FINANCIAL

End-Of-Year Financial Checklist: 15 Tasks To Complete

12. Pay down your credit card debt
Credit card APRs have increased slightly this year, with the average rate around 16.3 percent.
“Credit card debt is the most expensive debt most households have, so put some urgency behind the efforts to get these balances paid off,” McBride says. “Paying down a 16 percent credit card balance is a risk-free return of 16 percent — at a time when savings accounts and government bonds pay less than 1 percent.”
You can take a few approaches to paying off your credit card debt, but a good rule of thumb is always to try and pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first.

13. Review your credit card benefits and reward offers
If you paid attention, you might be missing out on untapped opportunities to save money offered by the cards in your wallet — perks like extra cash back on groceries and food delivery, and free access to premium apps like Calm, Spotify or GrubHub.
“Check your cards and make sure you’re aware of category spending payouts that have changed and are using the right card for those expenditures,” McBride says.

14. Apply for a new credit card and save money

If you have a good credit score, taking advantage of a new good credit card offer can help you save money in a couple ways:
—Scoring a generous sign-up bonus (roughly worth $200-$800).
—Taking advantage of zero-interest intro periods for 12-15 months, which will allow you to pay for big items or holiday purchases for over a year without incurring interest.
“Use credit cards to your advantage, not the card issuer’s advantage,” McBride says. “Pay the balance in full every month. No annual fee rewards cards paying 2 percent back, or more in some categories, can put some of that spending back in your pocket.”
When shopping for a new credit card, look for one whose earning categories fit your spending habits. Also look into your likelihood of being approved for the card. Tools like Bankrate’s CardMatch give you access to prequalified offers without affecting your score and can help with the selection process.

15. Review your insurance policies
Take a look at your home, auto and life insurance policies to ensure they still meet your needs. Check to see if you have enough coverage or if you need to adjust your deductibles.
“Shop around to make sure you’re still getting the best deal,” McBride says. “Don’t think that because your home and auto premiums have been going up each year that this is the case everywhere.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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