pulling it together
Getting Ready for a New Year
Some might refer to it as pathological procrastination. I prefer to think of it as working well under deadline pressure. Whatever you call it, with 2007 looming large, now is the time for those of us who tend to wait until the last minute to get our loose ends tied up, or at least tucked under where no one can see them.
- Use up your Flexible Spending Account. If you've been putting money in a Flexible Spending Account so that you can pay for child care and medical expenses with untaxed money, now is the time to check your balance and make sure you submit receipts for all qualified expenses.
- Make an appointment to talk to someone in your company's Human Resources department about your benefits. (Don't plan on just dropping by, especially during this time of year.) With open enrollment coming up, you'll want to make sure you are making the best choices with regard to your health insurance, life insurance and retirement accounts. While you're there check on your 401 (k) plan. If you haven't contributed up to the maximum limit, you may be able to make a one-time contribution before the end of the year.
- If you own a business, or are responsible for a department budget, buy any business equipment, furniture or other office supplies that you can deduct from your 2006 taxes. Now would also be a good time to locate and file all your receipts for purchases made during the year.
- Send out Holiday Cards. It's not too late, but don't buy those last, picked-over, boxes of cards on the shelf at the drug store. Get a great shot of the family building a snowman (or a sandcastle if you live in a more temperate climate) and have “Happy New Year” cards printed.
- Celebrate Kwanzaa. You spent Christmas Eve with his family, Christmas Day with your family and you're going to your sister-in-law's for New Year's Eve. So what about your best friend, or the sister who couldn't make it for Christmas because she was with her boyfriend's family? Just as everyone claims a bit of Irish ancestry on St. Patrick's Day, we can all celebrate our African heritage on Kwanzaa. What makes Kwanzaa even better is, it starts on December 26 and goes clear until January 1st, so you can pick a day to celebrate that's good for everyone.
- Make an end-of-year donation to a non-profit organization. The best part of charitable giving is the knowledge that you've supported a cause you truly believe in. The next best thing is be able to deduct your gift on your taxes.
To help you bring order to your home and office in the New Year, See Jane Work will be focusing on a specific organizational issue every month with tips on storage, categorization and, of course, style.
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