- There are certain financial tasks worth tackling before 2022 comes to an end.
- These steps could help you shore up your finances and avoid debt in the new year.
- Add cash to your emergency fund, use up your FSA funds, and make a budget for holiday spending.
Be sure to check these off your list this month.
It's hard to believe that 2022 is almost over. But alas, November has arrived, and at this point, a lot of people are already entering holiday mode, which commonly signals the close of the year.
At the same time, we still have about two months left of 2022 to enjoy. And that also means you have time to set yourself up for a solid financial start to 2023. Here are some important money moves to tackle in November to help make that happen.
1. Give your emergency fund a lift
There's already been lots of talk of a potential recession in 2023. The Federal Reserve is aggressively raising interest rates to cool inflation, but that could cause a huge pullback in consumer spending that leads to broad economic decline. That's why now's a really good time to pump extra money into your emergency fund.
At a minimum, you should have enough money in your savings account to cover three months of essential bills. But that's really the minimum.
If a recession hits in the new year, it could lead to a months-long period of unemployment, so the more savings you have, the better. If you can manage to boost your emergency fund from three months' worth of bills to three-and-a-half or four months' worth, you'll be better-equipped to get by if a recession hits next year. And even if that doesn't happen, padding your emergency fund isn't a bad idea.
2. Make plans to use up your FSA
Have money sitting in your flexible spending account? You may have a grace period to use those funds in 2023 -- or you may not. It really depends on your plan, so you'll need to check. But if you don't get a grace period of carryover option, then take some time in November to schedule medical appointments and renew prescriptions. That way, you'll be less likely to end up forgoing money that's yours.
3. Map out a holiday spending budget
The holidays are right around the corner, and once they kick in, the temptation to spend can be huge. That's why now's a good time to create a holiday budget. Figure out what expenses you're looking at and how much you can afford to spend. And then, put your purchases in order by priority so you can make the most of the funds you have.
One mistake many people make during the holidays is overspending and closing out the year in debt. That's not something you want to do this year in particular. If a recession hits in 2023 and you wind up out of work, the last thing you'll want is credit card debt payments hanging over your head. But if you plan out your spending carefully, that won't have to be your reality.
You may be busy compiling your Thanksgiving menu this month and making plans to travel home in December. But it's also a good idea to pad your savings, take care of health issues (and spend down your FSA in the process), and set yourself up to emerge from the holiday season debt-free.
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