Jan­u­ary is often the cold­est month of the year in the North­ern Hemi­sphere.  In fact, in Jan­u­ary 2017 there was a Euro­pean cold wave that hit a lot of East­ern and Cen­tral Europe.  Greece was blan­ket­ed in unusu­al­ly heavy snow­fall.   San­tori­ni, which typ­i­cal­ly has Mediter­ranean weath­er, was cov­ered in snow caus­ing trans­porta­tion delays. This is great news for peo­ple like myself who love the cold.  We get to do things we wouldn’t oth­er­wise be allowed to do.  Throw­ing a mud­ball in the sum­mer is unac­cept­able, but throw­ing a snow­ball in the win­ter is fun and jovial.   Mak­ing a leaf/grass angel in my neighbor’s yard is unac­cept­able, but mak­ing a snow angel in my neighbor’s yard is cute. Build­ing a human fig­ure from ran­dom mate­ri­als in my yard is weird and eccen­tric, while mak­ing a snow­man is clas­sic and almost cer­tain­ly expected.

On to Jan­u­ary mon­ey must do’s…

Dis­count shopping:

I am not sure of the exact rea­son why, but bed­ding is always on sale in the month of Jan­u­ary.  Maybe it is because every­one has already bought their com­forters lead­ing into the cold win­ter months and the left­overs are need­ing to be sold to make way for next year’s inven­to­ry.  Regard­less of the rea­son, these “white sales” can have 50% dis­counts on high end inventory.

Review Pri­or Year:

Not every­one had a plan for 2017, but it doesn’t hurt to see where 2017 stacked up.  If you had a plan you can see where you over/underestimated income or expens­es.  If you didn’t have a plan, you can see where your mon­ey came from and where it went.  The knowl­edge alone is fine, but using it is where you get the most ben­e­fit.  The 2017 finances will give you a good gripe on where your bud­get needs to be set.

Also, review­ing the year will get you in the right mind­set for when tax time come.  It will remind you of any additional/unexpected incomes and expens­es you had for the year.

Set a Budget:

BORING! But what the heck else are you going to do when there is a ‑5 degree wind-chill? Using an app like Mint.com or Per­son­al Cap­i­tal makes it easy, as they can import infor­ma­tion from your var­i­ous accounts and basi­cal­ly set a thresh­old for the cat­e­gories of your bud­get.  You can then tweak the cat­e­gories accordingly.

These are sim­ple tasks to con­sid­er for Jan­u­ary.  If noth­ing else, they will occu­py your time so you aren’t that odd­ball neighbor.