25 Things to Do Before the New Year

Photo: RLHyde

Before you know it another year will have passed and we’ll be on to 2013. In anticipation of that eagerly awaited fresh start, I thought it pertinent to remind you of a few loose ends you might want to take care of so you can kick off January 1 with a clean slate. To help you stay on track, here are 25 things you should do before the New Year. (See also: 25 New Things to Do Today)

1. Do a Deep Clean of Your Home

Many of us do a spring clean, but our homes could probably use concentrated TLC more than once a year. So you can tackle all the problems areas head on, I’ve written this check list on how to clean your home in the fall.

2. Concentrate on Unfinished Projects

You know that project you were excited about for a couple days then pushed to wayside for any number of reasons? Revisit it and finish it so you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and have peace of mind before the year ends.

3. Make Last-Minute Donations to Boost Your Tax Deductions

Round up anything you don’t want anymore, and send it off to an organization that can put it to better use. Look under the bed and in the attic, rummage through the garage and basement, and pull things out of your closet that you no longer want or need, giving them to a good cause so you can write the donation off later.

4. Plan Meals Based on What’s Already in Your Fridge and Pantry

Instead of going grocery shopping for the last month of the year, make a list of ingredients using what’s already in your fridge and pantry and plan meals based on what you have. You’ll save money and get rid of foods that will expire if you leave them in there too long.

5. Reconnect With a Friend With Whom You’ve Lost Touch

Most of us are well-meaning people, but sometimes life gets in the way. If you’ve lost touch with a friend or family member this year (or for a few years even), give them a call or send an e-mail to reestablish the connection.

6. Clean Out Your E-mail Inbox and Folders

Follow-up on unanswered e-mails, delete expired messages, and otherwise organize your e-mail and its folders to make life a little easier on yourself when it’s time to get back to work. 

7. Get Your Receipts Together to Start Preparing Your Taxes

As soon as the New Year starts, I’m ready to go to the tax guy. My taxes are usually filed by the end of February because of this proactive procedure. It’s a huge burden lifted. Get busy now to save yourself a lot of stress later.

8. Schedule a Physical With Your Doctor  

If it’s been a while since your last checkup, get to the doctor to make sure all is well.

9. Go to the Dentist for a Checkup

I know, I know – nobody likes the dentist. But it’s important to take care of your chompers on a regular basis. If you’ve skipped a couple cleanings, get to the dentist as soon as possible.

10. Hit the After-Holiday Sales to Stock Up for Next Year

This is one of my favorite activities! After Christmas has gone for another year, hit up your favorite discount department store to stock up on wrapping paper, gift bags, and all manner of holiday paraphernalia at big savings.

11. Make Short-Term New Year’s Goals

Notice I didn’t call these “resolutions.” The reason for that is because resolutions are a waste of time because we think too big when making them. Instead, think about smaller, reasonably attainable goals to concentrate on in the new year. I promise you’ll have more success in achieving them than those lofty goals you’ve made in the past. 

12. Host a Holiday Party to Spread the Good Cheer

Get everybody together for one last hurrah before getting back to the grind.

13. Cut the Clutter in Your Home by Selling Unwanted Items Online 

This is never a bad idea, but it’s very useful this time of year to help offset the cost of the holidays. Sells old books, DVDs, clothes, electronics, appliances – really anything that you think someone else could use – to earn a bit of extra income as the year comes to a close.

14. Update Your Resume Just in Case

You never know what can happen in the blink of an eye, so it’s best to be ready. Update your resume and bio so you can start looking for a new job if you lose the one you have or so you can start the New Year hitting the ground running in the search for a better job. 

15. Change the Oil in Your Vehicle

Every six months or 3,000 miles. If you’re past due, get to the mechanic now.

16. Go on a Mini-Vacation

The holidays can take a toll on your sanity — I know that better than anyone. If you’re at your wit’s end, take a few days off by taking a mini-vacation in a nearby, inexpensive place where nobody knows your name.

17. Use Up About-to-Expire Daily Deal Coupons 

I have more deals than I have time, so I plan to concentrate on using them up instead of spending more money before ringing in 2013.

18. Start a New Exercise Routine

A lot of people plan to start exercising Jan. 1 or shortly thereafter, but why not get a head start? Start your new exercise routine now so you’re already in the thick of it when the new year begins.

19. Create a Monthly Meal Plan for January

I started doing this a few months ago, and it’s been a blessing for my health and wallet. This December, sit down and create a monthly meal plan — at least for dinner — so you know what you’re eating every night of the week. It’s really incredible how much healthier your eating habits become when your meals are on paper.

20. Complete Small Home-Improvement Projects

By small, I mean change burnt-out light bulbs, tossing out dead plants, washing the windows, etc. Ya know, those things you’ve been meaning to do but keep putting off.

21. Update and Consolidate Your Contacts

There’s no better time of year than holiday time to update your contacts — especially if you plan to send out cards or host a party. Your workload will be all the much easier than trying to do it in piece meal.

22. Revamp Your Budget to Save More Money 

Sit down and evaluate your financial situation. If you spent too much this year or didn’t save enough (not always one in the same, mind you), make a plan to cut out some expenses you can live without and implement strategies to save more money along the way.

23. Clean Up Your TiVo 

My TiVo is clogged with all kinds of content I thought I wanted to watch, but really don’t. If you’re like me, get rid of the junk. Mid-season replacements are coming anyway — so you’ll need the extra room.

24. Make Provisions for a Disaster or Other Emergency 

Let Hurricane Sandy be a lesson to us all. Turns out we’re not prepared for impending disaster. To make a terrible situation like that a little more bearable when it strikes, start stocking up on disaster supplies now so you’re not left scrambling (or worse, up the proverbial creek without a paddle) when the "ish" hits the fan.

25. Count Your Loose Change, and Deposit It Into Your Savings

Have a jar of coins you’ve been keeping all year long? Count it out, wrap it up, and deposit it into your savings account. You’ll be surprised at how much is in there. Doesn’t look like much, but it adds up quickly.

Have any ideas to add to this list of things you should do before the New Year? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

I really like the idea of making short-term New Year’s goals. I've just started doing this and it allows me to stay excited about a goal, because I feel like I'm making progress everyday. The goal stays fresh in my mind instead of fading away into next year.

Guest's picture
Southern AZ

Great List!! Even greater is that I've done a bunch of the things in the last month! Now I know what else I need to do.

Guest's picture

don't forget in the deep clean to clear out your dryer vent. silly way for a house to catch fire, especially when it's an easy fix. renters - even apartment-dwellers - at least clean out the tube up to the wall. unplug first :)

Guest's picture

Nice list, there are definitely a couple of these I need to get going on before the end of the year. Cleaning out my email inboxes and updating my resume are at the top of the list and very good things to focus on for the new year. And of course, a good thorough cleaning of my apartment is in order.

Guest's picture

These tips are some great reminders for us all. On top of that, I just got my oil changed about 3 hours ago for only $19 bucks after using the coupon they sent me.

Guest's picture
Reza Alborz

The adage to change your oil every 3,000 miles is kind of old. Most new cars can go beyond the 3,000 miles. I know in my car, I don't need to change the oil every 3,000 miles. So, I guess it differs for each owner. They should check their owners manual to see when they actually need to change their oil.