Your October 2011 Financial To-Dos
This year, we’re finding it harder than ever to believe that the seasons have changed already, but we won’t complain about the return of warm pumpkin drinks. Of course, along with those come the to-dos that accompany the transition to autumn: Thinking up Halloween ideas that will outdo last year’s, planning for the holidays and still setting aside some me time in between.
Every month, we bring you the top financial to-dos so you can take care of what you need to, then get on with your life.
Here’s what we have in store:
Stay on Top of Your Health. Deadline: Monday, October 3
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so take this opportunity to perform a self breast exam (WebMD shows you how to do it, step-by-step). If you’re over the age of 40, you should also make an appointment to have your annual mammogram, if you haven’t already (here’s what the Mayo Clinic says on the matter). After all, your financial health is closely tied to your physical health, and the latter enables you to enjoy the former.
Check Your Credit Score. Deadline: Wednesday, October 5
We recommend you check your credit score once each season to make sure that there haven’t been any errors on the part of the credit reporting agencies. This magic number helps lenders decide whether you’re worthy of their credit when applying for a credit card or a mortgage. In addition to making sure that there haven’t been any unexpected issues, it’s good to check your score a few times a year to make sure you’re on track—besides, it’s fun to watch that number go up and up. For instructions on how to check your own number, read this.
If You’re a Mom, Sign Up. Deadline: Wednesday, October 12
You speak, we listen. Parents have unique money concerns on their minds, so we’re excited to launch a daily newsletter just for the moms in our audience. This will be your go-to for everything from creating your whole household budget to teaching your kids about money. LV Moms will kick off on Monday, October 17, so reserve your spot now.
If you’re not a mom but are still looking for a little something extra, check out The Market by LearnVest, our newest weekly newsletter that sums up what’s been going on with the economy each week and how it impacts your bottom line. You can sign up here.
Reassess Your Budget. Deadline: Monday, October 17
Before you start plotting out your holiday plan, make sure you’re on top of your everyday budget. Track exactly how much you’re earning and spending with LearnVest’s My Money Center, where you can customize the different categories of your budget and figure out, for example, exactly how much you can afford to spend on gifts.
If your life has changed in any way (you’ve gotten a raise, are planning to get married or have a child, or have any other big upcoming event that will change your relationship with money), adjust your budget to reflect that.
Set Aside “You” Time. Deadline: Monday, October 24
By this time of year, the summer vacation zen has worn off, work is busy again, the holidays loom and it’s easy to forget about our own needs. So give yourself a day. No obligations, nothing you “have” to do. Tell your friends and family that this day is off-limits, and disconnect. Whether that means reading a novel with a glass of red wine, tackling a fun cooking project or simply sleeping to your heart’s content, taking time for yourself is an important ingredient in achieving your goals.
Gear Up for Your Employee Review: Wednesday, October 26
Most employee reviews happen in the fall or around the new year. In preparation for this one-on-one with your boss, sign up for our Build Your Career Bootcamp, our ten-day course on standing out at work and achieving your career goals. Also, make a list of your accomplishments over the past year and try to attach numbers wherever you can (you saved your company thousands of dollars, trained however many new employees, or landed a big new account). With these talking points and the bootcamp’s tips, you’ll be able to negotiate your salary—which you should—with ease.
WHAT TO BUY IN OCTOBER:
|Jeans: Anything that didn’t sell during back-to-school season will now be available for less|
|Health insurance: If you haven’t already signed up for a health plan for next year, open enrollment season may be your only opportunity|
|Big appliances: Retailers are making room for new appliances like fridges and washing machines, so this is a great time to buy last year’s models; aim to shop over Columbus Day weekend|
|Swimsuits: Swimwear can easily be as much as 90% off as retailers try to get rid of it—a great chance to stock up for next year|
|Gas grills: Pick these up on sale now that the summer season has ended|