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.