What should I do to wrap up my finances for the year?
Even if this year did not turn out as you hoped, you can still end the year on a positive note with your money! Below are TEN quick-hit items that you can do before the year ends to start off next year strong!
#1. Review your credit report.
You’re entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of three major credit companies. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to review your report for accuracy, check for fraudulent activity, and correct any errors.
#2. Eliminate any unnecessary fees.
Review your accounts for surprise or hidden fees like maintenance fees, account fees, late fees, etc). If you have account fees, talk to your bank to see how you can avoid them and if you’re getting hit with late fees, try using calendar reminders or autopay.
#3. Say bye to underutilized subscriptions.
You may have signed up for some services that you no longer use or forgot you even had. Sometimes free trials automatically turn into paid subscriptions. Are you still using those apps, TV or XM radio services? Going to the gym? Ask yourself if you’d sign up for it again today if given the option. If you wouldn’t, it’s time to cancel and save some money every month.
#4. Start your budget.
People who use a budget are typically better savers because they review their financial information on a monthly basis and try to keep their spending on track to meet their goals. If you don’t have one, get started with the basics like rent, mortgage, utility bills and groceries. Already have one? Great! Check how you’re doing and see if you can save a little bit more.
#5. Update your life changes.
Did you move, change jobs, get married or divorced, have a child or experience a death? If so, make sure your updated status is shared with your employer, financial institutions and other advisors to ensure your tax withholding and benefit selections are still correct, beneficiaries are updated, or other important changes are made.
#6. Contribute to your rainy day fund.
Keeping your rainy day fund full and untouched will keep you from having to use expensive credit cards when something unexpected happens.
#7. Find unclaimed property.
Every state in the U.S. has an unclaimed property program that works to connect the owners of lost or forgotten assets with their money such as old checking or savings accounts, refunds, old security deposits and more. When’s the last time you checked?
#8. Learn what your credit card benefits are.
Many credit cards come with benefits like rental car insurance, cell phone insurance, extended warranties and store discounts. Check with your cardholder to see what benefits are available to you.
#9. Check your car for any needed maintenance.
Taking proper care of your car now will save you money on costly repairs in the long run.
#10. Shred personal documents.
When purging old personal documents, don’t just throw them away. Shredding them will keep your personal information from being used for identity theft.
What if you can’t do all ten? That’s okay! What if you did even half or a third of these items? You’ll still be ahead of the game for the new year! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, chat with a BrightDime coach to help you talk through any of the items here!