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Finance for Parents

Your Winter Checklist: How to Prep Your Finances for the New Year

By Allison KadeJan 14, 2020

One thing about being a parent: No time. Another thing about being a parent: You’re responsible for keeping your family safe and cared for, and that includes managing your money smartly. 

No time + needing to look after the ones you love = a quarterly checklist to help keep you on track, so you can get back to wiping boogers and giving snuggles. 

Here are our favorite ways to stay on top of your money and your life this winter: 

1. Refresh Your New Year’s Resolutions

How are you doing on your resolutions so far? If they’re already starting to drift a little, take a moment to refocus on what you want to achieve. 

Studies have shown that we’re likelier to stick to our resolutions when they are tangible and actionable. So instead of “spend less money,” you might try something like “bring lunch to work one extra day each week, saving $40 a month.” 

Next time you want to change your behavior for the future, try an implementation intention. That’s an if/then statement laying out how you’ll change your behavior. The key isn’t to focus on not taking a certain action, but to replace it with something else.

For example, maybe you have a tendency to do impulse shopping whenever you’re in a bad mood. You might resolve: “If I’m having a bad day, then I’ll go home and take a warm bath to relax.” This focuses not on the shopping, but on what you’ll do instead to take your mind off of it. That’s the key.

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2. Assess Your Life Insurance Needs

The new year is a good time to take stock of your family situation and whether anything has changed. It’s also a good time to finally tackle those to-dos you’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t quite managed to get around to…

The main reason people get life insurance is to help protect those who depend on them financially. For lots of people, this starts becoming important when they have kids or other financial dependents. (If something happened to you while you were covered, the life insurance company would pay a “death benefit” to the people you chose in your policy, such as your spouse or children.)

Spend a few minutes understanding how life insurance works, how much coverage you might need and what you should know if you’re a stay-at-home parent

When you’re ready, take Fabric’s quiz to see if life insurance makes sense for you and apply for a policy in under 10 minutes (you can do it online without talking to an agent). 

3. Budget for Spring Travel

Spring break trips are supposed to be about fun memories with your family—not about financial stress. Sure, OK, it may still be frigid outside right now. But if you’re thinking about going somewhere during the spring or summer, now’s a good time to start coming up with ideas on where you want to go and figuring out what it might cost. 

Once you have a rough budget in mind, do a little math: Do you already have that amount saved up without sacrificing other goals? If not, how long do you have before you go, and how much do you need? Take that number and turn it into a weekly (or even daily) goal so you can figure out how to make more money or spend less to come up with your travel budget.

It may feel early, but if you start watching airfares now, you’ll have more time to monitor any drops in costs so you can get the most affordable flight and accommodations possible. Websites like Kayak offer alert features to let you know when the trip you’re eyeing is available at a particularly good price. 

4. Check Your Credit Report

It’s a good idea to check your credit report regularly to make sure that there are no fraudulent charges or mistakes on your credit history, which could wrongly bring down your credit ratings. (If you do find any mistakes or errors on your report, you can notify the credit bureaus to get the record changed.)

The best part about this is that, legally, you’re allowed to get your credit report for free once a year. The best and only recommended place to get it is AnnualCreditReport.com. That’s because there are several copycats out there that claim to be free but actually may roll you into paid subscriptions over time. Only AnnualCreditReport.com is operated by the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. 

5. Start Thinking About Enrollments for Next Year

Holy cow, right?! But I already received a renewal notice from my 2-year-old’s daycare, asking for an early decision on whether we’d like to enroll again next year (otherwise they might not save my kid a spot). 

If your school/daycare/childcare arrangement doesn’t require this much advance notice, you are lucky! Still, even if they haven’t officially asked you yet, it’s smart to begin thinking about your childcare arrangements for the coming year, so you aren’t forced to make any flash decisions down the road (or forced to join a waitlist). 

As you bundle up for the rest of winter and dream about spring to come, taking care of just a few important to-dos can make a big difference for your family’s future—and for your own state of mind.

Want to see what's coming up next? Here's a sneak peek at your spring financial to-dos.

Looking for another way to help protect your kids? Apply for term life insurance today.

This material is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific financial advice or to serve as the basis for any decisions. Fabric Insurance Agency, LLC offers a mobile experience for people on-the-go who want a easy and fast way to purchase life insurance.


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Written by

Allison Kade

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Fabric Instant is an Accidental Death Insurance Policy (Form VL-ADH1 with state variations where applicable) and Fabric Premium is a Term Life Insurance Policy (Form ICC16-VLT, ICC16-VLT19, and CMP 0501 with state variations where applicable). Policies are issued by Vantis Life Insurance Company (Vantis Life), Windsor, CT (all states except NY), and by Vantis Life Insurance Company of New York, Brewster, NY (NY only). Coverage may not be available in all states. Issuance of coverage for Fabric Premium is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Policy obligations are the sole responsibility of Vantis Life.

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