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Mint Roundup: Your End of Year Money Moves

photo: AMagill

December is a significant time for most of us, when we get to celebrate the holidays with cheer and maybe a touch of chaos. It’s also when we take stock of the past year and start thinking about our financial and personal goals for the following year.

The winter season sets the tone for reflection and contemplation. Most of us look back on the months behind us with a heart grateful for the wonderful things that have happened, as well as with a mind that’s been made aware of mistakes made, lessons learned and a hope and resolve that we’ll do better going forward. This form of reflection can help us tie up the loose ends of the past year and allow us to prepare for what’s ahead. Just as we clean out our attics, basements and closets, it may be time to take a look at our financial house and do a little cleaning before we ring in the New Year. Mint has taken a look around the financial blogosphere to put together some tips on how to do just that.

First up is Pick One, Just One. MoneyCrush has an honest observation about the act of making New Year’s resolutions: often, we just don’t end up fulfilling them. So her suggestion makes sense: Why don’t we pick just ONE major life change to pursue for 2011, and follow through with it? We may just be able to achieve one of our more important goals if we take her advice.

Then, when you’ve set your major goal for 2011, how about clearing the cobwebs in your mind? The Simple Dollar suggests: Out With The Old, In With The New: Do a Mind Sweep. Find out how to move any distracting concerns out of the way, then assess how to prioritize the important concerns. What are those things that are most important to you? Let’s determine how to organize our thinking so that we can become more effective and efficient.

Financial management is something that falls into our high priority bucket by the time the New Year rolls around. Kay Bell from Don’t Mess With Taxes writes about the crucial documents that you need to put in order, in her article, Year-end financial details, Dec. 2010. This may be somewhat of a chore to do each year, but as they say (and as you often hear), “Somebody’s gotta do it.”

To motivate you further to get your taxes in order, here are 10 Ways to Save on Taxes Now from Personal Dividends. For instance, think about boosting your retirement fund — this may allow you to experience extra tax benefits as well, which would improve your bottom line. So why not get motivated about increasing your retirement savings and kill two birds with one stone?

With the important things out of the way, how about a bit of fun? Mr. and Mrs. Not Made of Money recommend some great tips on What to Do With Your Christmas Bonus. There’s a lot you can do with your windfall, and this post seems to have covered all the bases.

It’s also a time of travel for many, with a lot of folks visiting their families and loved ones to celebrate the holidays. If you’re thinking of flying, make sure you check out these Smart Tips On Buying Discount Airline Tickets from The Digerati Life, which discusses some ways you can save on travel by reviewing your earned rewards and airline miles that you’ve accumulated throughout the year via your credit cards. Watch out for the tips on how to best use your cash back rewards, as it pertains to travel.

And before we go, Free Money Finance shares a great tip or two in his book review 16 Mindsets of the Cheapskates Next Door. This review gives an outline of the book, as well as FMF’s insights on certain topics. It’s time to do away with old bad habits and take on better habits that have worked to make cheapskates succeed in accumulating wealth. Wouldn’t you like to take a peek into the frugal mindset? If you’re looking to be more thrifty this 2011, then this may be a good book to absorb.

Indeed, it’s time to sweep out the clutter, break bad habits and work to improve our attitudes. Are you ready to welcome 2011 with a fresh enthusiasm about your finances?