Throughout the year, it’s easy to get distracted from your finances. Other things in life take up your time and energy, often leaving your finances in the background. As 2012 gets underway, consider setting some time aside to make sure your finances are in order. Working on the following now can help you avoid problems throughout the year when time gets away from you.

 

  • Review your budget – Take the time to review your budget, checking for any obvious changes that may need to be made. Research lower cost alternatives to expenses that seem to have crept up over time. Reallocate dollars that went unspent to expenses that had a shortfall. And if you don’t have a budget yet, create one!

 

  • Review and update your financial goals – Review the progress you made in the past year on your financial goals and add any new goals you may have. Take time to consider what your next step might be in advancing those goals. If your goals are no longer relevant in your life, think about what you want to do with any funds you may have collected for that goal.

 

  • Review your credit report – Help ensure that your identity is safe and that your credit report reflects accurate information. (www.annualcreditreport.com)

 

  • Prepare for tax filing – Even if you know you will be filing an extension, start collecting all the relevant tax information and documents as they start coming in. Ensure everything is ready and in order before you sit down to do your taxes or send the information to your tax preparer to avoid delays and mistakes. Also, if you find that you are getting a large refund or owe a large amount, take the time to review and adjust your withholding to put more money in your pocket throughout the year or ease the pain of a large tax bill next year.

 

  • Set up automatic bill pay – If you have not done so already, and it’s a service your bank offers, you should look into automatic bill pay. This will give you some relief during the year by paying your bills for you, so you won’t have to worry about setting aside time monthly to do so.

 

Obviously, doing the above will not make working on your finances during the year optional. You will still need to spend time on your finances, even if it’s just to make sure you’re avoiding mistakes and problems. But, the above steps will help set up your 2012 finances right.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.
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