We all know that 2007 is just around the corner so lets start preparing for the new year. Here are some things to keep in mind for this new up coming year and things you should consider.
- Stop driving so recklessly. To save at the pump, be smart at the wheel. For every pound per square inch your tires are under-inflated, you cut mileage by 1% to 2%. Save up to 30% by replacing dirty spark plugs and air filters. Accelerating and braking quickly lowers your highway gas mileage by 33%. At home, plug leaks. Install a programmable thermostat and shave 10% off your bill.
- It's a buyer's market. Drive a hard bargain. Real estate in 2006 turned a corner - and not a good one. In the past year, home prices have dropped 2.2%. In this kind of a market, once you've found the house you want, start the bidding at least 15% below the asking price. Barry Miller, a broker and owner of Denver-based Buyers Only America Realty, says that's the average discount his clients are getting.
- Invest your tax refund for retirement, automatically. Starting with your 2006 tax return, you'll be able to directly deposit your refund in an IRA. Yield not to the temptation of spending your refund - just get yield.
- Vanguard Growth Index.Blue-chip growth companies have returned only three-quarters as much as the S&P 500 this year and even less of the Dow's gains. And they're still at least 20% below their normal valuations, as measured by their price-to-earnings ratios.