As we look forward to the end of the year, it may be easy to shift back into the routine. Vacation time is over, the kids are back in school, and soon the holiday frenzy will be upon us! This time of year can impact your finances on many levels, so now is the time to make a plan for the remainder of 2019, and stick to it.
First, starting with Halloween, there are numerous holidays between now and the end of the year, and the majority of them involve either gift-giving, or additional grocery or other shopping expenses. Newsflash: these holidays occur EVERY YEAR, so why aren’t we planning for them better? For example, if we start with October, that gives you three months to try to spread the expenses associated with Christmas (especially gift-giving) out and budget for the spending accordingly. Saving up and/or paying for something over three months makes it much easier to digest than cramming all of that expense into one month – or worse, putting it on a high-interest credit card that you’ll be paying off well into the next year. And make sure your grocery budgets are adjusted to make room for that extra candy you’ll be passing out to trick-or-treaters in October, or the turkey and trimmings in November.
Another financial event that occurs in November for most people is annual open enrollment for benefit plans, whether it is through an employer or in the open marketplace. If this is not something you review thoroughly every year, you should! Make sure the plan you are enrolled in is right for you – most employers offer more than one option, and there are pros and cons to different options. If you’re looking to save on the monthly premium and you’re healthy, take a look at a high deductible plan coupled with a health savings account (HSA) to cover the deductible. By taking on the risk of a larger deductible, the monthly premiums you pay are substantially reduced. And an HSA allows you to basically set up a deductible sinking fund, tax-free – and if unused, that money rolls over from year to year. Even if a high deductible plan isn’t right for you, review your options and make sure what you’re signing up for works for you and your family. You may even want to enlist the help of a local insurance broker, especially if you aren’t offered insurance through your employer. Find a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider for health insurance HERE.
Finally, if funds are really tight, now is the best time to consider taking on a part-time job to help overcome the shortfall in your budget. Most retailers take on additional seasonal employees in the fall, and by working some evening or weekend hours, you could propel yourself much further along on your financial goals than you would have by just doing business as usual. So if you’re feeling the squeeze already, go fill out some applications and get ready to work the holiday rush!
Are you already feeling the frenzy of the approaching holiday season? Are you worried about how you’re going to fit everything in, financially? Let me help you develop a game plan for your money, so you can navigate the rest of the year successfully, and start 2020 on the right foot!