Written by: Lyndsey (she/her)
3 min read | Published: November 14, 2023
Reflect on the past year. Are you the same person you were at the beginning? It’s safe to say none of us are if we take into consideration our financial situation, academic progress, and knowledge we’ve accrued over the past 12 months. While the holiday season can inspire gratitude for our growth and the support we’ve received along the way, think of some actionable steps you can take to further your success in the new year. Consider these three ideas for a productive holiday break to make next year your best yet!
Having a financial wellness day gives you time to reflect on your financial situation and plans. Use this time to review your budget and make any necessary updates to your expenses or income before revising your saving goals. When logging into your financial accounts, consider updating passwords and usernames to keep them secure. As you refresh your spending plan, don’t forget to pay yourself first by prioritizing allotments to your emergency savings or retirement accounts. With many people receiving holiday bonuses or salary increases, this can be a great time to consider how much you could contribute before designating your funds to a different goal.
Next, contemplate your values to decide which financial goals you would like to work toward this year. If increasing your credit is a goal to prepare for homeownership, consider making an effective plan for paying down debt using the snowball or avalanche method, or ponder ways you could support making on-time payments to lenders by using automatic payments or e-alerts. If you’re hoping to take a trip or pay for a large expense, think about opening separate accounts specifically for these goals and setting up scheduled transfers to make saving intentional. If giving back to your community is a passion, check out saving apps dedicated to facilitating charitable contributions. Taking actionable steps with your saving, spending and giving can help create more financial empowerment heading into the new year.
Although a break between semesters is a good time to put a pause on studying, it’s also a great time to think of and prepare for the needs related to your academic future. If you’re close to meeting the requirements of your degree, consider scheduling a check-in day with your department advisers to ensure you’re on track for graduation. Some schools may have graduation checklists that can help you learn when to apply for graduation, when commencement ceremonies take place, and what expenses might be involved. No matter your academic year, it’s always a good idea to review your school’s calendar for the year ahead to plan around holidays and semester breaks. Being aware of shortened weeks and breaks will allow you to prepare and manage your time appropriately. After reviewing your calendar, consider scheduling scholarship search days throughout the year during your academic breaks. Making these practices a habit can help make achieving your academic goals less stressful and more successful than the year before.
As the old saying goes, it’s a “new year, new you” and your resume should also reflect this! Avoid the scramble of updating your resume as you fill out job applications by scheduling a professional development day. Ensure your contact information has been updated if you’ve had an address or email change and review your employment history to make certain you have the most recently acquired skills and experiences listed. Don’t forget to add any degrees, awards, recognitions or certifications you’ve earned to support your qualifications, or to ask for letters of recommendation. Consider using some of your time to compile work samples, create a professional portfolio, or update your LinkedIn page. Acting now will have you feeling confident and prepared for taking your next steps toward your chosen career.
We all know how to make space for fun, but scheduling time to further ourselves financially, academically and professionally is key to making progress. It’s often easier to create these plans during academic breaks, so make your break a productive one!
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