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Time for a Financial Checkup

Mid-year is a good time for contemplation. Perhaps youíve been on vacation, and had a chance to think. Or maybe your office or work is slower this time of year. Either way, itís a good point in which to take a breather and evaluate where you are financially, where you are with your goals, and where you want to go for the rest of the year.

  • Back-to-School
    School is starting, and itís time to get the kids ready. By now, back-to-school sales will have started, so be sure to bargain-hunt. Stock up now for the rest of the school year, and note the amounts in your budget so you can plan for school supplies next year.
  • College Planning
    Speaking of school, if you have high-school-age children, this fall is the time to start planning for college costs and shopping for scholarships. Have a family discussion, and decide what you can and canít afford. Scholarships and grants will need to make up the difference. Make sure that the college selection only includes those you can afford or those to which your student can get scholarships. One place to start looking is Scholarships.com.
  • Get Ready for the Holidays
    Fall means Öthe holiday will be arriving soon! Hopefully youíve already set aside money for holiday gifts and celebrations, but if you havenít, now is the time to start planning. Set your holiday gift budget: how many people you are giving presents to, and how much you want to spend on each? Set your holiday entertaining budget: Are you hosting any holiday meals or events? Calculate your budget for each, and stay within it! Establishing a charitable giving budget is good to do also, and donít forget about planning for any holiday travel.
  • Review Your Monthly Budget
    End of summer is also an ideal time to run a checkup on your monthly budget. Check over your expenses of the last seven months. What was unexpectedly high? How can you offset that higher expense? Are there items or expenses that you can cut? For example: Donít pay for expanded cable if you arenít fully using it, eat out fewer times a month, donít get newspaper delivery if you end up with a pile of unread papersósame for magazines.

    Remember, a budget isnít something that keeps you from enjoying life. A realistic budget will help you meet your goals and make sure you can and do enjoy life!

  • Start saving!
    AmericaSaves.org has suggestions on ways to save an extra $100 in one month. Some great tips!
  • Tax Planning
    Plan for next yearís tax billóit seems a bit early, but there are things you can do now to make it go much easier come April 2014. If you are self-employed, make sure you are keeping up with your estimated tax payments. Keep your records organized: Put copies of all deductible expenses in your 2013 tax folderódonít wait till January to find everything. If you have a 401-K, try to max out your contributions. And if you have questions, from last year or for next, now is a good (as in slow) time to meet with a tax accountant. Stop in at your local PayDayHawaii location†to review your taxes issues and get yourself prepared for tax season.
  • Understand Your Healthcare Options
    What will the Affordable Care ActóObamacare–mean to us in Hawaii? Signup starts in October, and itís good to start thinking about it now. Hawaii already has very strict employer mandated insurance for those working over 20 hours per week. But for those who work less than that, who are unemployed, who are self-employed, or have pre-existing conditions, Obamacare is certainly worth exploring. It can also mean more jobs! Find out more about Hawaiiís part in the Affordable Care Act at the website HawaiiHealthConnector.com.
  • Revisit and Review Your Goals
    Remember your goals from the beginning of the year? Now is the time to see how you tracked to the goals you set. If you missed some of them, figure out why and how you can get them on track again. If you still have some to meet, understand what you need to do now to get there. And if you met some of your goals, congratulations!

Thereís more advice on a mid-year financial review†on the America Saves blog.

A mid-year checkup gives you a heads-up on issues that need to be addressed, shows you where you are making progress, and still gives you time to make any important changes.

Questions? Just stop by any PayDayHawaii location†for more information.

You can also now follow us on Twitter at @PayDayHawaii.

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

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