Financial Checklist for August
As school gets back into session for many, August is a great time to spend some time studying up on your finances to be better prepared for the fall season and beyond. Let’s be honest, the holidays are more than halfway here. (Yes, we went there!)
Create a Back to School Budget
If you or your children are headed to the classroom, you’re undoubtedly seeing dollar signs for all kinds of varied expenses: books, clothes, tuition, and much more. According to the National Retail Federation, the average back-to-school necessities cost $670 per child pre-K through grade 12, and $1,200 for college students.
Get your budget on track to purchase your back to school supplies, and don’t worry about the things you might be able to wait on. Use our free, online budget tool to create a back to school budget that makes sense.
Record Summer Tax Expenses
While you were enjoying the summer, you may have purchased or paid for services that could be deducted come tax filing season, so it’s important to document all expenses that can be claimed. A few examples may be:
Work related educational expenses
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) Interest
Of course, each itemized deduction may have different allowances or limits on what you can claim. Learn more about tax credits and deductions.
Check Your Student Loan Repayment Plan
Have you started a new job, moved, or changed family size recently? If you have student loans, it may be time to review your repayment plan. Most milestones can affect student loan repayment and can change in the middle of the year.
For example, an income-driven repayment plan could change your monthly student loan payment to 10-20% of your discretionary income (and increase your loan term from 10 years to 20-25 years). Take a free, introductory course to repaying your student loans on our iGrad site, powered in partnership with Student Choice.
Lower the Cost of Your Homeowner’s Insurance Premium
If you own your home, there are many ways to lower homeowner’s insurance premiums, including improving your home security and updating the landscape around your home. Check with your insurance agent first before making these potential updates:
Install hard-wired smoke detectors
Install a security system
Change or add deadbolts to entryways
Remove dead/dying trees or potentially hazardous natural combustibles
Ready to make some major repairs or updates on your home? Learn about the flexibility of a Home Equity Line of Credit.
Review Tax Withholdings
It’s recommended to review your tax withholdings annually—if you haven’t checked it this year, August is the time to do so! Review your W-4 if any of these life events have occurred recently:
Increase in salary
Major financial gain
Not sure if your milestone requires a review of your tax withholdings? Check out the 5 Life Moments that Change Taxes.
Perform a Mid-Year Credit Report Checkup
With most of these tips, checking your credit report may be part of the process. It’s recommended to pull your credit report annually, but it can be beneficial to complete a mid-year checkup.
Visit our free, online Credit Management tool to see where you can get a free annual credit report.