My Financial Preparation for 2024
5 mins read
1. Reworking My Budget
First things first, I'm diving into my budget. It's all about understanding where my money is going and making sure it aligns with my goals for the new year. I'm scrutinizing every expense and income, trying to cut down on the unnecessary and focus on what really matters. Doesn’t matter that I have a pretty straightforward budget, or that I generally know everything that goes into it. I’m *still* going into my accounts, verifying the amounts, account numbers, and what my inputs (income) vs. outputs (expenses) are for the month. It makes it fresher in my mind, and I know exactly what expense is being taken from what account or card.
2. Cutting Down on Subscriptions
You’ll be surprised how many subscriptions you can accumulate over the years. Sometimes its a free trial that converts into a paid one without you knowing, sometimes its an expense that shows up and you *think* its a subscription, but its not! For example, I was going over my credit card statement and noticed a few charges for “Kindle Services.” No big deal, right? I mean I subscribe to Kindle. Or do I? Turns out I canceled my kindle subscription months ago, and these charges were fraud when my CC card number was stolen while traveling! I immediately reviewed my charges against my other accounts, then called card services, and told them I found about 12 charges I suspected were fraud. They told me “Looks like there are 12 more you didn’t catch!” So there was around $250 back in my pocket that I wouldn’t have had I note done this review! A few other things I caught were some apps I subscribed to that would expire but i probably wouldn’t have caught because they renew at awkward times. So the digital decluttering session for my finances has proven fruitful.
3. Tackling My Debt
Alhamdulillah, I don’t have many debts. The one or two debts that I do owe, I'm committed to reducing it significantly this year. I'm looking at various strategies, like early paydowns and personal loans so i can put more money towards paying them off. It's going to be a challenge, but I'm ready for it. The idea for me is not to borrow more to pay them off. Transferring debt to another creditor might buy you time, but it can cost lots of money. If you need to consolidate debt (especially if you have interest bearing debt and can consolidate to a lower rate) then that might be what you need to do. Just make sure you take the steps to get out off debt. Every debt paid down is a return on all future earnings.
4. Planning for Irregular Expenses
There are always those expenses that come up once a year, like my car insurance, that I tend to forget about. This year, I'm planning ahead for them, setting aside a little each month so I'm not caught off guard. I’m also averaging out what I spend on some variable bills. For those of you who know the hot Houston summers, you know that they usually come with electric bills that are double the amount in the winter. Planning ahead can help curb those costs.
5. Turning Clutter into Cash
I've been looking around my house, finding things I no longer use, and planning to sell them. It's amazing how much stuff we accumulate that we don't really need. Plus, it's a nice way to make some extra cash. I’ve done this in the past, using facebook marketplace, craigslist, e-bay, and a few other apps.
6. Re-upping My Retirement Savings
I'm also taking a hard look at my retirement savings. I want to make sure I'm putting away the max I can into my IRA. I don’t have a 401k, but if you do you may want to review your contributions to make sure you’re putting away the max you can for the new year. Be sure to review you beneficiaries for all your accounts as well. It's all about setting yourself up for a comfortable future, and the earlier you start, the better.
7. Getting My Important Documents in Order
Speaking of beneficiaries, another thing I do yearly is check on all important documents. Things like your credit report (which can show you red flags about your finances), updating my will, and making sure all my beneficiaries are current on bank accounts and retirement accounts. It's not the most exciting task, but it's crucial for peace of mind. Imagine dying and your kids can’t get the money you left them because you never removed your ex’s name from the beneficiary docs! 😛
8. Getting a Jump on Taxes
Taxes can be such a headache, especially if you wait until the last minute. While I have perhaps the most chill and patient CPA in the world, by not making his job easier I’m making my life harder. So, I'm gathering all my documents now and starting to think about how I can minimize my tax liability, especially with numerous streams of income.
9. Making Time for What Matters
Amidst all this financial planning, its important to not forget to plan for personal growth. Personal growth can be making time for community volunteering, its can be taking a vacation (gotta check if I have rewards points expiring!), making sure to have physical health, diet, and exercise in mind, having fun with friends and family, or just carving out time to cut yourself off from the world for clearer mental space.
10. Streamlining My Work Life
Finally, I'm thinking a lot about how to make my work more efficient. Automating tasks, creating SOPs – anything that can help me work smarter, not harder. I believe this will not only improve my business but also give me more time for myself.
So that’s what I’ve been up to in preparation for 2024. It's all about balancing the books and making time for what counts. I'm curious to see how this all unfolds in 2024. My hope is that this prep will turn it into a standout year. I pray its a successful year for you as well.
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