Four Things You Should Do Before the New Year

Finally, 2016 is coming to an end.  This means that 2017 is around the corner and it’s time to take stock of your life.  Here is a list of four things you should do before the new year begins.

You Should Check your Programmable Thermostat Before the New Year

All the hype is surrounding smart thermostats such as the Nest and the Ecobee3.  There’s no doubt that these devices can save you money.  However, if you’ve already got a programmable thermostat, then you can probably be saving more money than you are, already.

Of course, the best option is a 7-day programmable thermostat (if you have a programmable thermostat).  However, any programmable thermostat is better than a non-programmable.  Here are things to think about:

  • When do you leave and when do you return to your home?  Make a calendar.
  • Are the weekdays all regular?  If not, think about those days.
  • What is your comfort temperature region?  How is the humidity in your region?  When you go to bed at night, can you handle if the temperature is warmer?  Most likely, you can adjust to a degree or two warmer (in the summer) and cooler (in the winter).

If you’ve already been through this process on your own, don’t forget to think about the comfort factor of you and/or your family.  You may be able to cope with a minor temperature change but your family may not be able to do so.  When guests come to visit, you don’t want them to be uncomfortable either.

While you’re at it, you should change those air filters and set a calendar reminder to change them again in 3 months.

You Should Check your Automated Bill Payments

Many of us automate bill payments.  You should ensure:

  1. That the correct recipients are still receiving those payments.
  2. That they are receiving the correct amount.
  3. That you’re being wisest about how those payments are made.  If, for instance, you have a credit card that earns rewards, why not use that card for an automated bill payment?  (This means that you need to pay your credit card bill, in full, each month.)

Automated bill payments make our lives so much easier that it should be reasonable to schedule a little time to ensure that you’re not spending any more money than necessary.

You Should Check your Automated Transactions

Do you make automated transferrals to other accounts from your primary funds?  This could be retirement, house payment, insurance savings, property taxes, college funds, etc.  If so, are they accurate?

Did your car insurance decrease because your car isn’t as valuable?  Did you decide to pay more on the principal of your mortgage?  Are you budgeting enough to have a savings to enjoy your job?

Now’s the time to make sure.

You Should Check That You’re Getting the Best Rates

There are always deals.  There are cellphone deals, there are internet deals, different vendors sell different car insurance, or satellite/cable TV, etc.

If your contract has already expired, you’re a free agent.  But renegotiating in the last month of a contract is valuable–you can stitch up a deal that was up for grabs.


I’m writing down a few ideas as I was thinking of these on Christmas Eve because I needed to do them!  There are, no doubt, hundreds of others.  What are some things that you check at the start of a new year?