Financial Moves Before Year End

The last quarter of the year is a good time to make financial changes before year end.

W-4 deductions: If you’ve had a change in the number of dependents (birth of a child, for example), you’ll need to change the allowances on your W-4 form. Don’t delay. Your employer has more than 30 days to get it done.

Level of savings: Are you on target for the amount you planned to put into savings this year? There are three months left to make additional deposits to your savings account.

Winter gear: If you haven’t purchased winter coats and boots for the family, don’t wait much longer, as stock will be gone in many stores. If necessary, put items on layaway to make sure they’re held for you. Walmart’s layaway started Sept. 12; Burlington Coat Factory’s layaway ends Oct. 31. If you can’t afford the whole amount now, layaway should buy you a few weeks.

FSA: If you have a Flexible Spending Account for health expenses, remember that you could lose whatever you don’t spend before the end of the year. Your employer might have two options: a 2-1/2-month grace period in the following year to spend the money, or a maximum $500 carryover to the next year. Without either of these, you’ll need to spend the money on eligible health expenses or lose it. When you set up your account for 2015, consider the expenses you’re likely to have so there is no overage.

Holiday money: Are you on track to be able to pay all cash for holiday spending? If not, October and November will give you a chance to set additional money aside.

Vehicle purchase: If you know you’ll need a new vehicle soon, this is a good time to start shopping, comparing, reading reviews and looking at price guides — but not purchasing. The closer to the end of the year (in December), the more deals and incentives will be available as dealers try to close out the year with boosted sales figures. The next months also will give you time to save more toward a down payment, making your monthly payments smaller.

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.