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Welcome to 2019! The celebrations may be over, but the fun is just beginning. A lot can be accomplished over the next 12 months, including financially. Start the new year strong with these five financial to-dos so you can set yourself up for a successful 2019.
1. Assess Your Holiday Spending
If you lost track of your holiday spending somewhere between the countless white-elephant exchanges and last-minute travel plans, you may not know how much actually left your bank account. Take the time now to tally up the total to see whether you stayed in budget or strayed. Once you know that number, you can start prepping for the next holiday season (yes, already!) with these strategies. And if it’s time for some damage control, these tips can help you recoup some of that cash so that credit card bills don’t put a damper on your 2019 goals.
2. Set Your 2019 Goals
A new year calls for new goals — and that includes for your finances. Want to make 2019 the year you finally pay off your student loans? Build up an emergency fund? Figure out investing? Here's how to set money resolutions you can actually keep, plus how to use your personality type to your advantage to reach them. Haven’t had much success with sticking to your goals in the past? You may be making one of these five resolution mistakes.
3. File Your Quarterly Taxes
If you’re a freelancer or business owner, your estimated taxes for the last quarter of 2018 are due by January 15, so don’t forget to file. Even if you don't have a quarterly tax deadline to consider, this is also a good time to start prepping for the regular tax season. Yes, they aren’t due until April, but the IRS typically starts accepting submissions in late January. Filing early has a host of benefits, from preventing tax fraud to getting your refund that much sooner — which you can put toward your financial goals — so consider getting your paperwork in order now.
4. Plan Your Travel Budget
Whether you want to see the world this year, have a few long-distance weddings to attend or simply want to get a jumpstart on holiday travel, start budgeting now for how much you expect to spend and how you plan to fund it. Last-minute plane tickets aren’t cheap, so the more prepared you are, the more time you have to find the best deals. (And be sure to avoid these five costly travel mistakes.) Don’t have any big trips in the works yet? You can still show your regular budget some love. This four-week guide makes setting up a budget a piece of cake.
5. Declutter Your Home
Ringing in a new year inspires hope of a fresh start. Where better to get started than with your home? A thorough deep-clean and decluttering is not only good for your sanity, it also does wonders for your wallet. Case in point: One woman was able to kick her clothes-shopping habit by cleaning out her closet. Plus, you can always sell your unwanted items to make a little extra cash — a win-win. If you have trouble parting with things (even that dress you bought three years ago that still has the price tag on it) consider Swedish death cleaning to help make the tough decisions easier.