1. Increase Your Retirement Contributions
If you’re saving in a 401(k), increase your contributions by 1%. If you have an IRA that you’re not maxing out, start saving $100 more each month.
2. Review Your Energy Usage
It’s the middle of the summer, which likely means that your energy costs are through the roof. Take a closer look at your usage, and try to cut back on your bill using these methods.
3. Take Advantage of 4th of July Sales
In the market for a big-ticket item, like a TV or grill? Check out promotions for Independence Day–many major retailers offer significant discounts on these items now.
1. Check Your Credit Score.
As in February and May, review your credit score at Credit Karma to make sure that your score stays steady–or keeps going up! If there’s a dramatic drop, take a close look at your accounts to see if there’s been any strange activity.
2. Research Your Company’s Open Enrollment Season
Open enrollment is the short period of time when employers let their employees make changes to their insurance policies, as well as set up or adjust contributions to accounts like HSAs or FSAs. Review your current benefits, find out your options and decide whether you need to make any changes. Additionally, sign up for long-term disability if this is an option for you–many people overlook this valuable benefit. If you have children or other dependents, also look into term life insurance.
3. Set Up a 529 Plan or Another College Savings Account
Back-to-school season is approaching. If you haven’t done so yet, set up a college savings account, like a 529 plan, in order to start saving for your child or grandchild’s college education.
1. Pay Taxes If You’re a Freelancer, Small Business Owner or Self-Employed
Q2 estimated tax payments are due September 16th.
2. Start Thinking About Year-End Tax Planning
Call your CPA or a tax professional to make sure that you’ve been withholding enough on your taxes, and find out if there are any additional steps that you can take now to reduce your 2014 tax bill.
3. Create a Holiday Gift Budget
Review your holiday spending from last year, and decide on a holiday gift budget in advance. Create a separate account, and start funding it between now and December, so you’re not strapped for cash by the time party invites start flooding your inbox.
4. Book Your Thanksgiving Travel
For the best deals, aim to book your flights the Tuesday after Labor Day. Here’s more about the best time to book flights for all locations.
5. Pull Your Credit Report
As you did in May, download your credit report from Annualcreditreport.com to review your profile. And write to your credit bureau if you spot any errors!
6. Look at Your Roth IRA
If you converted to a Roth IRA in 2011, and it subsequently lost a lot of money, you can “recharacterize” until October 15th. This means that you can change it back to a traditional IRA or move the funds to your 401(k), and get back the taxes that you paid on the higher amount, before changing it again to a Roth IRA. This will allow you to pay lower taxes if your account dropped significantly in value once you converted.