The busy holiday season kicks off this month, which can be demanding of your time and budget. Before diving into your end-of-year to-dos, take some time to tend to your financial health and prepare. Here are five ways you can improve your finances in November.
Give the gift of time
The past two holiday seasons have been quite different from what we’re used to, as the pandemic prevented many families from spending in-person time together.
As you look ahead to your holiday shopping list, consider reframing your gift-giving mindset. Focus on giving real-life experiences that allow you to rebuild those connections that were put on hold during the pandemic. This could even spark some fun new holiday family traditions that are budget-friendly, too.
Make sure all your buckets are filled
The end of the year is a great time to check items off your end-the-year financial checklist, like setting aside money for holiday gifts, replenishing your emergency fund or maximizing your retirement contributions.
If you’re fortunate to have money left over once you’ve topped off these funds, make a plan for how you’ll put that extra savings to work. But don’t worry too much if things didn’t quite shake out the way you planned — there’s always next year! Start thinking about how you can rebound from some common financial setbacks and get back on track.
Review your 2022 spending
Looking at the prior year’s spending can help you make informed decisions as you set a budget for the new year. Your goal here should be to prioritize what’s most important by identifying money you’re spending on things that don’t really matter to you.
If you share money with a partner, schedule some time to discuss changes you’d both like to make moving forward as you create a monthly budget. An updated budget and a financial plan are important for reaching all your financial milestones.
Review your insurance options
Most insurance companies begin open enrollment in November, which means you’ll be going through the yearly ritual of reviewing your benefits. While the focus this time of year is typically on health insurance, it’s a good time to also look at some of the other benefits you get through work, like life insurance and disability insurance.
You may want to consider supplementing what you get through work. Big life changes like getting married or having a baby may require more coverage than what’s offered through your work plan.
Set goals for next year and beyond
Life is constantly changing, so your financial plan probably is, too. Consider how flexible your finances are. A good financial plan can withstand life changes, market changes, and any other surprises that come your way.
Frequently checking in and making sure you’re maintaining strong financial habits that fit your personality, goals, and lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for your financial health.
Review your short- and long-term financial goals and examine how they align with your current financial plan. If you’re unsure how to do this on your own, a financial advisor can be a helpful resource.