Use your end of year statements to help with budgeting

Now that we are well into the new year, if you have signed up for notifications from your financial institutions, you should soon receive a note about year-end summaries being available. These are essentially summaries of all of your transactions from the last year, which can be great resources for budgeting, tax filing, and general record keeping purposes. Today, we’ll discuss where you can find these statements and why should review them as soon as they are available.

To find your credit / debit card transactions online, if you haven’t already registered for online access, you will want to do that first. If you have Chase accounts, they make it really easy to find your statements. Just head over to http://www.chase.com/yearend and follow the instructions from there. You can view the statement online and download it to PDF as well. Or, if you don’t want to view these online, you should be able to receive a paper copy instead by request.

Budgeting made simpler with year end summaries

budgeting

Take a closer look at what you are buying.

Year-end statements are really useful for budgeting purposes. Chase, and other credit card companies as well, breaks out all of your spending by category and month. For example, “Travel and Entertainment” is one category which you can guess includes airfare, taxis, trains, etc. I have issue with some of their categorizations, as I wouldn’t group travel and entertainment together, but that’s for another day. You can also see “heavy” months of spending. For example, March was a big month for some reason. For budgeting purposes, you will want to carefully review these transactions to make sure you aren’t overspending in any particular area. Besides Travel, “Restaurants” was the second largest spending category for us. You might be surprised, especially if you don’t look at your transactions often, how much you spend on certain items. Use this information to adjust those habits.

Year-end summaries are also helpful for tax reporting purposes. 2017 Tax Reform Bill aside, if you had made transactions this past year that might qualify for deductions for businesses, etc., the year-end summary is a great record keeping tool to help file taxes. If you are audited, then you will have an easy reference that you can cite as proof of your transactions.

Finally, year-end summaries are great for tracking large purposes you might have made this past year that might have stopped working. For warranty claim purposes, you can easily track down that refrigerator you bought for $800 that unexpectedly broke and file the necessary paperwork to get it repaired or replaced.

These are just a few ideas you can use these summaries for. How will you use yours? Let me know.

 

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mschroed@hotmail.com

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