5-step financial checklist for November
We’re winding down to the end of the year, and oh what a year it’s been.
Who could have ever predicted what 2020 would bring? Like, for the entire *planet*?
I made some big financial goals last December, most of which have been put on the back burner since March.
Now, our main objective is continuing to build our emergency fund, while we rely on unemployment income and savings.
I have no idea how long this will last. So, I keep practicing good money habits, and just staying the course until this nightmare has passed.
Maybe you feel the same way. And, I bet you’re tired of it, too!
So, until life gets back to some kind of normal, use this November financial checklist to stay focused on your money management.
Because, things won’t always be this way. Eventually, we’ll be out of this Twilight Zone.
Until then, stay the course. Keep saving, cutting expenses, following your budget.
Don’t let a little pandemic derail your financial goals. Retirement is still on the horizon, so stay committed to your vision.
Keep moving forward, even if you can only take baby steps. Use the other financial checklists on this blog to help you stay focused and on track.
Don’t just surrender to these circumstances. Do whatever it takes to overcome them.
This means being intentional with your financial situation. Create a plan that will lead you to financial health and prosperity by the time you’re ready to retire.
For November, here are 5 things you can do to be purposeful with your money.
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1. Be Strategic With Holiday Sales
November is the month for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you have a gift list ready and can spot a good deal, you can potentially snag some major savings.
If you don’t have a list, make sure you put one together before braving the crowds.
It’s stressful enough searching for the perfect gift during the busiest shopping season of the year. Having a list will save you a lot of time and energy.
In our house, we turn our kitchen’s whiteboard into a Christmas wish list for each person in our family. I usually get that started by the beginning of November, so everyone has time to think about what they want.
I also keep a running Christmas wish list on Amazon with anything I find during the year that would be a good gift.
Once I have a good idea what I’m looking for, I’ll do some comparison shopping. I don’t go crazy with this – I usually just look at 3 or 4 stores to find the lowest price.
If I’m looking for a high-ticket item, I’ll wait for the after-Thanksgiving sales to see if I can save even more. I also keep my eyes open for coupons in the mail and email promotions.
If you want to get serious about saving the most money possible, you can get a little help with technology.
2. Have A No-Spend Weekend
I know I just told you to be strategic with how you spend your money on holiday shopping. But committing to a no-spend weekend (or two) will help you keep your finances under control.
Between shopping, traveling, and entertaining, a budget can get busted real quick. That extra mocha latte, the mall parking fee, and new shoes for the office Christmas party just add to the total.
Challenge yourself to go a whole weekend without spending a penny.
If you can do it for longer, or more than one weekend, even better! It’s a good exercise in self-control and will help you focus on other things during this busy time.
3. Plan Doctor and Dentist Visits
If your health benefits enrollment is in January, then you may have met your annual deductible by now. If so, take advantage of your health coverage and fit in some last-minute checkups and treatments.
Make appointments now so you can get in before December 31st. Your doctor may have limited availability because of the holidays, so the earlier you call for an appointment, the better chance you have of getting seen.
Once your benefits roll over to the next fiscal year, you’ll have to meet that deductible again before your coverage kicks in.
If you’ve been thinking about seeing your doctor, now’s a good time to do it.
Otherwise, you’ll pay more in the new year when your deductible resets.
4. Plan Your Charitable Contributions
As we come upon Thanksgiving, we tend to be more focused on what we’re grateful for.
Hopefully, we have the opportunity to create meaningful memories with family and friends. I love this time of year because my whole family is focused on giving.
That’s why it’s a great time to plan charitable contributions.
Even if you won’t have enough to meet the standard tax deduction, it’s still a good idea to give to those organizations you want to support.
My family often takes part in Operation Christmas Child and fills a couple of shoe boxes for needy children in other parts of the world. It’s a way to put our faith into practice and do something together as a family. It’s also a great way to get our focus off shopping and consuming and on something much more significant.
If your budget is tight, consider feeding the homeless or being a Salvation Army bell ringer. Another idea is to go through your closet and take out jackets you don’t use anymore to donate.
However you choose to give back, it’s one way to strengthen an abundance mindset and foster happiness in your life.
And doesn’t being happy sound a heckuva lot better than being stressed?
5. Schedule Remaining Vacation Days
For some of you (like my husband), this is no problemo.
But for others, you can struggle with taking time off. Maybe you think things will fall apart if you’re not in the office. Or perhaps you don’t want to give up the potential overtime. Or you think Christmas won’t be special if you don’t make the extra income.
Whatever your reason, it’s likely fueled by worry, doubt, or anxiety – which don’t mix well with the stress that typically accompanies the holidays.
Taking time off – even if you don’t have any plans – will reduce stress levels and reset your focus.
You’ll be more relaxed so you can enjoy the time you spend with your loved ones even more. And you’ll also be more productive when you return to work.
Be strategic about scheduling time off during optimal shopping days, planned celebrations, and family outings. You can miss the weekend traffic to save time and gas.
Taking your vacation days is especially important if they won’t carry over into the new year. Don’t lose the benefits you’ve worked so hard for.
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Plan Your Checklist
The closer we get to Christmas, the busier schedules seem to get. Strive to finish the year strong by maintaining focus on your financial progress.
This doesn’t just mean sticking to a budget or saving a few bucks on a sale. It’s also about keeping your priorities in order, being thankful for what you have, and using an abundant mindset in all of your decisions.
It’s easy to get off track this time of year. But if you are intentional, you can get through the holidays without taking on more debt and sticking to a budget.
Take the time to schedule a few tasks on your calendar this month to keep your finances in order. Come January, you’ll be so glad you did.