As a financial planner, I always get asked by others in the new year what they should focus their money and energy on. This is because many consider January to be a fresh start and a time to prepare for financial success in the coming months.
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“When is the best time to buy things?”
This is a frequently asked question during the year-end and New Year holidays. To shop wisely, it's important to think a little ahead. The new year is a great time to stock up on certain products. Addressing these items in January will establish a solid financial foundation that you can build on over the next 12 months.
Here are nine things to consider buying or investing in during the first month of the year.
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1. Winter clothing and equipment
January is prime time for post-holiday sales. Plus, depending on where you live, the next few months are going to be cold and you might not be able to wear new clothes. Find last season's discounted coats, boots, gloves, hats and scarves. You may be able to update your winter wardrobe for a fraction of the cost you'd pay at other times of the year.
January is also a great time to replace your worn-out gear before winter really gets cold. Invest in some new warm layers and you'll be ready to enjoy the outdoors all spring long.
2. Gym membership and fitness equipment
One of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to get healthy through diet and exercise. You might think that means his gym memberships and workout gear would be going up in price in January, but that's not necessarily the case. Many gyms and fitness companies offer tons of sales on memberships and equipment during the month of January. Let's get them into it!
Get a discounted gym membership and get motivated to reach your workout goals this year. Or build a home gym. Great savings on treadmills, weights, yoga mats, fitness trackers, and more. Investing in your health is one of the best financial decisions you can make.
3. Household items
A white sale is a sale event where white goods such as sheets, towels, linens, and other household items are offered at deep discounts. White goods sales traditionally take place in January as retailers want to clear out inventory after the holiday season. A white sale can help you sell the extra sheets and towels that accumulate in your warehouse during the holidays.
If you're looking to spruce up your home for the upcoming year, now is a great time to stock up on new linens and household items.
4. Holiday decorations
As the new year approaches, Christmas decorations are available for up to 50-75% off as stores rush to clear their inventory. Although it may seem like months away (and it is!), January is the perfect time to stock up for the upcoming holiday season.
If you can store it, consider buying everything you need this holiday season, including lights and decorations. Having decorations on hand can make preparing for the holidays faster, easier, and more affordable each year.
5. Tax preparation services
The new year begins with the start of tax season. He has until April 15 to submit, but it pays to start planning early.
There are many benefits to preparing your taxes early. The sooner you file, the sooner you'll receive your refund (and, in some circumstances, give you more time to pay your bill). You also have more time to reduce your taxes by contributing to retirement accounts, HSAs, and pre-tax commuter benefits.
You may even be able to get ahead of the curve and save money.
Look for tax preparation services that already advertise great deals on tax returns and maximizing deductions. Meet with your accountant or financial planner in January and start completing all the necessary documents. The longer you wait, the more accountants may not be available or may charge you higher fees. The same goes for some tax preparation software.
6. Insurance contract
January is the perfect time to review all your insurance policies to avoid finding yourself without adequate coverage this year. This includes evaluations of health, life, homeowners, renters, auto insurance, and disability insurance plans. Adjust coverage and premiums as necessary.
You can also save money on new insurance. In some cases, insurance companies offer winter promotional prices on bundled or first-time policies to attract new customers. See if you can take advantage of our January offer to reduce your premiums. Planning and reviewing your coverage can ensure you and your family are protected.
7. Air tickets and other travel packages
With the holiday travel rush over, January is the perfect time to secure flights and vacation packages before peak season begins.
A good rule of thumb is to book your flights about 3 to 5 months before you plan to go on vacation. So if you're planning an upcoming spring or summer vacation, now is the perfect time to get discounts as flight tickets are on sale. Some travel websites let you combine hotel and flight packages for even more savings.
The new year is a natural time to think about your money habits and organize your finances for success. It's the perfect time to start laying the foundations now to make your annual financial plan (and track your progress) and make sure your money works for you throughout the year.
This includes reviewing your investment portfolio, retirement plan, and leveraging your savings. Interest rates on certificates of deposit and high-yield savings accounts are still rising, so you can maximize the interest you earn.
9. Car maintenance
January's winter weather can wreak havoc on your car, so it's important to take care of it and protect it from the elements. At low temperatures, tire pressure decreases and the tread deteriorates, while shocks and struts wear out faster on ice and snow. Your windshield wipers, battery, and antifreeze may also need to be replaced.
The beginning of the year is a great time to tackle preventive maintenance before problems arise and leave you stranded. Many mechanics also offer special winter services. You should also save for any car repairs or upgrades you may need later this year. By building a car savings account, you'll never run out.
I'm a financial planning expert: These 5 things to buy as the new year begins
Taking care of these important items or stocking up on certain products in January will set you on the path to financial savings and success all year long.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I'm a Financial Planner: These 9 Things You Must Buy in January