This post is excerpted from our Ultimate 2014 Financial Calendar.
Remember, remember that all of November … can be the perfect time to get your money life in order. (That was the original quotation, right?)
But, seriously, before you know it, you’ll be stuffing yourself with turkey and filling family and friends’ stockings with gifts. That leaves precious little time for financial planning, which is why you’ll want to start tackling your end-of-year money to-dos now.
Luckily, we’re here to help with some of the most important tasks, from setting up your holiday budget to donating money to charity. Check out our list—and make sure you stick to those deadlines!
1. Check Your Credit Score
Feeling nostalgic? We are, because it’s time for your final credit checkup of 2014. Just like you did back in August, pull a free copy of your credit report card at Credit Karma and review it carefully. If something looks amiss, be sure to alert your credit company ASAP. And while you’re in credit-score mode, head over to our Credit IQ quiz to see if you really know your stuff.
2. Budget for the Holiday Season
Between the bottle of perfume you’re buying Aunt Lucy for Christmas and the batch of latkes you’re serving at your annual Hanukkah bash, the “most wonderful time of year” can easily turn into a financial disaster. That’s why it’s important to create a budget, with limits for each spending category, in advance of the official holiday season. Stumped as to how to save on the festivities? Take a tip from these 12 budgeters, who use tricks like flying at non-peak times and DIY-ing holiday décor.
3. Plan Your Charitable Donations
If you included charitable giving in your 2014 budget, now’s the time to make your contributions. It’s also a great opportunity to start strategizing for next year’s charitable giving, so you don’t feel inundated by all those requests for donations come December 2015.
4. Investigate Financial Aid Options
According to a recent report, just four in five high school students complete the FAFSA. Don’t be that fifth guy (or girl)! School can be expensive—and you’ll never know if you’re eligible for grants, scholarships and federal loans to help pay for it ... unless you apply. Remember that the government starts accepting applications January 1, and the sooner you submit your forms, the better your chances of getting some kind of financial assistance. So start researching your options and gathering your documents now.
5. Discuss Money With the Family
Maybe the moment Mom brings out the Thanksgiving turkey isn’t the best time to start asking everyone how much they earned this year. But at some point this month, make it a priority to broach at least one money-related issue with your relatives. That could mean talking to your kids about budgeting for their soccer lessons or figuring out how to cover the costs of caring for your aging parents—whatever you feel will most help you achieve your financial goals.
LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc., that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.