5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Happy New Year! How happy will the world be the moment we all enter 2021? Now the real question…How happy will your bank account be? If the answer to that one isn’t as clear as the first, it’s probably because you are unsure of how to clean up your finances before the new year.
Checkexpress understands that this time of year can be all consuming and extra stressful with the holidays. Taking some time to get financial clarity can often land on the bottom of your to do list. That’s why we have created these quick, simple tips that are sure to give you a leg up on the new year!
The gift that keeps on giving!
Americans gave more than 300 billion to charities in 2019 and Forbes predicted that this year, Americans will give even more due to all the tremendous struggles our nation has faced. If you are considering giving the gift of charity during the holidays, this is a wonderful idea! Before making a donation:
- Do your research: We all want to be helpful to those in need. Criminals know this too and look for ways to scam good people out of their hard earned money. Take the time to really research where you are sending your money. Use resources like Charity Navigator to learn more about the charity you are interested in. This charity guide also gives you information on whether not a charity qualifies for tax-exemptions. “This year, instead of simply getting gifts for your loved ones, you can also donate, provide aid, and help support charities who are directly helping some of the most important causes across the country.” Refinery29
- December has 31 days: Be mindful of when you send in your donations. You have until December 31st to make your contributions and claim them on your taxes.
- Keep receipts and important documents: ALWAYS get a written (mailed or electron) receipt of your contributions.
Access your credit report for FREE!
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are the three most important credit reporting agencies. They will all run your credit report for free every 12 months. If you didn’t know this, you’re missing out on an opportunity to understand your credit history! You may be asking yourself, “Why is it so important to know all three of my credit bureaus scores?” That’s a really good question and here’s why you should know your credit score…
- Each credit bureau can possibly have different information about you. It’s best to mark every time you request your credit report. Having your credit ran multiple times of year can diminish your credit score. Apps like CreditKarma and CreditWise can help you securely review your credit. While helping with tips and guides to build a higher credit score.
- Advocate for yourself when you get your report. It’s a good idea to go over all the purchases and late claims with a fine tooth comb. If something doesn’t look right on your report, dispute it ASAP. You can contact the credit companies with any errors and questions you may have. Many times when an error is located the credit bureaus can help you to resolve this issues. When writing a dispute letter yes one of this templates from The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Find any lost or unclaimed funds!
Did you know that there is such a thing as a virtual lost and found? You may have money out there waiting for you to find it! Most unclaimed funds originate from dormant bank accounts, tax refunds and proceeds from an insurance policy. Smart Asset says: “$49.5 Billion. That’s the total value of unclaimed property in the United States, according to our research. That’s equal to the market value of FedEx, 250 times the net worth of Justin Bieber and enough to buy about 286,000 houses in the U.S. at the average home value.”
- When a business can not locate someone, the unclaimed money is sent to a state-run program specializing in unclaimed property/assets. Until the owner comes looking for their “lost treasure”, it remains there untouched. To find out whether or not you have unclaimed funds simply check the Government Unclaimed Money page. There are a variety of ways to locate potential unclaimed property on this site.
- Review and take note of your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). With only a few weeks left in 2020, now is a good time to take advantage of those FSA funds you may have set aside in your work accounts.
- Use it before you lose it! You have until the final day of December (31st) to us an FSA. They can possibly go towards medical deductibles, copayments, family prescriptions and even some over the counter medical supplies. A good way to learn more about this is asking your local pharmacist what’s covered under FSAs. Get specific details about your company’s plan from your employer or HR department.
- Family Resources for Relief During COVID-19: Check out our blog to find out how your family can receive assistance during these times.