I was in a store yesterday and Christmas music was playing, but presumably that’s the last vestige of “the holidays” now that it’s The Monday After. And so we’re on to the next thing, which is the end of the year. Party party. But not so fast; isn’t there some stuff you’re supposed to take care of before the first of the new year? Things that, if you’re going to do them, now is the time to do them?
- Charitable giving: Peter Singer has figured out how much you should give to charity, and there’s a calculator on his site. For your broke ass, it’s probably 1% of your income. You do it now, and you can write it off on your taxes in April. We were just talking about a very closely related thing, so I’m not going to bug you — you either have the inclination or you don’t. Oxfam if you prefer to keep it easy, Kiva if you prefer a little more interactive.
- The tax thing just doesn’t go to money you give away — you can buy stuff for yourself if you can write it off your taxes, too. If you do freelance work, you can write off toys for your home office. Even if you don’t, there are year-end tax tips you should look over, and here are a few more related things to stress out about.
- New Year’s Resolutions: If this is your thing, you’ve probably got a list together. I would humbly suggest three reasons for switching to vegetarianism: (1) eating meat is terrible for your health, (2) meat production is terrible for the planet, and (3) say what you will about the abstract ethics of animals eating animals, but the way that 99% of livestock production happens in this country is indefensible. I recommend Jonathan Safran Foer’s article on becoming vegetarian, which is just a pleasure to read, as a good starting point for thinking about this. Note that incremental “99%” approaches are fine here; you could allow yourself one meat-inclusive meal per week and do almost as much good.
- If you are at the very end of the anal scale, you could do a personal annual review, and maybe publish an annual report.