Your September 2011 Financial To-Dos

Your September 2011 Financial To-Dos

Woman lying down in leavesWith the summer drawing to a close, we’re feeling a little nostalgic, but we're excited for cooler weather and end-of-year festivities. (Okay, they’re still a while away, but it’s not too early to start thinking ahead.)

As life revs up again and students head back to school, it's the perfect time to get your home and finances organized in order to sail through to the end of the year. We’ve created an essential September to-do list so you can check these items off and get on with what really matters.

Reassess Your Budget. Deadline: Thursday, September 1

Things tend to get more serious once the summer ends, but don’t let them get too serious. Make sure your budget is on track … so you can forget about it and move on to more fun things. To track exactly how much you’re earning and spending, visit LearnVest’s My Money Center to link up your accounts. This will help you define the different categories your expenses fall into, so your budget will be as personalized and individualized as you are. If your life has changed in any way (you’ve gotten a raise, are planning to get married or have a child, or anything else that will change the way you view money), set up a new budget that fits where you are right now.

If you're a mom, you have unique budgeting needs and concerns. To help you balance your busy lifestyle (and budget), we'll be launching LV Moms, a daily newsletter made just for you. LV Moms will kick off on October 17, so reserve your spot now.

Go Through Your Closet. Deadline: Wednesday, September 7

As work kicks back into full gear, the promise of cold weather sets in and holiday shopping looms on the horizon, spend a little time with your wardrobe this weekend. Toss, sell or donate whatever summer clothes you didn't even touch this summer. If you have nice summer clothing that you would like to sell to a consignment shop, pack it away with the rest of your clothing to save for spring, as consignment shops only accept in-season clothing. If you did this with your fall clothing last year, you can pull it out and consign it now.

Figure out what clothing you have and what you’ll need to buy for the rest of the year. Do you need better work clothes or new winter boots? Decide on that now so you can spend, save and take your time looking for sales accordingly. (What percent of your total budget should go to work clothing?)

Get Informed. Deadline: Wednesday, September 14

Jump on the back-to-school bandwagon even if you’re not in school. Keep learning everything you can about your finances with LV Courses, which take you through the same financial planning steps that you’d go through with a professional financial planner. Learn about perfecting your budget, creating your foundational plan, how to invest, how to have the “money talk” with your significant other and more. For a rundown of our course offerings, click here.

Once you've learned the basics, take your investing knowledge to the next level by signing up for our upcoming weekly newsletter, the Market, which will delve more deeply into harder financial topics and provide analysis on current economic events. The Market will launch on September 16; sign up in advance.

Plan for Holiday Travel. Deadline: Thursday, September 22

Get all of your holiday plans ironed out now. The longer you wait, the likelier prices are to rise. We like the Bing plane ticket price predictor to figure out whether to buy now or later, but even if it predicts you should wait, make sure to solidify your plans and have all your research done in advance. Once you’re ready to buy, check out our comparison of online travel sites here.

Make a Holiday Gift Plan. Deadline: Monday, September 26

It’s not too early to start deciding whom you’ll give gifts to this holiday season and how much you’ll spend—that way you’ll be on alert if you happen to pass by a sale between now and then. This will also be your road map so you can start saving up rather than going overboard two months from now on Black Friday. (When the day comes, you’ll be impeccably prepared with all you need upfront and no credit card debt.)

List out all of the people you’d like to buy for and the maximum you’ll spend on their gifts. For a guide to office holiday gift etiquette (like whether you have to give a gift to your coworkers), read this.

What to Buy in September

Laptop Computers
Whether or not you’re headed back to school, get in on sales for the off-to-college crowd.
Bottle of red wine Wine
The harvest is coming in around this season, so you can sometimes find eclectic wines for a good price from smaller wineries.
Plate and table utensils isolated on white China and Flatware
Get in on the remaining inventory left over from the wedding season rush.
Mp3 player and headphones MP3 Players
Some stores put these on sale to make way for the latest models that are due around October.

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