Your November 2016 Financial To-Dos

Your November 2016 Financial To-Dos

Cooler temps, changing leaves, the scent of pumpkin spice and baked apples: Welcome to November! The holidays are nearly upon us. And while that often means reunions with family and friends, it can also mean a deluge of year-end spending, whether you’re hosting a big Thanksgiving dinner, traveling or getting a jump on gift buying.

But fear not—we’ve put together five tasks to help you stay on track with your financial goals without a considerable time commitment … because we don’t want you to miss out on any seasonal festivities either.

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1. Get Up to Speed on Election Issues

Deadline: Friday, November 4

Pumpkin or pecan pie isn’t the only big decision you’ll have to make in November. In case you haven’t heard, months of presidential campaigning will finally come to a head on Tuesday, November 8. If you've been avoiding the media circus, it's time to lift the ban and read up on what really matters—the issues—because your money could be affected very differently depending on who takes office. So check out our cheat sheet on how Clinton and Trump's policies could impact your finances, and then get out there and cast your ballot on Election Day.

2. Conduct a Utility Audit

Deadline: Monday, November 14

If you’re still haunted by last year’s winter bills, now is the time to get proactive so you don’t experience the same pinch to your wallet this year. Check to see what you've been paying for your utilities and gauge whether those prices seem high. Then create a checklist of what you think you can do to save energy before temperatures dip too low. If you're unsure of where to start, check out these easy ways to cut your energy bills—even if you’re a renter.

3. Check Your Credit Report and Score

Deadline: Friday, November 18

Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce … credit report? As you do a final run-through to make sure you’re in good shape for the big meal, make sure your finances are in the same sound condition. Pull your credit report from one of the major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian or TransUnion—each of which you can tap once a year for a free report. Scout for any any errors that may have appeared, and while you're at it, check in on your credit score; while a high number may not always mean you’re in good financial health, it’s important to keep tabs on your score so you know how lenders may view your creditworthiness.

4. Plan Your Charitable Donations

Deadline: Saturday, November 26

You just spent the past few days giving thanks for your good fortune. So now is the time to start thinking about paying it forward through the charitable donations you may be thinking of making before the end of the year. Not only is there a correlation between generosity and good health, but it’s also a good time to teach kids about the importance of giving back.

5. Start Tackling Your Credit Card Debt

Deadline: Tuesday, November 29

As we mentioned earlier, 'tis the season for large, out-of-the-norm expenditures. Big end-of-year costs have the potential to blow your budget and make you reach for your plastic, but you don’t want to start the new year burdened with debt. So now is the perfect time to take stock of your credit card debt and start devising a plan to tackle it the smart way. (Psst ... sticking to your holiday budget is one way to help ensure you don’t fall back into the debt spiral.)

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