It feels like the weeks are flying by. The year is almost over, and you still have so much to do. You have to do a few financial tasks before it’s too late!
Which financial tasks should you tackle?
Use Up the Funds in Your FSA
Do you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)? An FSA is a tax-advantaged account where saved funds can be withdrawn to pay for certain health expenses that are not covered by health insurance. The funds in an FSA must be spent by the end of the year. Any remaining funds in the account will not roll over into the next year. Essentially, if you don’t use them, you lose them.
So, one task to check off your end-of-year finance checklist is to spend the remainder of your FSA funds. If you don’t need to use it to pay for medical appointments, you can use it to purchase medical essentials like first aid kit items, menstrual products or over-the-counter medications. For instance, you might want to stock your medicine cabinet with some cough and cold medicines in case you get sick in the middle of flu season.
Sign Up for Health Insurance
It’s the time of year when you can sign up for a health insurance plan (other than Medicaid). The federal open enrollment period starts on November 1st. It will end on January 15th, 2024. So, if you’ve been living without insurance, or you want to change your insurance plan, you have a limited time to cross this task off your to-do list.
Going uninsured is not a good idea. Healthcare can be extremely expensive, and you don’t want to saddle yourself with medical debt if you can help it. Getting health insurance could minimize the costs of treatment so that repayment is a lot more manageable.
Put Your Bonus to Good Use
You might get a year-end bonus or holiday bonus from your workplace. If you do get this sudden windfall, put it to good use. Don’t just blow it on a fun present for yourself or a night out — or at least, don’t blow all of that bonus on a fun present or night out. These are two savvy strategies that you could follow.
Do you have an emergency fund that is practically empty? Then, you should use your bonus to boost your fund.
An emergency fund is a great safety net for those small, urgent expenses that are outside of your usual budget. For instance, maybe one of your pipes freezes in the cold weather and you need to pay for a plumber to thaw it. Your newly filled fund can help you pay for that essential service right away.
Without an emergency fund, you might not have enough savings to cover an urgent expense after it falls right into your lap. In that case, you may want to borrow funds to handle the payment. You could go to a website like CreditFresh and see whether you qualify for a personal line of credit loan. If you meet the qualifications, you could submit an application. You just might get approved for the line of credit, which you could use to handle an emergency expense in a short amount of time.
Another thing that you could do with your bonus is donate a portion of it to a charitable organization. Not only is this an opportunity to donate to a cause that is close to your heart, but it also can help you in the upcoming tax season. Charitable contributions that you make before the very end of the year could be deducted from your taxes.
Remember to keep proof of your charitable donations, even if they are on the smaller side. Keep the detailed receipts on hand. You will want to have proof that you made these charitable donations in case you ever get audited by the IRS.
Don’t ignore these tasks for too long! You don’t have much time to check them off your end-of-year finance checklist!