10 Things You’re Procrastinating About, and How to Get Them Done

Photo (cc) by anitakhart

We’re in week three of 2015, so I am assuming that by now you have all dropped a couple of pounds, gotten your finances in order and stopped smoking.

No? That’s OK. No stones from me. I live in my own glass house full of broken resolutions.

But even if you didn’t start the year off with the bang you wanted, there’s no time like the present to start making some positive changes. Let’s start with a recent video about sticking to resolutions.

Now, here are 10 things to stop procrastinating about in 2015.

1. Making a budget

You might think we’re harping on the issue. After all, we’ve told you how to painlessly create a budget, how to develop an effortless budget you’ll stick to and the reasons why your budget will never work for you.

There’s a reason we spend so much time talking about budgeting: It serves as the backbone for everything related to your finances. You won’t know if you can afford a new car payment if you don’t have a budget. You can’t be sure you’re putting enough away each month for retirement without a budget. And you risk racking up massive credit card debt if you don’t budget and somehow (surprise!) end up running short on cash each month.

I signed up for PowerWallet to help make budgeting easier, but you can certainly use a spreadsheet, pen and paper or whatever other method you prefer.

2. Canceling subscriptions

While creating your budget, you might notice some subscriptions or services you no longer need. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones you plan to cancel every month but never get around to it. Stop procrastinating and stop paying for services you don’t use.

In my case, that means dropping Netflix, which we haven’t watched in months, and canceling the hot spot service on my cellphone that’s no longer needed.

3. Getting out of debt

You may feel overwhelmed by your debt, but avoiding it isn’t the answer. Every month you put off addressing your debt problem is another month you are falling further behind.

Maybe you think you’re doing OK because you can make your minimum payments, but check out any credit card calculator, and you’ll find making minimum payments on a $1,500 balance with a 19 percent interest rate translates into taking 96 months to pay off a balance and spending $2,898 on interest in the process.

That calculation assumes a very low minimum payment requirement – only $30 – on a balance. Bump up that monthly payment to $55, and you could be done with the debt in three years and pay only $480 in interest. Better, right?

If you need more help digging out of a debt hole, find it. The Money Talks News Solutions Center can hook you up with expert help and advice for credit card debt, tax debt and student loan debt.

4. Saving for retirement

Another thing you don’t want to delay is saving for retirement. Because of the power of compound interest, every month you procrastinate could mean you’ll lose out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

We’ll use this calculator from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to illustrate. Let’s say you’re 40 years old and invest $10,000 in a retirement account that compounds interest once per year and earns 7 percent annually. Let’s also assume you never add another cent to that account. By the time you’re 65, your retirement account will be worth $54,274.

Not bad, right? Well, if you had invested that same $10,000, under the same conditions, at age 30, you’d have more than $106,765.

With retirement savings, lost time equals lost money.

5. Refinancing your house

As of this writing, 30-year fixed mortgage rates are hovering around 3.7 percent. That’s lower than a year ago.

Meanwhile, if you’ve been underwater on your mortgage and unable to take advantage of recent low interest rates, you may be in luck as property values have continued to rise in most of U.S. markets, albeit not as quickly as a year earlier.

According to Freddie Mac, U.S. home prices rose an average of 5 percent in the first three quarters of 2014. Depending on your local housing market, in some states the growth was as high as 8 percent, that jump may be the boost you need to qualify for refinancing.

6. Planning meals

Meal planning might seem a little out of place next to refinancing and retirement savings, but stay with me for a minute.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average household spent $2,625 on food away from home in 2013. That means that all those nights when you stare blankly into the fridge and then pack up the kids to eat out really add up. What’s more, you may find you are regularly eating breakfasts on the go and having your lunches out, too.

So sit down and create a meal plan; it’s good for your waistline and your wallet.

7. Buying health insurance

It’s now year two of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires most people to have health insurance coverage. If you plan to buy it on one of the government-run exchanges, you only have until March 31 to sign up.

Procrastinate too long, and you’ll be hit with a tax penalty, which has now increased to the greater of 2 percent of your 2015 income (over a certain threshold) or $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18), up to $975 per family. That penalty is slated to rise to 2.5 percent of your income or $695 per person in 2016.

8. Buying life insurance

While you are thinking about insurance, go ahead and get that life insurance policy you know you should have. A 2013 study from New York Life estimated only 20 percent of Americans have adequate life insurance coverage, and among the study’s survey respondents, the average gap in coverage was $320,000.

That may sound like a lot of coverage to buy, but if you’re young and healthy, life insurance coverage can be really cheap. Check out term life policies, or see if you can buy supplemental coverage through a workplace group plan. Just because you’re young and healthy today doesn’t mean you can’t die tomorrow.

9. Securing important documents

How many important documents are stored on your computer? What would happen if the hard drive were to crash and burn tomorrow?

Hopefully, you said it’s no problem because you have a backup of everything. If you didn’t, then it’s time to stop procrastinating and create a recovery system. You can use an external hard drive, or it may be more convenient to sign up for a cloud-based backup provider.

While you’re at it, make sure your paper documents are secure as well. That means birth certificates, titles and anything else that would be a massive pain to replace. Store items in a fireproof box or move them to a safety deposit box.

10. Practicing gratitude

Finally, let’s wrap up this list with something nonfinancial: gratitude.

All the number crunching that comes with managing your money is apt to make you feel a bit out of sorts, especially if your finances are shaky. You may feel a little green with envy over your neighbor’s bigger and better toys, or you could feel depressed that there is seemingly no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Make 2015 the year you don’t wait until Thanksgiving to count your blessings. Take stock of what you do have and make a point to be grateful for those things. In addition to feeling better about your situation, research suggests practicing gratitude can keep you healthier, give you more energy and help you attain your goals.

What are you procrastinating about in 2015? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon
10 Things You Should Never Buy on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

16 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances
16 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances

These items put an end to the daily irritations that bug you the most.

This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age
This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age

It’s never too late to benefit from taking up this type of activity.

5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement
5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement

The path to your dream retirement begins with these five steps. How many have you already taken?

8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Current events have you feeling anxious? These Amazon products can take the edge off.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster
7 Tricks to Cleaning Your Bathroom Faster

These tips can get your bathroom sparkling with little time and no elbow grease.

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate
10 Times You’re Right to Be a Cheapskate

Clever shoppers can save money without sacrificing quality. Here is how to do it.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.