Remember those financial goals you set way back in January? With the holidays and the end of the year approaching, fall is a great time to revisit your goals and set straight any that may have gone awry. Here are five financial moves to make this season.
1. Build an emergency fund
Set aside any extra money you come across to build your emergency fund. Even a small amount cushions you against unexpected medical expenses, or home or car repairs. A high-yield online savings account is a good place to park your emergency fund.
If your emergency savings are already in good shape, then use that extra money to pay down credit card or mortgage debt, or put it toward next year’s spring break trip.
2. Boost your retirement savings
Are you maximizing your 401(k) contributions? Now is a good time to consider increasing your contributions for the rest of this year.
Your minimum goal should be to contribute enough to get any employer match your company offers. If your company’s match is 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to 6% of your salary, for example, increase your contributions to at least 6% to take advantage of that benefit.
If you can, boost your contributions to 10% to 15% of your paychecks through the end of the year. The IRS allows you to contribute up to $18,000 a year, and the amount is deducted from your taxable income. Those older than 50 can contribute an extra $6,000 to build up their nest eggs as retirement gets closer.
3. Budget for Black Friday
Ready or not, the countdown to Black Friday is on, and now’s the time to boost savings for a few well-planned splurges.
Setting up a weekly automatic transfer of $25 from your checking to your savings account beginning Sept. 1 will give you $300 to spend on Black Friday.
Spending on occasions like Black Friday can act as a release that makes it easier to stick to a budget, just like cheat days can help dieters stay on track with weight-loss goals.
4. Prepare for open enrollment
If you have a health plan through your employer or a health insurance exchange, open enrollment is your annual opportunity to assess your health insurance and other company benefits. Open enrollment for employer-based plans is typically in October or November. For federal and state marketplace plans, it’s Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2017.
Tally out-of-pocket medical and day care expenses you’ve spent this year to estimate how much to allocate for next year’s flexible spending and dependent care accounts. Check on your company’s deadline for spending the funds in your current FSA, so you don’t accidentally miss it and lose the money.
5. Use technology to pay off debt
If your 2018 goals included reducing debt, and you’re not quite where you want to be at this point, check out tech tools designed to organize your accounts and get rid of debt faster.
Plan for holiday gift-giving by using an apps that track your budget and expenditures to curb impulse buying.
Article courtesy of NerdWallet.com.