I love the summer and getting extra time off, but there always seems to be something that gets overlooked. We all know Summer is coming but we allow procrastination to get the better of us. While not bad, per se, it can hinder us in the long run.
The Summer time is when your expenses can skyrocket out of nowhere. Vacations, BBQs, and outdoor activities can consumer a lot of your disposable income. Getting ahead of your finances and taking pro-active steps can help you prepare for what’s ahead. Here are some last minute things to tackle before the start of summer.
Make A Debt Payoff Plan
Do you have any consumer debt you’re currently paying off? More than half of Americans feel insecure about their finances, most often about their debt. If you have debt, you don’t have to feel ashamed or uncertain about your efforts to pay it off. You can take control of your debt with a payoff plan.
Write down all of your debts and figure out what’s needed to pay off each one. That may mean getting a personal loan to consolidate the debt, or it could mean finding a way to make extra money to throw at the debt. Form a plan and take action on it. You’ll be that much closer to becoming debt free as a result.
Start Working on an Emergency Fund
Would you be able to handle an emergency if one happened tomorrow? The Federal Reserve reports that 48% of people would have to sell something to cover an emergency of $400. That’s not really that much money when you think of it.
I know it seems silly to build an emergency fund when interest rates are so low, or if you’re paying off debt. That’s not the point. You never know what will happen in life, so you want to be prepared. Start small, even if it’s $50 per month. Begin there and build on that to amass a respectable emergency fund.
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Use Your FSA Money
A FSA, or Flexible Spending Account, provides a way to save money on healthcare costs. There is one catch with FSAs though, it’s a use it or lose it system. In most instances, you lose any money you have in your account if left unused at the end of the year.
If you have a FSA through your employer, there are many ways to use those funds. Visit the doctor, make that trip to the dentist you’ve been avoiding or see the optometrist. Just make sure to verify the expense qualifies before using the money.
Invest Your Money
Investing may be the last thing you’re thinking of as you celebrate the holidays. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season hold you back. Instead, look for ways to start investing if you’re not already doing so. If you’re looking for the best online brokerage account to begin your investing journey, always take into consideration the number of trades you’ll be making as well as the commission amount.
Will you receive the full match in your company’s 401(k)? If not, adjust your withholdings to receive it all. Have you opened an IRA account? It’s not too late. Don’t listen to the excuses not to invest, instead find a way to get started in the last few weeks of the year.
Prepare Your Taxes
Like it or not, tax season will be here soon. Now is the time to start planning for it, not April. There are many things you can do to start planning for tax time, such as:
- Getting all your financial records in order
- Making charitable donations
- Taking advantage of business expense reimbursements
Not only will getting everything together save you time in the spring, but it can potentially save you some money.
Think Back over the Past Year
I don’t know about you, but this year has been a busy one for me. While I’ve accomplished some of the goals I had in mind at the beginning of the year, other things have fallen by the wayside.
I like to take some time before the year is over to review my progress toward my goals. You want to be honest with yourself here so as to truly see where you did well and where you fell short. Use those findings to take action and complete the next step.
Start Planning for the Next Three Months
The takeaway from these last minute things is to take action. We will greet summer in a few months. Don’t let debt and a lack of financial preparation set you back for the last half of the year. If you start planning ahead, you’ll be able to enjoy life without overstretching yourself.