September has arrived, and while that means fewer vacations and longer work weeks, it also brings back-to-school fever and that crisp air that signals the beginning of fall. As you start adjusting back to the regular swing of things, make sure to set aside some time over the next month to focus on your finances. We suggest checking off the five following tasks to keep your money goals on course.
1. Finalize Thanksgiving Travel
Deadline: Friday, Sept. 8
If you're that person who has family and friends located halfway across the country, take the time now to map out your Thanksgiving travel plans. As you probably already know, buying a plane ticket early can save you a significant amount of money down the road. And even if you aren’t traveling for Turkey Day, there’s no harm in nailing down when and where you’ll spend the special day before things get too hectic. Keep in mind this ranking of the best and worst airlines while you're booking, too.
2. Check In on Your Budget
Deadline: Sunday, Sept. 10
Between Labor Day travel, Thanksgiving, Christmas, back-to-school shopping and Black Friday, you’ll have a lot of excuses to bust your budget in the next four months. Take a pulse on how well you’ve been saving money since the beginning of the year, and plan accordingly for big expenses you know are on the horizon. It may seem obvious to plan ahead, but shopping for the holidays without a budget is more common than you might think.
3. Pay Self-Employment Taxes
Deadline: Friday, Sept. 15
September 15 marks the third-quarter estimated tax payment deadline for workers who are self-employed. To all the freelancers and business owners reading this, don’t wait until the day of to get started on your forms. Refresh your memory on self-employment taxes with this beginner’s guide from the IRS.
4. Assess Your Work Goals
Deadline: Thursday, Sept. 21
You may have already forgotten about those work goals you set for yourself back in January, but your boss certainly hasn’t. Whether you’re itching for a raise or trying to take on more responsibility, take the time now rather than later to create a plan for how you’ll reach those goals. Feeling inspired? Then take a look at these nine ways you can boost your career prospects.
5. Update Important Passwords
Deadline: Friday, Sept. 29
Last month, the man who wrote the rulebook on password protection admitted his advice wasn’t exactly legitimate. Common password protection rules – like mixing capital letters and incorporating special characters – are now said to be next to useless at keeping out hackers. And just because you haven’t experienced a hack yet doesn’t mean your passwords are strong. So check in on your accounts and change any weak passwords to keep your important information safe.