New Year Resolutions are not just for January! Here are some suggestions for a monthly financial to-do list that doesn’t go by the wayside. Some of these financial tasks are time-sensitive, such as tax returns. But you can tackle the rest in any order you see fit or and ignore those that don’t apply to you or that you’ve already achieved.

January

For many of us a desire to finally ‘sort out my money’ makes its annual appearance so start by jotting down your key financial worries. It will help to look back on the year gone and think about what you want to do better. Can you make savings / spending / pension / investing improvements?

February

The very first step on the road to financial peace of mind is to be aware of (and write down) what’s coming in every month and what’s going out. Take this opportunity to organise all your paperwork. Are you running a surplus or a deficit?

March

If you’re running a deficit (on an annual basis) make a specific plan around what costs you can cut, looking particularly at non-essential purchases that you perhaps can do without.

April

If you’re running a surplus (on an annual basis) make a savings plan to convert that running surplus into a deposit or investment account that is not for short term use.

May

If you’re carrying any form of expensive debt (such as credit card debt or a car loan) then repaying it should be your priority (before making any savings contributions).

June

Time to check back on how that budget is going. Is your budget specific enough? Are you spending wisely? Are you building a nest-egg? Do you have an appropriate emergency cash fund?

July

Take a break. By now I hope you are not dwelling on the same old money worries. Just having a plan (or an advisor) should result in action and relieve you of those perpetual and negative circular thoughts.

August

Are you paid enough? Do you deserve a raise? Think about ways in which you can manoeuvre a raise or a promotion. If you don’t ask…

September

Make September the month in which you think about your ‘future self’ – do you need to start a pension or do you need to make a contribution before the October deadline so you can maximise your tax relief. Do you have an estate plan?

October

This is tax return month. So make sure to get your return in on time and be sure to claim any available tax incentives and reliefs.

November

Christmas is a high spending time for us all so now is the time to ensure our ongoing budget can cope with some large one-off spends.

December

Time to look back, review how the year has gone financially and think about improvements you can make next year. And don’t forget about calendar year end deadlines for tax efficient gifting and for company pension contributions.

 

Please also have a look at one of our previous blogs, How To Save, and talk to Money Smart about a New Year personal finance makeover by calling 01 276 0006 or emailing info@moneysmart.ie.