September: Check, Please!
Have you checked your credit report in the past year? Didn't think so. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com, where you can access your reports on file at the big-three credit bureaus—for free. If you anticipate taking out a loan in the next six months or may be job hunting, or if your credit report turns up any mistakes, you should also obtain your FICO credit score ($16; MyFICO.com.)
Can an ex be held responsible for ruining your credit?
October: Brace for Life's Tricks
I wish you only treats this Halloween. But while we all hope for the best, we still need to prepare for the worst. Parents of young children must have life insurance and a will in place—it's non-negotiable. For most families, term life insurance is the easiest and least expensive solution. Go to SelectQuote.com or AccuQuote.com to make sure you're looking out for your family's best interests if the worst should happen.
Timely Tip: Parents of new college grads: The six-month grace period between graduation and repayment for many student loans is approaching. Make sure repayment arrangements are nailed down.How to buy life insurance
November: Bag the Best Benefits
Fall is typically open-enrollment period at work, when you can make changes to your benefits package for the coming year. If you learn that your health insurance rates will increase next year, check whether your company offers a high-deductible plan that's paired with a health savings account. If you're in good health, this can be a great way to reduce your premium costs by agreeing to pay a higher deductible (minimum of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families). You can then invest in an HSA, which allows your tax-deductible contributions to be used for medical expenses, including the deductible. Your unused HSA balance can be rolled over and used in subsequent years.
3 financial offers that are worth their weight in gold
7 deals you should never make
December: Pay in Cash
Financially speaking, December can be rough: Gift giving, holiday parties, and vacations all take their toll. My advice? Stash your credit cards and live within your means all 31 days of this month. Avoiding that nasty January credit card bill that you can't pay off is the surest way to start the new year on the right financial foot.
The hidden costs of credit card "rewards"
10 tips for a fresh financial start
More Smart Financial Advice to Bring With You Into the New Year
Suze Orman can be seen on Ask Oprah's All-Stars. Submit your questions for Suze here.