With the onset of the Holiday and Christmas seasons, it’s easy to focus all my thinking on shopping for gifts, going to parties, baking (and eating!) cookies, the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, and spending time with family and friends. My wife and I were looking at our schedule and from the first of November to the second weekend in January, we’re swamped with things to do but I’m adding just a few more that are just as important, but more in a financial sense. And they’re simple to do!
I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over. –Warren Buffett
1. Get ready for tax season
I always estimate my taxes during the month of December so I can make any decisions about minor medical procedures. If I think I will only be “close” on being able to deduct my medical expenses, I will go ahead and have either my wife, my children, or myself get their checkup, flu shot, or other procedure done before year end. This can include dental care, vision care, or other medical care.
If you have a flexible spending account for health care, you’ve hopefully been saving a little bit here and there each paycheck. Most plans are “use it or lose it” so you’ll need to spend the money you’ve saved in the account by the end of the year or you lose all of it. Check with your human resources or payroll department to see how much money you still have left in the account, what expenses are allowed under your employer’s plan, and then use what you have saved up by the end or the year so you don’t lose your hard earned dollars.