7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For

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7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For

As you plan for 2017, put these tasks on your to-do list for a more prosperous new year.


The air is crisp and the time for family, friends, and fun is upon us. 'Tis the season of giving — and saving. Read up on these seven money moves you will always be thankful for.

See Also on Kiplinger: 10 Financial Decisions That Will Haunt You Forever

1. Monitoring Your Credit

Whether you've already got a mortgage, cars, and all the trimmings, or you're a young adult with the hopes of buying an asset like a house someday, you'll need to maintain good credit. Everyone gets one free credit report each year, and some credit card companies even give you regular updates on your credit score. I know, we love to remind you of this! But when you're meeting with the Realtor and they don't laugh at your borrowing limit, you'll be saying thanks.

2. Negotiating Your Insurance

When shopping around for insurance, it's easy to settle for the first average quote you receive and end it. It's boring. But it really is best to gather several quotes to gain some leverage. If there's a company you prefer, show them the cheaper quote and get them to lower theirs. Also, try to ask yourself which types of insurance you actually need. When you've saved hundreds of dollars per year in insurance costs, it'll be easier to agree to host Thanksgiving at your place next time.


3. Stowing Cash Into a Mutual Fund or ETF

How many ways should you save money? Even if you already have some mutual funds in your 401(k), even if you have a vacation savings jar in the kitchen — you might want to consider stowing some cash from your savings account separately in a mutual fund or ETF. They're steady, the rate is far superior to a savings account, and it keeps you from feeling like your savings can be tapped at any time. It takes some thought and some calculus of weighing the fees and taxes to decide whether to take the funds out. Sometimes we need that bit of a barrier so that we can benefit in the long run. Check out these tips for investors. Your future self will be thanking you down the line.

See Also on Kiplinger: The Kiplinger ETF 20 — Our Best Exchange-Traded Fund Picks for Every Investor

4. Paying Off High-Interest Debt

Carrying balances on one (or a few) high-interest cards? If you have debt at anything above 10% interest, paying those off should be your priority. The longer you carry those balances, the more precarious the situation gets. And of course, if you were to follow the first point in this list, it would be pretty hard without paying off that high-interest debt. Once that's done, you can pass the savings around the table.

5. Building an Emergency Fund

Why wouldn't you want to be covered if a small emergency happened? Consider the emergency fund as your war chest, defending you from calamities such as car accidents, sudden house repairs, a child getting sick, or getting stuck with unpaid jury duty. Even broke folks can start one. Keep it somewhere easy to access, and by all means, never pilfer it for holiday shopping. That's what #7 is for!


6. Getting Your Taxes Done Early

Who doesn't want to get their money early? Or get tax stress off their chests? Starting around November, you really should be gathering your receipts and setting a tax plan — whether you need to book an appointment with your accountant, or book some personal time in front of QuickBooks. What easier way to be thankful all the way into the dark of January than knowing a refund check is on its way?

See Also on Kiplinger: 13 Ways to Waste Money During the Holidays

7. Setting a Christmas Budget

Going into Thanksgiving with a shopping list and wondering, "How am I gonna do this and Christmas?" Fix that in the future with a Christmas budget set in advance. Even if you're a family who slowly buys gifts for each other year-round, that can creep up. By having a set budget every year, you can check against immediately clicking "add to cart." Imagine how nice it would be to not feel completely tapped out after the holidays.

This article is from Amanda Meadows of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website.

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This article is from Wise Bread, not the Kiplinger editorial staff.