Now is the time to grab your 2020 merchandise while the prices are low, low, low.

Have a senior graduating from high school or college this year? Have a big event planned for later in the year that will require "2020" balloons, napkins, plates, and banners?

You're in luck. The stores are putting all that crap valuable merchandise on the clearance shelves right now. Head to Meijer, Target, or Party City and stock up now.

And while we're on the subject of the new year ...

You've probably seen a few online posts about the dangers of shortening 2020 by writing a two-digit year on checks and legal documents. It's probably a good idea since shortening the year does open up a vulnerability. Criminals or someone with dishonest intentions would have the opportunity to add another couple of digits, potentially "backdating" your documents to 2019, or any year from the past couple of decades.

Consider this:  A shady contractor may offer a three-year warranty on his work. If you sign a contract on January 2, 2020, and express the date as 1/2/20, "16" could be added to your hand-written date, thereby expiring your warranty even before it begins.

Isn't protecting yourself from dishonest people fun? Happy New Year.