It’s Time for a Spending Detox

It’s Time for a Spending Detox

January is for making hopeful resolutions, but February is when your more pragmatic side takes over—which means it’s time to put thought into action. Whether you want to save money, get more organized, budget better or boost your career, these five to-dos can help you make progress on those financial goals and more.

Gather Your Tax Paperwork

Deadline: Wednesday, February 8

Most people think of April as tax season, but in reality it's already begun. Now is the perfect time to start getting your forms in order so that you're not scrambling a few months from now: Think W-2s, 1099s and any receipts for those deductions you plan on taking. Speaking of deductions, make sure you’re not missing out on any of these often-overlooked ones.

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Talk Money With Your Honey

Deadline: Saturday, February 11

You may have put the finishing touches on your Valentine’s Day plans (couple's spa time and dinner at your favorite spot) but if you've got a spouse or serious sweetie, there are some other important decisions you'll need to ponder; namely, ones that affect your money. In fact, 68% of Americans in relationships say finances are a bigger source of tension with their partner than their sex life, according to the LearnVest 2016 Money Habits & Confessions Survey. So make another date—this time to review your joint financial goals and how you might meet them together, whether that's saving for a house, traveling more or retiring comfortably.

Devise a Career Game Plan

Deadline: Thursday, February 16

The often-dreaded year-end review process may be behind you, but that doesn’t mean you can start slipping out for long lunches. Now that you’ve had a sit-down with your manager and received feedback and new goals for the year, it’s time to strategize how you’ll meet (or exceed) expectations. That way, come next January, you can look forward to nothing but praise—and hopefully a nice pay bump or promotion.

Try a 7-Day Spending Detox

Deadline: Sunday, February 19

If two of your resolutions for 2017 were to spend less and save more, you might be finding that harder to execute than you originally thought. Here's one experiment that might help: Try going cold turkey on a frequent expense for just a week. Whether it’s those Seamless orders you turn to after a long work day, or the Groupon deals that seem too good to pass up, take a seven-day hiatus and keep track of how much you didn't spend over your usual routine. Then think of that number as the amount you could be putting into saving—it could help flip the script on how you view your budget, helping you take a more holistic approach.

Prep for Wedding and Vacation Season

Deadline: Monday, February 27

It may be hard to think about in the dead of winter, but wedding and vacation season will be here before you know it—and with that comes travel, accommodation and gift expenses that can add up. If you haven't already, estimate how much you think you’ll be spending this year on those joyous (but pricey) events, then divide the total by the number of months you have left until they come up. Creating a monthly savings target this way can help you avoid busting your budget later.

We know money isn’t the most comfortable thing to talk—or even think—about. So we’re here to help! Save your goal and we’ll help you stick with it at learnvest.com/havethetalk!

This publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.

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