Welcome to 2020! The start of the year offers the closest thing we ever get to a fresh start and we can set the next 12 months off with our best foot forward.
At the close of 2019, some may have started to think about unfinished goals and all the items that were still on their to-do lists. But, focusing too much on what we didn’t finish (or start) isn’t a great way to kick off a brand-new year. “Adulting” doesn’t just happen overnight—it’s a process.
We’ve put together some tips to help make things easier in the new year and ensure you’re prepared for whatever life brings your way. Take care of these at the start of the year so that you can spend the rest of 2020 enjoying time with family and friends.
1. Take care of your healthcare needs
Set up an appointment with your physician and dentist, especially if it’s been a while, and make sure all is well. If you don’t have insurance through your employer and you need more coverage than what’s offered by BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), learn more about Personal Health Insurance coverage offered by BCAA.
Another check up to make regular is one with your optometrist. Examining your eyesight is only part of the visit, an optometrist also checks on the overall health of your ‘beautiful browns’ or ‘electric blues’. If you end up needing a pair of glasses, there are plenty of styles from low-key to statement-making glasses to suit your tastes. Plus, BCAA Members can save up to 30% in the Optical department at Real Canadian Superstore®.
About to embark on a new fitness program or activity? Get some extra help with activity monitors, fitness gear and other health and wellness items from BCAA Rewards partners such as The Source where Members save up to 20% by showing your BCAA Membership card in-store or shopping online. Members can also earn back in CAA Dollars® for online purchases at sports retailer Altitude Sports (4%).
2. Organize your home
There’s no need to wait until spring to get organized at home. Whether you do a full sweep or tackle one area at a time, cleaning up at the beginning of the year can give you a fresh start and outlook for what’s in store for you in 2020.
- Declutter. Set up a designated area in your home where you can put items you no longer need, such as books, clothing, electronics, furniture or kids’ toys, and get them ready to be sold or donated. This is a great way to give back to others and keep items out of landfills. Need some extra hands? Members save up to 10% on junk removal with 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and they will get rid of what you no longer need, the responsible way.
- Deep clean. Our homes can use concentrated TLC at least once or twice a year, particularly after the holidays. This can include washing drapes, carpet cleaning and scrubbing down the oven, refrigerator and microwave.
- Check your home insurance. A lot can change over time such as a renovation, home improvements or simply owning more stuff. Making sure your home or renters insurance reflects these changes will ensure you have adequate coverage for your house and belongings. Speak to your insurance advisor about any changes that have been made to your property or personal belongings (a new garage, a new bike or new pieces of jewellery, etc.).
3. Get your taxes ready
Make the upcoming tax season easier on yourself by organizing your bills, receipts, pay stubs, and files. Set aside a folder where you can begin storing tax-related receipts and documents to ensure you have all the necessary information to file your taxes.
Keep that folder in a safe place at home and put any receipts and tax documents in it throughout the year so that you’re not scrambling come next tax season.
If you’re filing your taxes on your own, there are self-tax filing programs suitable for many situations. In February, Members can save 20% on TurboTax online and earn 12% in CAA Dollars.
4. Find a great mechanic you trust
Finding a trusted auto technician is good for your car—and your budget. If you haven’t settled on one yet and have been going from shop to shop, check out BCAA Auto Service Centres where our Auto Service Technicians are Red Seal certified (the gold standard for tradespeople).
If you don’t live near a BCAA Auto Service Centre, another option is to find a BCAA-inspected and Approved Auto Repair Service shop. These shops must pass stringent quality guidelines and undergo regular inspections to ensure these standards are maintained. Learn more about your automotive maintenance and repair options with BCAA.
5. Free up data space
If you’re having to delete photos off your phone while everyone holds their pose, it’s probably time to organize your data space. If you share data space with others, be sure to coordinate with them to make sure you don’t delete something they wanted to keep.
- Store document, photo and video files you need to keep, but no longer need stored on your laptop or mobile phone onto an external hard drive.
- Delete old emails and direct messages on your social network accounts like Facebook and IG.
- Delete unnecessary documents, photos and videos you no longer need on your computer, cell phone, and cloud. How many shots of the same pose do we really need?
- Download and delete photos still stored on your camera’s memory card.
- Clear up your DVR recordings.
6. Get prepared for a disaster or other emergency
In recent years, we've experienced stronger storms, wildfires and floods across the globe and throughout BC. Combine this with the fact that our province sits on a network of fault lines and it’s clear—we need to be prepared more than ever for whatever nature serves up. Check out the BCAA Preparedness Resource page for tips to keep your family safe.
- Understand the hazards we face in BC, especially when it comes to earthquakes, floods and wildfires.
- Create a family emergency plan and stock up on disaster supplies, such as non-perishable food items now to ensure you’re ready.
- Keep an emergency kit at home, your car and at the office. BCAA Members save 20% on-line on emergency kits with F.A.S.T. (First Aid & Survival Technologies Limited).
- Prepare your home to reduce chances of injury and major household damage during a disaster situation—particularly an earthquake.
7. Understand your car insurance
Review your car insurance to ensure you have the right level of protection for yourself and your vehicle. Car insurance in BC is made up of mandatory basic insurance through ICBC and optional insurance through ICBC or private companies like BCAA. If you’re not familiar with your coverage, speak to your insurance advisor about your car insurance options and potential savings.
Although not required by ICBC, almost everyone purchases optional car insurance. With BCAA, you get access to unique coverage benefits and a wide variety of savings, such as: one accident forgiveness, free pet coverage up to $1,000 and an eco-friendly vehicle discount of 5%. Plus, BCAA Members save 10% on BCAA Optional Insurance.
If you visit a BCAA Service Location, you can renew your ICBC Basic Autoplan as well as receive a quote for BCAA Optional Car Insurance to see what’s right for you.
8. Make a will
Writing a will is the best way to ensure that the people, charities and organizations you cherish most receive the benefit of your estate and that any of your precious belongings are given to the people you intended. And for those with children, writing a will helps make it clear who will raise your child should you and their other parent die.
If your situation is straightforward, you may be able to write your own will using a kit. However, speaking to a professional such as a notary or lawyer is always a good idea.
The start of the year often prompts future planning, so it's also a good time to review your life insurance needs to protect your family from debt, lost income and other large expenses if the unthinkable happens. BCAA Life Insurance is offered in partnership with Manulife and provides a variety of plans to suit your needs, no matter your life stage.
9. Review your budget and set financial goals
Knowing your financial goals will not only help you plan, but it can also increase your commitment to following your plan, which means you’re more likely to achieve what you set out to do.
Write your goals down. Putting pen to paper prevents vague motivations and keeps your tasks clear. What are you saving for: A car, a home, a vacation, an emergency fund, retirement? All of the above? Remember, you don’t have to tackle everything at once. Start by listing all the areas of your financial situation that you’d like to improve then prioritize each element and start on one or two at a time.
When reviewing your budget, look for categories that need to be reduced or increased to better align with your goals. Take into account changes such as new expenses like college tuition or a new hobby. For flexible expenses, such as groceries and utilities, make estimates that take into account increases in the cost of living. Try using budget tracking tools to help you see where your spending goes and ensure you never miss a payment.
To stretch your money further on everyday spending and those extra special items, don’t forget to use your BCAA Membership. Visit bcaa.com/rewards for great Member offers and savings in-store or online at over 100,000 partner locations worldwide.
10. Check your BCAA Membership
It’s impossible for us to leave this off of our New Year’s tips. A BCAA Membership can help make life easier by giving you protection on the road and savings all year long. So, you want to check the following:
- Is your Membership active? Log into your online BCAA account at bcaa.com/login or register if you haven’t done so already, or contact us using our online form which is also quick and easy. If you need to renew or join, click here.
- Do you have the right coverage for your needs through either a Basic, Plus or Premier Membership? For example, if you only drive cars, then a Basic Membership will do unless you drive longer distances, then a Plus Membership will tow you farther. If you ride a motorcycle, then a Plus Membership will ensure you have roadside assistance when you ride.
Another thing to consider is if you have a child—a Plus Membership provides Kids Go Free and your child will receive the same roadside assistance as you whenever they’re riding in someone else’s car.
- Your CAA Dollar balance. You can apply your CAA Dollars to your Membership renewal, BCAA Insurance, repairs at a BCAA Auto Service Centre or put it towards adding a family member in your household as an Associate.
11. Bonus tip!
Think of a Halloween costume now to avoid scrambling during the last week of October. Maybe this is the year you finally win “best costume” at your Halloween event.