The beginning of a new year is a wonderful thing. You can look back and see where you’ve come from as well as look ahead at things to come. One of the most important things you can do here at the beginning of the 2013 is to look ahead at ways you can save money in the new year. Personally, there are several areas that I will be looking to either reduce spending or keep spending the same, but get more value in return.
Each of these things will involve some legwork on my part to fully capitalize on. Research will need to be done, and calls will need to be made. But if I play my cards right, I know I can find good deals. I will be writing posts about each of these topics as they get closer…
One of the keys to successful personal finance is spending your money on things that are important to you, and then cutting out spending on things that aren’t. To make sure we’re doing just that, this month I’ll be doing a review of all our recurring expenses (going from largest to smallest). This is something I periodically do anyway, but it’s a good habit to get into. (Post coming in late January)
Like many other employers, my employer provides a company match to my 401k contributions. I don’t know how common this next part is, but where I work, this matching contribution is always made sometime in February of the following year and is always made in company stock. While I truly believe that I work for a great company that has a solid financial history and will continue to perform well, I also believe in being diversified. Since I already rely on my employer for my job itself, I think it is best not to have much (if any) of my 401k balance invested in my company’s stock.
So, once the employer contribution is posted to my account, I will move ahead and reallocate it to my targeted investment funds. This also serves as a good time to rebalance the rest of my 401k funds to make sure my allocation stays how I want it. (Post coming in late March)
Cell Phone Plan
The two-year wireless contract that we signed up for back in 2011 will expire in May of this year. We have a lot of choices here. We can simply keep our current phones and plan and pay month-to-month with the option of cancelling and switching carriers at any time. We can sign a new 2-year contract with the same company (AT&T), upgrade our phones, and get a new plan. Or we can look elsewhere and switch to another carrier.
For the most part I’m satisfied with our plan, but I want to make sure we’re getting the best deal. So, my plan is to analyze our actual usage for the past year (minutes, texting, and data) and see what plans (or even no-contract plans) are out there to best fit our wireless needs. (Post coming in mid May)
Vehicle and Homeowner’s Insurance
Our six-month automobile insurance policy will expire in March of this year, and our annual homeowner’s insurance policy will expire in September. The policies on our two vehicles (along with our homeowner’s insurance) are though Geico. As long as our auto insurance policy renewal offer in March is reasonable (no more than 5% higher), my plan is to simply renew it another six months. Then, in September when the auto policy and homeowner’s policies both expire, I’ll go through the process of rate shopping and make sure I’m getting the lowest rates for my desired coverage. (Post coming in mid September)
Do you have any specific things you plan on doing this year to either save money or get more for the same amount you’re already spending?