5 Things to Do in the New Year

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CNN Money has an article up on 5 things to do this year.   After posting a similar article a couple of weeks ago, I thought it’d be interesting to post about someone else’s perspective.

1.  Shop for a no-fee checking account.

If you are paying fees for a checking account, go somewhere else.  There are so many alternatives available that you shouldn’t be throwing money away.   Ally Bank has a great no-fee checking account, as does INGDirect, though ING won’t let you write paper checks against the account.  The same principle applies to credit cards.  If you have a card with an annual fee and you aren’t getting some monster services or rewards to go with it, run away.

2.  Save your raise.

I don’t necessarily agree with this one.  If you are in debt, it’s better to use the raise to pay off that garbage, first.   When I got my last raise, I immediately boosted the automatic payment for my car to use every new penny.   I’ve never had the money available, so I haven’t missed it.  Whatever you do, fight lifestyle inflation.   Just because you have some more money doesn’t mean you need to spend it.   At my last job, I got a substantial raise, so I bought a new car, only to get laid off a few months later.

3.  Go for a checkup

Wealth doesn’t matter if you squander your health.  Go get a physical.   Every disease is easier to treat if you catch it earlier as opposed to later.   Don’t make the mistake of running your body into the ground.  You will regret it later.   Effective this year, most health plans will cover a physical with no copay, co-insurance, or deductible allowed.

4.  Score a better rewards card.

B***-****.   If you’ve still got debt, don’t concentrate on using more of it.  Get that crap paid off.    If you’re out of debt, look into getting a rewards card that aligns with your goals.   If you like to travel, get a card that gives you frequent flier miles.   Otherwise, I’d go with a cash-back rewards card.

5.  Use your vacation days.

37% of Americans don’t take all of the vacation to which they are entitled.  That’s insane!  We work harder and better when we have time to recuperate and relax.   Unfortunately, I usually fall into that unfortunate 37%.    My vacation resets on February 1st, and this will be the first year in a lot of years that I haven’t had to roll it over or even lose some.

What is your financial plan for the new year?

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