Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 12. Set up a truly useful calendar. For the longest time, I used a tiny pocket planner to keep track of my appointments. I’d write in all sorts of things, from specific appointments I needed to keep to little bits of information …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 11. Make your home more energy efficient. Almost everyone who has a roof over their head has an energy bill that they have to face. Electricity. Heating oil. Natural gas. It’s a personal finance reality for all of us. Thankfully, we all …

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Many newer readers of The Simple Dollar haven’t been exposed to the hundreds of great articles in the archives of the site, so this is a weekly series that highlights the five best posts from one year ago this week, two years ago this week, and three years ago this week. I call it … the Time Machine. One Year Ago (December 5 – December 11, 2009) Personal Finance 101: What Does FDIC Insurance Really Mean? In a nutshell, it …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 10. Do a mind sweep. Hot on the heels of the ongoing discussion of Making It All Work, I’m going to suggest a good old fashioned “mind sweep” as a brilliant way to get your financial and personal house in order to …

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This is the final entry in a twenty part series discussing the wonderful time and priority management book Making It All Work by David Allen. I’ve really enjoyed writing this series. It’s given me an opportunity to think deeply about this book and about some of the ongoing concerns and areas of focus in my own life from a bit of a different perspective than before. Before I give my final thoughts on this book, though, let’s start off with …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 9. Bank some meals. A lot of times, after a long day of working and child care, I really don’t feel like I have the energy to cook a great meal from scratch. The temptation to just go out and eat is …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. When should we refinance? 2. What is rich? 3. Is debt snowballing still valid? 4. Precious metals investing 5. Retiring rapidly 6. Roth IRA ineligibility 7. Uneven estates 8. Where would I live? 9. Is kitchen renovation needed? 10. Next president? My desktop computer seems to finally be going through its …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 8. Rethink your retirement plan. If I’ve done one thing right with my personal finances since reaching adulthood, it’s been taking care of my retirement. I’ve consistently put a significant amount away for that future day when I no longer work and …

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As I’m writing this, a big pot of well-spiced bean soup is simmering on the stove and it smells tremendous. It’s just a kit soup, but it was a kit that we picked up for less than a dollar, and there’s enough soup there for everyone to eat from several times. I actually really like such soup kits. They’re easy to make, they preserve very well (they’re just a mix of dried beans), and if you time your purchases when …

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Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 7. Clean out your closets and liquidate. Even after a few rounds of doing this very thing, our closets are still loaded with stuff. Accumulated but largely unwanted Christmas presents. Old baby clothes. Old CDs. Unused blankets. Art projects abandoned. Books that …

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