December not only represents the holiday season, but it also signifies the end of the year. We have just a few more weeks left of this year, and the next year will quickly be upon us. Rather than waiting until January to get our resolutions together, this is the perfect time to start preparing your finances for the next year. Now is the time to start preparing for a great next year. Here are some things you can do to get started:
Gather your receipts: This is a good time to start gathering all of your important receipts from the things you purchased or donated this year. Many people get their W2s either at the end of this month or the beginning of next month, so having your receipts together will give you a jump start on your taxes.
Build your savings again: If you have utilized your savings to buy Christmas presents, you may want to start building your savings up again. If you’re anticipating a bonus, this would be the perfect time to add some money to your savings account.
Analyze your year’s spending: Take some time to go through the spending you did this year. If you have online banking, your bank may help you by having your statement available. Use a budgeting program to categorize how you spent your money, and see how it stacked up against your budget. Did you stay within your budget? You can make some adjustments to next year’s budget as you see fit.
See how much time you have left in debt: If you have some debt to pay off, make it your goal to reduce or eliminate that debt. Make a plan to make more than the minimum payment on your bills in order to pay your balances. Try to resist using your credit cards to buy gifts this holiday season as well.
Look for further opportunities at work: You have been working hard at work, and it may be the right time to ask for a promotion or raise. Consider your progress this year, and set up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your growth with the company. That would be a great way to start off the new year.
Don’t miss open enrollment: If your job offers medical and health benefits, open enrollment may be closing before the end of the year. If you’re not already taking advantage of the benefits, you’ll want to enroll yourself and/or your family members before the deadline.
Get started on your business: Maybe last year was the time you decided you were going to start your own business, but 2013 is the year you’re going to make it happen. This is a great time to get started, while everyone else is slowing down business-wise.
December is a great time for reflection, as well as action. Learn from all the things that happened this year, and make goals for what you want to happen in the next year.