Between standing in line for your pumpkin spice latte and starting your holiday gift list, don’t forget to block off some time to check in on your money goals. After all, there are only three months left in the year, so finish them out strong. Start by tuning up your finances with these five October challenges – you’ll thank yourself later.
1. Get a Head Start on the FAFSA
Deadline: Thursday, October 5
Students planning to attend college between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 can start filling out their FAFSA form as early as October 1. Filling out financial aid forms is no one’s idea of a fun time, so get the task done now to rest easy later. Make the process even smoother by following these five FAFSA pro tips.
2. Plan Your Holiday Travel
Deadline: Tuesday, October 10
The start of the holiday season will be here before you know it, so do yourself a service and plan your holiday travel ASAP. October is a great time to get a deal, according to airfare comparison site Hipmunk, so if your budget can handle it, consider booking your November and December travel now. Of course, if that's not in the cards, we've still got your back with these six last-minute holiday travel hacks.
3. File Your Taxes If You Asked for an Extension
Deadline: Friday, October 13
Yes, we see the humor in having this deadline fall on Friday the 13th — but if you didn't file your taxes on April 18, then you're nearing your do or die (get it?) deadline (October 16). Get the process started right now, and use our tax extension deadline guide to help you along the way.
4. Start Researching Your Company Benefits
Deadline: Friday, October 20
Most companies start prepping employees around this time for open enrollment season, the period during which you elect important employee benefits like health insurance, life insurance, disability coverage or whether to fund a flexible spending account, among others. Check out your options early so you don't make a rush decision and miss out on potential benefits. Start by figuring out if your company provides these four money-saving benefits.
5. Face Your Fear of Credit Card Debt
Deadline: Tuesday, October 31
This day is more of a symbolic deadline, seeing as how tackling your finances can sometimes feel as scary as a haunted hay ride. Make credit card debt the one fear you overcome this month, even if the thought of simply looking at your balances sends shivers down your spine. Avoiding these common pitfalls will help. Need some more inspiration? Consider these tips on how to stay motivated along your journey toward becoming debt-free.