8 Things to Plan for in January
As you watch the ball drop in Times Square on December 31, you probably won’t be thinking about budgeting. That’s totally fine. The way to fully enjoy that moment, though, is to have your January budget already in place.
Knowing that your money plan is ready will get you in the mood to party like it’s 1999! And we’re here to help you do just that with eight things to remember for your January budget.
1. Healthy food costs. One of your New Year’s goals may be to eat healthier. More fruits and veggies, fewer sweets—you know the drill. Local or organic foods can carry higher price tags. Adjust your grocery budget so Whole Foods doesn’t take your whole paycheck.
2. Tax advisor fees. Once 2015 is in the books, it’s time to take a look at your books—or have a tax pro do the work for you. Determine their cost and divide it by the number of months until your appointment so you have the fee money ready. Make that appointment ASAP so if you owe Uncle Sam, you have time to save.
3. Gym memberships. If you’re ready to join a health club and shed the holiday weight, good for you! The average cost is $58 a month. Don’t forget—the more trips you make, the more value you get!
4. Christmas savings. You’ve probably had your fill of Christmas for now. But next Christmas will be here before you know it, so begin planning now. Figure up how much you want to spend on gifts, decorations and travel. Then divide it by 12 and start stocking that amount away.
5. Organization tools. Many people make a New Year’s goal to get organized. That could mean purchasing shelves, buying an electric file organizer, or just doing some long-overdue cleaning.
6. Money goals. 2016 may be the year you pay off that student loan or finish your emergency fund. Determine the target month and divide out your money. Save $500 a month if you want to have your $1,000 emergency fund saved by February. A $6,000 credit card debt will be history by October if you put $600 a month toward it. Pacing yourself this way works wonders.
7. New experiences. Research shows you’re happier when you spend money on experiences instead of physical things like a car or sofa. Dream about your next big adventure, then take the “save a little each month” money approach.
8. New hobbies. You may be excited about going camping on the weekends or hiring a tutor to teach you a new language. Set some dinero aside and enjoy your new pastime!
The new year and your new monthly budget give you two things: a clean slate and a chance to do something awesome. Grab hold of the next year and do great things with it—one month at a time!