Monday, December 28, 2015

January is coming, be ready!

If you’ve binged on holiday shopping in December, you’ll need to purge in January.  Keep all of your receipts and do an extra-careful reconciliation of your accounts in January.  Be ready to spend a few afternoons making phone calls to make sure every charge is correct and accounted for.  Make sure to check your credit report in January as well.  While you’re checking your credit and your accounts, take the opportunity to start the new year off right:  you have your financial info gathered already, you have your credit report in front of you and your W-2s are starting to show up, so it’s time to do three things:
  1. File your taxes.  Don’t get mad at us, it’s not our fault.  We’re only reminding you to do it early because you’ll already have most of what you’ll need, so getting your homework done on Friday will give you the rest of the weekend off.
  2. Rework your debt.  You have every one of your credit card and other account statements in front of you, so it’s time to make some calls.  For your higher interest cards, it’s time to pay them down, transfer the balances or negotiate a lower rate.  This is easier if you’ve got some cash in hand, possibly from the tax refund you now know you’re getting.  You can also take this time to explore using your home equity to eliminate some of the high-interest cards. Get more information here: First City Home Equity Line of Credit.
  3. Set up a Christmas Club for 2016.  Alright, you just saw how much money you spent this holiday season.  Next year, resolve to do it all without taking on unnecessary debt.  You’ll save a ton of money and a ton of stress.  The best way to do that is with one of our Christmas Club accounts.  Use this year’s budget as a guide and follow the tips on our Christmas Club page to set one up now. Next year will be a breeze.  Link here: First City Vacation and Holiday Savers Accounts.
And that’s it.  It sounds like a lot, but it’s really taking the same level of vigilance you would use for normal shopping and increasing it to correspond with the increased spending of the season.  For a good rule of thumb, maybe we should just establish the “3-Mariah” rule:  Once you hear Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” for the third time on any day, you have to go home – you’ve either spent too long at the mall, or your brain has been turned into holiday slurry and you can no longer be trusted to remain vigilant.  Three Mariahs and you’re out. ;')