Five End of Year Savings Tips
By America Saves
As we approach the end of the year, there is no better time to evaluate the progress you have made towards your savings goals, set some new ones for the upcoming year, and see if there aren’t a few specific ways you can still save some money before the year is over.
There’s nothing like starting a new year with peace of mind and a positive financial outlook. Here are five end of year savings tips to consider:
1. Cancel any non-necessities and sock away that money.
Do you have a gym membership you’re not really using? A monthly subscription to a magazine you don’t have time to read? Do you really need those extra cable channels you’re paying for? Now is the perfect time to evaluate any services or automatic subscriptions you’re paying for but don’t really use, and instead put that money towards your savings goals.
2. Save the extras.
If you receive a bonus from work or a cash gift during the holidays, it can be tempting to go right out and spend it. Instead, take a moment to think about your long-term savings goals and how this extra, unexpected cash can help you achieve them. Better yet, if you have some debt to pay down, consider putting it towards that. By paying down high-interest debt you are also saving because you’ll spend less over the long term in interest rates and fees.
3. Use, don’t lose your vacation.
Remember that time is money, so if it’s possible, schedule some time off if you are in danger of losing your vacation time. Some employers may also allow you to cash out your overage vacation so that you don’t forfeit it, so check with your human resource department or supervisor to ask about their policy. Read the 10 things you can do to protect your money before traveling.
4. Contribute more to your workplace retirement plan and reduce your taxable income.
You have until December 31 to contribute up to the maximum of $18,000 for 2017 to your 401(k) or similar workplace retirement plan. If you’re age 50 or older, you can contribute an extra $6,000, for a maximum of $24,000. For IRA contributions, you can contribute up to $5,500 if you are under age 50, and $6,500 if you are 50 or older.
5. Make your charitable giving donations before the end of the year.
If you’re planning to purge some clothes or other household items and donate them to charity, or make a cash contribution to a charitable organization, be sure to do so before the end of the year so that you can deduct these from your 2017 taxes. Keep in mind that you can only deduct charitable donations if you itemize them on Tax Form 1040, Schedule A. This is common among homeowners, but less common among renters.