Daylight saving: 5 ways to spend your free hour
You're gaining an hour this weekend. Here's how to use that time to protect your home and your finances.
For most of us, it's time to "fall back" this weekend. So move the clocks in your house back one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night.
- While you're at it, estimate your credit score
But, before you do, here are five suggestions on how to allocate your extra hour to get the most peace of mind -- and bang for your buck.
Did you know that smoke detectors also expire? Check yours for an expiration date. If it's past its useful life, replace it. And speaking of fires ...
The ideal home inventory is a list of everything you have, along with the date you bought it and purchase price. If you lose all your possessions, you're ready to simply hand your list to your insurance company and get reimbursed.
But if creating such a detailed list sounds onerous, at least walk through each room in your house with a video camera (even some smart phones will do) and create a video of your stuff, reciting the price and purchase date of the expensive items. Then you'll at least have the ability to create a list should the need arise.
Don't forget to store that video away from home -- online would be ideal. If you'd like to use free software to create a more thorough inventory, you can get it from the Insurance Information Institute.
Furnace filter: five minutes. You should be checking/changing your furnace filter every month. Clean filters can reduce heating costs by 10%, not to mention preventing expensive repairs. If you haven't checked yours in a while, do it Saturday. And keep doing it the first Saturday of every month from now on.
Do you have enough exposure to stocks? Too much? One rule of thumb is to subtract your age from 100 -- that's the percentage you should have in some kind of stock fund. So if you're 35, you'd have 65% of your retirement savings in stocks. If you're 80, you'd have 20%. But remember, this is a rule of thumb, not a rule. Do what makes you comfortable. (Also see: "Manage your 401k in 1 minute.")
The simplest way to save on most insurance policies is to raise your deductibles to the highest number that you can comfortably afford. Remember, the purpose of insurance is to prevent financial catastrophe, not financial inconvenience. As I'm fond of saying, if you insure yourself so that you'll never lose a penny, you'll never have a penny to lose.
If you do everything on the above list within the allotted time, you'll accomplish some important stuff -- and since you gain an hour this weekend, it theoretically will take no time at all.
On the other hand, if all that seems too ambitious and you end up simply spending an extra hour in bed, don't feel guilty. It's all good. But when you get some extra time here and there, do these things. It's truly time well spent.
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