As people celebrate all the different holidays that fall in December they have a natural tendency to think very little about their financial matters. It isn’t really a good idea any year and definitely not this year as many have all probably picked up a few habits that will be detrimental if there isn’t a focus on money matters.
What is one of the biggest reasons to keep focused on our money?
Unfortunately if we don’t continue to think about our financial matters, we all have the tendency to start making poor financial decisions especially when it comes to spending during these last two weeks of the year. It is can be vacation spending on steroids if people aren’t careful and this overspending could lead to a tough situation in 2021.
What are the biggest areas of spending that cause problems?
During the last two weeks of the year if is definitely eating out and online shopping. One of the habits many have fallen into during the pandemic is ordering takeout and buying online. We all get the mobile notifications that generate the fear of missing out on a great deal. It is so easy to click the link and get dinner delivered or buy that one thing you have been putting off.
Are there certain money habits that we should be sure to continue?
If you are planning to spend a little, make sure you still comparison shop and also look for discounts. And another great habit is to make sure you don’t buy any in season merchandise, waiting until the offseason will definitely save you significant money. Finally, just make sure that if you up your takeout spending to decrease spending in another area so that you have a balanced budget at the end of the month.
Are there any important financial moves that need to be completed before the end of the year?
There are a handful that have year-end deadlines. Tax friendly moves include charitable donations, fully funding health savings account and making 529 college savings plan contributions. For those with employee benefits, many enrollment decisions have to be completed by the end of the year if not before now. All of these can’t wait until next year so if they haven’t been completed don’t wait any longer.
Why else is it important to keep financially focused during the rest of the year?
This is the time of year that can see an increase in fraudulent charges and because most people have increased their activity during this time of the year, they might notice the fraud. Early detection is important and one of the best ways to combat fraud is to regularly monitor your accounts through activity alerts. Identifying and reporting it early can help keep the situation from being difficult to resolve.