Before you know it, 2018 will be over and we’ll be heading full-steam into 2019. The end of the year is a great time to get your finances together and start thinking about what you want next year to look like.
Here are 10 money savvy moves you should make before the year-end:
1. Start thinking about your goals
I’m sure if you set financial goals at the beginning of the year, you’ve forgotten them. You should review them though to see which ones you can still accomplish. You’ve got two months to make it happen!
Think about which ones you didn’t accomplish and find out why. Decide if they’re goals that you want to take with you into 2019.
2. Start maxing out your investments
If you’ve started saving for retirement or financial independence, now’s a good time to look into maxing out those investment accounts. It’s good to max them out before 12/31, but you have until the tax deadline in April 2019 if you still need to contribute to your investments for 2018.
The maximum amount for IRAs is $5,500 and for 401ks it’s $18,500
If you haven’t started investing, and you believe you are in a position to get started. Try out one of my favorites places to get started investing, Acorns.
3. Get insured
Now is the perfect time of the year to start looking at your insurance policies. For health insurance, it’s open-enrollment season and the deadline is December 15th. That means if you want to change any of your insurance coverage you need to do so before the deadline.
Don’t hold off on this one. Talk to your HR department. If you don’t have an employer-sponsored plan, you can look at different policies in the marketplace.
Or if you’re fed up with the healthcare system like I am then maybe you can look into other alternatives such as a healthshare ministry. It’s what I decided to switch to in 2018 and I pay a lot less in premiums.
4. Pay off your debt
If you’ve found yourself in credit card debt already going into the holidays, do everything you can to get those credit cards paid off. Don’t go any further into debt for Thanksgiving and Christmas if you don’t have to. It’s not a great way to start the new year when you’re starting from a negative position.
5. Plan next years travel
I’m sure you have trips and vacations you’re planning on taking in 2019. Why not get started with your plans? Planning your trips months in advance will ensure you have the best experience. Start setting price alerts for hotels and flights so you can book your travel at the cheapest price possible.
Do a search for a flight in Google and when it asks you if you’d like to set notifications, say yes. You will be alerted when the prices drops or goes up. You can also track the history of the flight and it will tell you whether or not it’s likely the price will change.
6. Gather your tax documents now
Whether you do your taxes yourself or hire an accountant to do them for you, it’s helpful to start getting organized. Start adding up and categorizing your expenses. Especially, if you own a business. It’s crucial you gather all of the numbers together throughout the year so you have them organized and ready to go come tax time.
I’ve helped out people with their taxes and it’s really difficult when the person has no idea what they spent throughout the year in order to get tax deductions. This should be something you do because accountants usually cost a lot of extra money to go through your transactions throughout the year and categorize your expenses. Save yourself some money and track your expenses yourself. You can use Quickbooks, Freshbooks, or what I use personally Wave. It’s completely free and you get all the added benefits of the other software.
7. Review 2018 monthly and yearly income and expenses
Most people have no idea what they spend month-to-month let alone for the entire year. That’s why I’m such a big fan of connecting all of my accounts to platforms like Mint and Personal Capital because it tracks for me behind the scenes exactly how much money I spent in a given month and how much money I made. I’m able to see when there is net income or if I’m spending too much money. This has been the number one thing that allows me to create and stick to my goals.
Every year on New years eve my wife and I like to do a little get-away. We usually go to a hotel a few hours away and review all of our past year’s goals and spending and set clear goals going into the new year. These little trips around new years do so much for us! You have to make sure you create that time at the end of the year to review this stuff or you will never end up doing it.
8. Plan for the holidays (2019)
It’s funny how we know exactly when the holidays are. It’s guaranteed that they will be in November and December of every year. So why are so many of us surprised and unprepared when the holidays roll around?
Instead of paying for gifts with your credit card and paying them off for the next couple of months, why not start preparing for the holidays at the beginning of the year? You do this by taking a percentage of every paycheck you make throughout the year and set the money aside specifically for gifts. It will help reduce the stress of the holidays so much if you start preparing months in advance.
Start thinking about how you’re going to pay for gifts in 2019.
9. Live below your means
It’s easy to get carried away in believing you need this or that this time of year because it’s such an amazing deal. When we are constantly consuming and buying stuff, you very easily find yourself spending more money than you’re making. Remember to keep it simple this year and instead of worrying about buying stuff and thinking about what you can get this year. Why not think about having less and find ways to give more?
You’ll find more happiness in buying things for other people than you will for yourself.
10. Remember to have fun
With as stressful and overwhelming this list of money moves can seem, remember to have fun and enjoy life. There is always going to be more that you can do and there will always be someone who is doing it better. So part of having fun is learning to be grateful for what you already have because that will put you in the right mindset in order to enjoy whatever circumstance you find yourself in at the end of 2018.
I hope you find this list of 10 money-savvy moves to make before the end of the year helpful!
I have one question for you:
What is one thing you’re going to do before the end of the year that is going to help you the most with your finances?