From glittering holiday parties, presents, and New Year’s festivities, it is expected that come January, your budget has most likely taken a hit. By being proactive and determined each month, it is possible that you can recover and revive your finances.
Here’s are some tips for month to month budgeting to help you start saving.
- Don’t forget your “financial” New Year’s resolutions and put them somewhere that you can see them on a daily basis. Consider this resolution as an “oath” or promise to yourself that 2017 you will be financially fit.
- Start your New Year with a new budget. Review expenses, income, flexible spending, and any other items that you wish to include in your budget.
- At the beginning of the year, you can think about opening new savings accounts. These can help you not face a debt “hangover” after the holiday season.
- Start gathering receipts of charitable contributions, tax documents (W-2 and 1099 forms), and other pertinent items so you will be prepared for your tax filing in March/April.
- Pull a copy of your credit report from a credit monitoring site.
- Aim to pay your credit cards liabilities in full by the end of February.
- Whether you’re doing your taxes yourself or using an accountant services, try to file and pay your taxes early.
- Start making a list of the gifts you will want to give this year for birthdays, weddings, and the winter holidays. Start checking various store websites for any discounts so you can stock up whenever you see a deep discount on items you wish to purchase.
- If you haven’t hit your maximum 2016 retirement contributions, you can fund your Roth and traditional IRA, until April 18, 2017, to maximize your tax benefits.
- To have more cash flow throughout the year, Jason Walowitz of United Financial Counselors to advises to “adjust your tax withholdings.”
- Plan summer travel early or before fare prices go up. Check out Kayak or Airfarewatchdog to land cheap airfare.
- Check in with your existing spending since the start of the New Year. Figure out what needs to be changed and whether you’ve been staying within your monthly budgets. If you are, have your savings goals been met?
- If your employer offers 401(k) retirement plan and you’re not taking advantage of it. Check in and review current plans that work best for you.
- Think about your medical care or appointing a health care proxy.
- Now it’s your mid-year, sit down and track your New Year’s resolutions. Are you hitting your goals? If not, what additional steps can you take to stick to your resolution? If reducing the debt burden was your resolution, are you making progress?
- Growing your “human capital” takes effort: “When we’re early in our careers, our human capital — our future earnings — is much larger than our financial capital. Human capital relate to things such as earning a second degree or working late to secure a promotion, can make a significant difference.
- Track down your 401(k) retirement account. “Today, [as we] change jobs more frequently, we often create a messy hodgepodge of retirement accounts,” Pape says. You can also roll your old 401(k) account into an IRA to reduce the cost and number of retirement accounts to track.
- Use the quiet time to question HR to know about your employee benefits. Do you have access to a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA)? What about gym subsidies or child care benefits?
- Request your report from all three credit bureaus, and make sure your credit report is free of errors or fraud. If you spot an error, dispute and resolve it at your earliest. Check in with companies such as United Financial Counselors to assist you with any credit building or credit restoration that you may need.
- Look at your high-yield savings account balances to know how much you’ve saved up till now.
- Assign beneficiaries on your financial accounts to ensure if something happens to you; your loved ones could inherit your accounts without any issue.
- Enjoy your money! Savings are essential, but it should go hand-in-hand with fun activities. Plan a nice dinner, have cocktails with friends or buy an affordable tech gadget you’ve desired—so you can enjoy your life without going hand-to-mouth.
- “Check out last-minute travel deals and don’t forget Groupon and LivingSocial deals.”
- Vacation season is at the end. Make a list of short- and long-term work goals so that you can refocus on your career growth now
- If you’re struggling to manage your finances, collaborate with a financial adviser or consider outsourcing your investment management.
- Write down your interest charges, ATM fees, late fees and all other charges you’ve paid so far since the start of the year. Make plans to avoid late fees in the future or create monthly calendar alerts so you can pay bills early.
- The holiday season is coming so plan your holiday budget now. Start shopping for holiday gifts you researched for holiday deals.
- Is your life insurance coverage up-to-date? Do you need to update your policy or change the coverage amount on your renters or homeowners insurance?
- Carefully consider credit card deals. Check before opening any cards in order to receive discounts. Opening too many cards or overspending with your credit card could hurt your credit score badly.
- Check your credit report again from all the three credit bureaus and dispute any errors, if found, that could be affecting your credit score.
- For holidays, consider making homemade gifts or Secret Santa with your loved ones could reduce your gift buying cost.
- Have you finalized your this year charitable contributions? As long as you donate before year-end, your charitable contributions will count towards 2017 tax year, as per law. It means you can deduct your contributions accordingly.
- Check your portfolios and reorganize and balance.
- Finalize your retirement accounts contributions. And make any final contributions. Although the IRA account deadline is in April, other accounts, such as 401(k)s, have 31st December deadline.
Should you’ve any questions related to your finances, please visit us online or at United Financial Counselors.