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Get Financially Ready for Next Year

The end of the year, and the holiday season, is a busy time. But it’s still a good time to think about what you need to do to get financially ready for the next year. A little time now will pay off in time and money saved next year!

Holiday budgets
Thinking about the holidays, where are you in meeting your holiday budget? Are you under? If so, good for you! Take that extra amount you had budgeted and put into savings for next year. Are you over budget? Now is a good time to review your expenses and make a new plan for the next holiday season.

Plan your savings
We’d all like to have a hefty amount set aside for an emergency or special purchase, and the key to that is making a plan and sticking to it. Think about what you can afford to set aside each week or month. Even if it’s just $5 a week, that will add up.

Some ideas:

  • Only pay for your purchases in bills. Keep your change in a jar and cash it in at the end of the year.
  • Pay yourself $5 or $10 a week or month, in cash, and hide it away in an envelope where you won’t see it every day.
  • Buy yourself a $20 (or more!) prepaid debit card once a month, and collect them all in an envelope or box. Set them aside until you reach your goal.
  • If you give up something—like going to the movies, or a morning coffee—to save money, physically set that money aside in your savings stash.
  • Think about what savings goals you might have for next year: Will you have expenses for education, for medical or dental, a new car or car repair? Or maybe you want to save for a vacation. Start planning for it now.

Double check your personal information

  • Look at your most recent paycheck to make sure your name, address, and Social Security number are right—it’s much easier to correct now than later.
  • Order your free copies of your credit reports, if you have not already done so this year.
  • Consider adjusting your withholding. Did you withhold enough from your paycheck this year, or will you have to find more money come tax time? Or did you withhold too much, and will get a big tax refund? Both mean that you should think about tweaking your withholding amount.

Do you have a Flexible Savings Plan?
If so, that plan expires at the end of this year. Any money you put into it needs to be used—or you lose it. Schedule a doctor or dentist appointment; get those new glasses; and make sure you’ve submitted all your paperwork.


  • If you do have insurance, check how you’ve met your deductibles this year. If you have met your deductible, now is the time to take care of any other needs—it’s free money!
  • Now is a good time to review your insurance for next year, too. Are there any discounts you might be eligible for? Is there any coverage that you need to add, or that you can eliminate?

IRA and 401-K contributions
If you are lucky enough to have an IRA or 401-K retirement savings plan, the end of the year is a great time to put a little extra into your fund.

Tax prep
This is probably the last thing you want to think about during the holidays, but January is right around the corner.

  • If your paperwork isn’t organized for tax filing yet, it’s time to make a start.
  • Are there any receipts or documents that you need to get before filing your taxes? Now is definitely better than later to arrange all that.
  • And while you’re at it, start a folder for your tax documents for next year—that way you’ve made it easy for yourself to keep organized!

Set your financial goals for the year
Take some time to consider what your financial goals will be for the coming year. Think about the year ahead, what might be coming up, and also any changes or improvements you want to make.

A few financial suggestions:

  • Set a monthly income and expense budget.
  • Plan and save for large expenses, and also for unexpected expenses.
  • Start a plan to pay off your credit cards and other debt.

The last weeks of the year are perfect to think about the past and the future. What would you change? Did you accomplish what you set out to do this year? Don’t criticize yourself if you did not meet your goals; recognize your mistakes and set yourself up with plans to avoid repeating them, and to reach your goals.

This entry was posted in Financial Education, Saving and Investing, Smart Shopping and Budgeting, Tax Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

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