Time always moves fast, but the end of the year really seems to fly by once summer has come to an end. It seems as if one day you are sending the kids off for the first day of school, and the next day you are putting presents under the tree.
It is easy to let these autumn months get away from you, but they are an important time from a financial perspective. Before the year ends, you want to make sure you have everything in place to wrap up your finances as successfully as possible.
With an eye on the end of the year approaching, following is a list of five money moves that you should consider making before the calendar reads 2016.
Contribute to a Retirement Account
If you have a retirement account, consider making a contribution before the end of the year. Many of these contributions are tax deductible up to a certain threshold, so you could help yourself from a tax perspective in advance of April 15th rolling around. Of course, if you don’t yet have a retirement account in place, now would be a great time to get started.
Related: If you have little to invest with, you can open an account with Motif Investing for as little as $250!
Eliminate High Interest Debt
To start off the new year with a great feeling of financial freedom, use the last few months of 2015 to work on eliminating any high interest debt that you may be carrying. Even if you can’t completely wipe out these debts just yet, making a couple of big payments will help reduce the amount of interest that you are paying on a monthly basis.
If you have multiple credit cards you might also want to consider an unsecured loan to help lower your interest and reduce the number of payments you have to make each month. You can get rates as low as 9.95% through Avant, for example, and save significant money in the long run.
Donate to Charity
While working on your own finances, you probably aren’t too concerned with donating to charity – but it is something that you should consider anyway. Giving to a cause that is important to you is a great feeling, and there are often tax benefits as well. Do your research ahead of time so you can dedicate your money to a cause that you truly believe in.
Get Everything in Order
Do you know where all of your money is going each month? If not, now is as good a time as any to get organized. Rather than ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ when it comes to finances, start tracking every dollar that you spend in order to optimize your budget.
There is a great sense of freedom and confidence that comes along with know just how much money you have at your disposal. You may wonder the best way to get everything in order and what kind of tool you can use. I personally use Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a free tool that allows you to track spending, monitor accounts your investments all in one place.
Evaluate Your Income Options
Budgeting is great, and you can do wonders for your bank account simply by making good buying choices. However, there is nothing quite like making more money to ease the strain on your financial life. Prior to the end of the year, take a close look at what options you may have for increasing your income – either though a raise at your current job, or perhaps through a secondary income stream, like a side hustle.
Which of these things are on your to-do list? Do you have other financial goals you want to accomplish before the end of the year?
Photo courtesy of: HeatherPaque