The Holidays are upon us. Here's how to stay well organized, so you can enjoy them the most.
1. Do your online shopping first. Order gifts on the internet now, to allow time for shipping, returns and getting them wrapped.
2. Wrap after purchase. This keeps little ones from seeing what Santa has--and saves you that last minute pile-up of unwrapped gifts.
3. How are you fixed for glassware? The holidays often feature bigger entertaining. Make sure you have enough glasses and dishes for parties and meals.
4. Put the tree up and decorate. Getting it done by the coming weekend leaves you free to focus on your other holiday tasks.
5. Do your holiday meal menus. Decide what you'll be cooking and what others will bring. Make up a master grocery list and order the turkey, ham or other centerpiece dish.
6. Do your nonperishable shopping. Get in all canned goods, pantry staples and bottled beverages.
7. Clean the house. Keeping the house neat makes decorations stand out. And clean out the refrigerator to make room for those big holiday dishes.
8. Got kids? Get batteries! Make sure you have them on hand in all the right sizes.
9. Shop for your fresh foods. Get these ingredients two or three days before you'll need them.
10. Set the table ahead of time. That way you can concentrate on the food prep the day of the feast.
11. Don't forget fresh flowers. Get them two days before to give blooms time to open up.
12. Charge camera and video batteries. Charge spare batteries too, if you have them.
Now you're ready to relax and enjoy family and friends!
YOUR END-OF-THE-YEAR FINANCIAL CHECK-UPS
Now is the right time to take a look at a few financial matters:
1. Review health and dental care choices. Many employers allow you to make changes to your benefit plans now. Check with doctors and dentists to make sure they're still in your plan's preferred provider network and that your family has adequate coverage.
2. Review use-or-lose accounts. Pretax Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are set up this way. Review your plan to see if you have some spending to do, or if your employer offers a grace period. Even then, make sure 2011 expenses are still allowed in 2012.
3. Review your withholding. Check the withholding calculator at the IRS website. If you haven't been withholding enough to cover your taxes, you might want to increase the amount. Under-withholding can result in penalties.
4. Get ready for 2011 taxes. Check last year's returns to see who needs to send you what tax documents, and by when. Make a list and follow up if anyone holds you up at the beginning of the year. Also, check last year's return for itemized deductions. See if you should make deductible purchases now or wait until 2012.
Note: Be sure to consult with a tax professional before making any decisions related to your tax situation.
5. Set your 2012 financial goals. Now is the time to write down what you'd like to achieve financially next year. Save money for a down payment on a new house? Start a college fund for your kids? Put more into your retirement fund?
Remember, we're always here to answer any questions.... Have a great day!
PS With today's extremely low mortgage rates and home prices more affordable than ever, many people are upsizing, downsizing or refinancing. Please call or email us now to discuss your situation.
This is not the opinion of Brad Bergamini, Realty Executives Northern Arizona or any of its affiliates. This post is for informational purpose only and is not guaranteed and does not render as legal advice. Buying and selling Real Estate in Arizona or Prescott Arizona is a serious task and should be consulted with personally with Realtor or Real Estate Attorney. Please visit my website for contact information