year might be to change your diet to avoid unhealthy, high cholesterol foods and to get more healthy, anti-oxidant and low fat foods to improve not only your cholesterol levels but your over all health as well.
Have car serviced:
Just as it is important to keep yourself in good running order, so do you need to keep an eye on your car. This is a good time to make sure that you are up to date on all of your needed maintenance for your automobile such having your spark plugs checked and getting an oil change if you are over due.
In addition to regular standard maintenance you will also want to take this time to make sure that your car or truck is properly weatherized and will not be a safety hazard for you and your family in the coming winter months. Check your tires for good tread or get snow tires if you live in an area where you expect to be driving in snowy winter conditions. Purchase chains, check the anti-freeze levels, and make sure that you have an auto first aid kit for winter. Your auto first aid kit should not only include your standard first aid supplies such as bandages, etc. but should also include safety reflectors, jumper cables, and thermal blankets to help keep you and those traveling with you warm should you become stranded in the cold weather.
Take a home inventory and update your insurance.
Another task to undertake each year is to update your home inventory and check on your current insurance coverage. It is a good idea to keep an eye on your insurance from time to time to make sure that your premiums are up to date, that you have the latest paperwork that you will need should you ever have to file a claim, and to make sure that the coverage your are getting is adequate for your needs. If you previously had a larger policy based on out standing debts that have been paid or property that you have since given away or sold then you may be paying for more coverage than you actually need and likewise if you have replaced old, out dated equipment or required new items your current coverage may not be adequate so take a moment to review your current insurance policies not only for your property and automobiles but any health or life insurance policies that you may have as well.
Take a health inventory and create goals for the new year.
Weight loss and health related goals rank among the most common of New Year’s Resolutions. If improving your health is one of your top priorities this coming year, then start by taking a self inventory of your health and life style. Look at your diet, the amount of exercise that you get, and any recommendations or insights that you may have gotten from your health care provider during your yearly physical and decide what is work for you to have a healthy lifestyle and what is not. Then you can set some obtainable goals for the the new year to help you be healthier and feel better. And do not forget to include mental health areas as well including an evaluation of your stress levels.
Set a yearly budget.
Before you begin to make merry and ring in the new year, be sure that you know exactly where you will be financially in the coming year so take a brief moment to review your current budget and to see if you need to make any changes in the coming year. And for a great way to help boaster your savings, if you have received a raise for the new year, maintain your old budget as if you were not making any extra money and then put that extra cash flow into your savings so that you can be prepared for an emergency or unexpected cost that could arise.
Update your address book.
While you are sending out those holiday greetings you have a great excuse to update your contacts. Double check not only the addresses but you may want to make sure that you have current phone numbers and email addresses for any friends and relatives who may have moved or changed jobs recently resulting in a change of their contact information.
Have an emergency planning meeting with your family.
An important part of safety for your family is emergency planning. Does everyone in your family know where to meet in case of an emergency of natural disaster? Is there an easily accessible list of the current medications that you are taking or health concerns that your family can use to communicate with a doctor should you need emergency care?
Sit down with your family and discuss an emergency preparedness plan, evacuation routes, and other important safety information. You might even want to hold a few fire drills or other such emergency response practice to help everyone in your family know where to go and what to do should the need arise.
Though your to-do list may seem rather large at the moment, completing these tasks each year is an important way to make sure that your home is protected, that your family is safe, your finances are on track, and that you are doing all you can for your health so that you can indeed have a happy new year.