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Planning for the New Year FI

Why NOW is the Best Time to Reflect and Plan for the New Year

October 10, 2014


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It may seem like a long time away, but the new year will be here before we know it. After all, look at how this year has been flying by!

If you set some lofty financial goals for this year, and seeing the new year approaching is making you a little panicky to say the least, you’re not alone!

Most people feel like they could use more time to complete their goals before the new year, myself included.

That’s why right now is the perfect time to reflect and start planning for the new year.

Here are 6 steps to take to finish the rest of this year off right and start planning for the new year, too.

1. Assess Your Weaknesses

If you want to have success with financial fitness now and in the new year, look back at this year and assess your weaknesses. By finding a way to work with your weaknesses, instead of against them, you’ll have a better chance of success.

Take a look at what set you back.

For example, do you have a penchant for new shoes? Instead of trying to cut that out of your life completely, build it into your budget in a way you can afford. If new shoes are part of your budget, you won’t have to feel guilty about your new purchase.

2. Take Stock of Your Strengths

What are your strengths? Are you great at budgeting? Awesome! Use that to your advantage. Budget every dollar that comes in and keep track of every dollar that goes out.

Maybe budgets aren’t really your thing, but you’re a rock star at couponing. Embrace the coupon binder and work your magic.

Do whatever it is that you need to do to stay on top of your personal goals and make the most of the rest of the year and start the new year off right too.

3. Plan Ahead for the Holidays

Between now and the new year, there will be lots of situations that arise where you will be tempted to over-spend. Or, maybe you’ll want to say, “The hell with budgeting, I’m buying a flat screen!” (Maybe that’s just me on Black Friday!) 🙂

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s are all pretty spendy holidays. So, now is the time to get your budget in order and make sure you’ve planned ahead with some cushion to cover additional expenses that will come up this time of year.

It’s better to budget for them now and have extra money leftover than to give in to the thinking that you will just avoid all these “extras” and end up blowing your budget big time with holiday expenses.

Gift-giving, extra holiday food for gatherings, and maybe even a new holiday party outfit are all things to consider budgeting for in the next couple months.

Are they all necessary things? No, but like I said, it’s better to budget for them and not spend anything than not budget and spend a lot.

Set aside some time to review your holiday plans, make gift-giving lists, and meal plans for the upcoming holidays. Don’t forget charitable giving in your holiday budget, too.

4. What Needs to Change?

Planning for the New YearLook back at the year and see what has worked and what hasn’t for your financial goals.

Did you start the year gung-ho about budgets, but they fizzled out by March? Try something new this next year. Instead of a traditional budget, find an accountability partner that will keep you on track with your goals and spending.

You could also try a budgeting app, like Personal Capital. It can help do some of the heavy lifting for you.

Related Post: 8 Best Budgeting Apps and Personal Finance Tools

5. What Can Stay the Same?

Why fix what isn’t broken? If your financial plan has worked well this year, keep going!

Rock the rest of this year and next year with the same approach you’ve been using. Don’t feel like you need a whole new plan or budget when the new year comes. Keep going with what worked for you this past year.

6. Set New Goals

Finally, take a minute to set goals for the remainder of this year. There’s still plenty of time to reach for goals this year, no matter if you’ve made an adjustment (up or down) to your original goals for the year, or if you’ve set new goals entirely.

Start planning for the new year by thinking about what your goals might be. Don’t worry, you can always change them!

When do you start planning for the new year?

The holidays are right around the corner, which means now is the perfect time to reflect and start planning for the new year.
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19 responses to “Why NOW is the Best Time to Reflect and Plan for the New Year

  1. I think it is smart to plan for the new year now. But, I’m a severe over-planner 🙂

    Our company just announced changes to the pension and 401k programs so I really need to decide what I’m going to do come Jan 1st!

  2. I buy all my gifts the first 2 weeks of November. It’s a strict policy, everything else that’s last minute or just “pops up” comes from my at-home emergency stash of gifts – candles, gift cards, etc. Just takes the gift buying stress off to just buy once and then be done!

    1. I usually try to buy all year round so I can take advantage of sales and deals throughout the year. I am usually done by mid-November at the latest.

  3. Great plans, Kayla. And I do think it’s very good to strategically plan what you want to do with your raise. Like you said, it’s too early to lock in those changes, but knowing how you want use your raise and bonus before you receive makes it much easier to follow through. Lots of people just spend them on whatever, rather than what matters most. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks Shannon! I used to be one of that just splurged any “extra” away, but now I’ve learned better.

  4. I have to admit, I groaned a little when I read, “Plan Ahead for the Holidays”. But you’re absolutely right. It’s a great idea to set up holiday budgets/plans now, before the stores start playing carols and tempting us with pretty lights. (My BJ’s had Christmas trees and other stuff up in September – not cool.)

    Like you, I started down this personal finance journey in 2014. I’m excited to embark upon 2015, knowing a lot more about what I need to do, than I did at the start of this year.

    1. I think a lot of us that just started in 2014 are looking forward to 2015 as a chance to set better goals and be more realistic about our personal progresses. 🙂

  5. I’m all for planning ahead, but autumn has only just begun, it’s still warm enough to swim in the ocean here and I don’t want to think about winter just yet. 2015 can wait a while.

    1. I’m a bit jealous, it was down to 33F here overnight. I’m not ready for winter either, but I know my finances will be better off if I plan ahead for the holidays and the new year.

  6. We like to plan early for the new year too, although we haven’t done anything yet. This year has been full of unexpected expenses, so we’re just working on frugaling it like a champ for the next three months. Then we’ll work on solidifying the 2015 goals. 🙂

    1. Sounds like a good plan to me Laurie. I’m hoping to set more realistic goals off the bat for 2015 now that I know more of what to expect for my finances and debt payoff rate.

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