LV Moms’ November Financial To-Dos

November To-DosPlanning Thanksgiving dinner. Coordinating holiday details with relatives across the country. Preparing for our end-of-year review at work. Finding precious time with our kids at home.

Yeah, you could say we’re busy.

At the beginning of every month, we will bring you the top to-dos to streamline your financial life. We’ve thought through everything you need to do … so you don’t have to. Complete these tasks by the suggested deadlines, and you’ll be ready to move on to what really matters.

Check these off your list: 

Schedule All Your Child’s Doctor Appointments. Deadline: Wednesday, November 2

Many health plans provide for a certain number of doctor visits and checkups per year. Figure out which appointments will be covered for your child by your policy every year, and schedule them now so you can get in before the end of the year.

If your open enrollment period hasn’t passed yet, make sure you’re currently on the very best health insurance plan for your family’s needs. Here’s how.

Reassess Your Budget. Deadline: Monday, November 7

If you haven’t already planned out your holiday gift budget, now’s the time to catch up. (Here’s the new gift list technique we’re following this year, and part one of our gift guide for kids.)

When budgeting for gifts for lots of people, the most crucial information will be how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and how much you can afford to spend on presents. Track this info through LearnVest’s My Money Center, where you can also adjust your budget if you’re planning any life changes in the near future, like having another a baby.

Choose a Guardian. Deadline: Wednesday, November 9

Over the holidays, we reunite with friends and family that we might not normally see during the year. If you were no longer able to take care of your child, and didn’t have a guardian picked out, a judge would swoop in and choose someone. In most cases the court would first try finding the closest living relative ... which could be your 80-year-old great-aunt, or your third cousin twice removed. Use holiday reunions as a chance to think about who you would most trust to raise your child in your absence. Here's a guide to choosing a guardian, and here's a tip sheet on how to ask the person you've chosen.

Talk to Kids About Charity. Deadline: Thursday, November 17

Start by deciding how much you plan to give to charity this year, and where you plan to give it. After you’ve decided, talk to your kids about why you chose the organizations and causes you did. Focus not on the amount but on why it’s important to help others. Ask older kids what causes they care about and get the family involved by planning a day of volunteering.

Note: Whenever you make a donation of money or items like clothing, remember to keep a record so you don’t miss out on a tax deduction next April. (What you need to know about charitable tax deductions.)

Practice Thanks as a Family. Deadline: Thursday, November 24

Let kids in on the concept of financial gratitude. Sit down as a family to talk about what each one of you is thankful for, and emphasize the fact that some of the things you’re most thankful for go beyond material objects. Ask kids what they’re most thankful for, and, depending on how old they are, consider having them draw pictures to illustrate these things. As for you? Share what you’re thankful for about your finances in the Confessions & Triumphs section of our community forums, LV Discussions.

WHAT TO BUY IN NOVEMBER

What To Buy When

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Winter Boots, Clothing and Coats:

Get in on winter sales now for the best selection

Suits:

Around the new year, stores discount their fall suits

Perfume:

A popular holiday gift, perfume is often on sale after the season

Home Furnishings:

Retailers are making room for new inventory

Calendars:

Just after the new year, prices are drastically reduced

Carpets and Flooring:

Many people spruce up their homes during the holidays, so prices plummet afterwards

Big Appliances:

Stock not sold during the holiday rush is now heavily discounted

Linens and Bedding:

Ever-popular "white sales" make January the best month for these items

Holiday Supplies:

If you're willing and able to store cards and wrapping paper for a year, you can find them now for up to 80% off

Office Furniture:

Retailers cater to home businesses starting around the new year

Video Games:

New games are released for the holidays, but you can get them marked down afterwards

Winter Boots, Clothing and Coats:

The selection is sparser, but the sales are steeper

Perfume:

Score a deal after Valentine’s Day

Homes:

Bad weather keeps buyers at bay, so competition is weak, and sellers are eager

Home Renovations:

You’ll pay less and get more attention from contractors, because few people renovate so early in the year

Bicycles:

Retailers mark down older models to make room for new inventory in February and March

Cameras:

New models come out in January and February, so buy last year’s version at a discount

Home Entertainment Systems:

The best TV and home theater sales come just before the Super Bowl

Video Games:

New games are released for the holidays, so you can get them marked down after the rush

Chocolates and Candy:

Buy after Valentine’s Day, of course

Sweaters and Cashmere:

Prices can be reduced by as much as 25% to 40% from the end of March through April

China and Flatware:

Get in on inventory left over from the holidays

Air Conditioners:

Don’t wait for the weather to get hot; demand is low now, as are prices

Gas Grills:

As with air conditioners, demand and prices are low

Gardening Tools:

Rakes, hoes, shovels and other gardening implements are as much as 50% off

Frozen Food:

It’s National Frozen Food Month, so supermarkets celebrate with sales

Sweaters and Cashmere:

Stock up now on next winter's sweaters with steep sales

Sneakers:

In spring, stores entice warm-weather runners with sales

Vacuum Cleaners:

Retailers slash prices now to make room for new models in June

Snow Blowers:

Come April, demand is low, so scoop up one for next year

Office Furniture:

Retailers cater to home businesses starting after tax season

Cruises:

This is the season for repositioning cruises, which have fewer ports of call but are cheaper and of great value

Electronics:

After the Japanese fiscal year closes at the end of March, retailers make room for new models of Japanese electronics

Sweaters and Cashmere:

Prices can be reduced by as much as 25% to 40%

Vacuum Cleaners:

Retailers slash prices now to make room for new models in June

Cookware:

Graduation and wedding promotions mean you should buy pots and pans now

Refrigerators:

New fridges come out during the summer, so stores are clearing space; negotiate a deal

Big Appliances:

Stock not sold during the holiday rush is now heavily discounted

Patio Furniture:

Warm weather means newer models, so buy last season’s styles now

Grilling Supplies:

Get charcoal and lighter fluid before summer kicks into high gear and prices go up

Small Kitchen Appliances:

Get your mixers and blenders now, when there are sales for wedding and graduation season

Party Supplies:

Whether or not you’re throwing a graduation party, stock up on disposable plates, cups, etc.

Electronics:

After the Japanese fiscal year closes at the end of March, retailers make room for new models of Japanese electronics

Mattresses and Box Springs:

Stores want to make room for new models, so negotiate a good deal now

Men’s Suits:

Father’s Day sales mean low prices

Tools:

Father’s Day strikes again

Cookware:

It’s not only wedding bells that are ringing—registers are ringing with sales of pots and pans

Paint:

When it’s hot out, no one feels like painting … which is why it’s cheap at this time of year

Butter:

Butter production is at its best in June and July, so prices are accordingly low; freeze for up to six months to make it last

Champagne and Sparkling Wine:

There are usually deals for bubbly during the holidays and before June weddings

Gym Memberships:

The outdoors beckon, so gyms are offering deals

Suits:

Get a spring suit—in the middle of summer

Furniture:

Retailers are clearing space to make room for new inventory

Big Appliances:

Take advantage of Independence Day sales

Paint:

When it’s hot out, no one feels like painting … which is why it’s cheap at this time of year

Butter:

Butter production is at its best in June and July, so prices are accordingly low; freeze for up to six months to make it last

Flip-flops:

Ever-useful flip-flops are harder to find later in the year; buy them now when retailers still have them in stock and they’re on sale

School Supplies:

Back-to-school sales!

Trees, Shrubs, Plants:

Nab end-of-summer deals late in the month, and store your plants according to instructions until next spring. Alternatively, buy bulbs, which you can plant whenever

Lawn Mowers and Swing Sets:

Stores discount these summer items now to make room for fall products

Computers:

Capitalize on back-to-school sales

MP3 Players:

Stores want to get rid of old models before October when new styles come out and the holiday rush begins

China and Flatware:

Get in on the inventory left over from wedding season

Wine:

The harvest is coming in, so you can find eclectic wines from smaller wineries early in the season

Computers:

Upgrade yours during back-to-school sales

Jeans:

The remainders from back-to-school season are now available inexpensively for kids and adults

MP3 Players:

Stores want to get rid of old models before October, when new styles come out and the holiday rush begins

Cars:

Next year’s models have arrived, so dealers want to sell the current year’s leftovers, giving you negotiating leverage

Holiday Airfare:

It’s about eight weeks before Thanksgiving, so make travel plans before flights book up and prices skyrocket

Jeans:

The back-to-school sales continue, with sparser selection but steeper discounts

Swimsuits:

Cash in on swimwear sales now through November

Big Appliances:

Buy last year’s models now; shop during Columbus Day weekend, because stores celebrate even small holidays with sales

Air Conditioners:

Temperatures are cooling, and so are prices

Gas Grills:

Pick these up now for next summer

School Supplies:

Back-to-school sales!

Toys:

Retailers lower prices as early as October in order to maximize holiday sales

Cars:

Next year’s models have arrived, so dealers want to sell the current year’s leftovers, giving you negotiating leverage

Health Insurance:

Open enrollment may be your one chance to sign up for insurance for next year

Wedding Dresses:

Wedding fever is at its lowest pitch now

Swimsuits:

Swimwear is as much as 90% off, but selection is low

Cookware:

Kitchenware becomes cheaper as the holidays approach

Christmas Trees:

For the best selection, get your tree right after Thanksgiving; it’ll stay good for at least a month, and trees later in the season have been cut weeks earlier anyway

Frozen Turkeys:

Buy one immediately after Thanksgiving, when grocery stores still have a glut

Toys:

Retailers are slashing prices to maximize holiday sales

Electronics:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer great deals on everything from TVs to computers

Wedding Dresses:

The beginning of December is the slow season, so get in before holiday engagements

Televisions:

In the run up to the holidays, stores have big sales on TVs

Pools:

Off-season, you’ll find the cheapest prices, though maybe not the best inventory

Small Kitchen Appliances:

Get your mixer and blender during holiday sales

Champagne and Sparkling Wine:

Although these are in high demand, prices are also more competitive than usual

Frozen Meat:

Buy this immediately after Christmas, when grocery stores still have a glut

Print out your full to-do list, so you can check off your to-dos as you complete them.