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Goals to Hit Before the End of the Year

goals to finish the year

Like it or not, the last quarter of the year is upon us. I sound like my parents when I say that the older you get, the faster time goes, but it’s true. Even though we’re in the final stretch, there is still time to end 2015 without regrets. Here are possible goals to hit before the end of the year.

Contribute to a Health Savings Account

If you are eligible for a health savings account, make sure to get it established and funded before the end of the year. The triple tax savings on contributions, growth, and withdrawals is too good to pass up. If used for approved medical spending, HSA contributions might be the only money never subject to income taxes.

Make Sure You’ve Taken Advantage of any 401(k) Match

If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure to contribute enough to get those extra dollars. Even if you’re strapped financially, run the numbers before leaving money on the table. Contributions are pre-tax, so they might cost less than you think.

If your employer doesn’t allow for changes in contribution amounts throughout the year or if you truly don’t have a penny to spare, use this as an incentive to make better plans next year so you don’t miss out on free money!

Get in Doctor and Dental Appointments

If you have insurance that covers preventative care, make sure to get physicals and dental or eye appointments taken care of so you don’t lose those benefits. 

Also don’t forget that all ACA compliant health plans cover vaccinations. Take advantage of flu shots if you have small kids or don’t have time to get sick. It’s also a good idea to talk with parents or grandparents about a shingles vaccination, which is covered for those over age 60. I probably see two or three patients a month who are suffering through shingles, and all of them wish they had gotten the vaccine!

Start a Fitness Program

No one starts exercising during the holiday season. We put it off with the promise to do better at the beginning of next year. Why not do better now? It may take longer than 21 days to make a habit, but if you start a fitness plan now and stick to it, the routine will might habit before the temptations of cookies, pie, and cheese platters attack from every turn.

I know I’m going to indulge a bit during the last six weeks of the year, but I also know I exercise enough burn off most of my sins. You may never truly love working out, but once physical activity is ingrained, you’ll be loathe to go without. I don’t always enjoy exercise, but I always love the feeling after a workout.

Set Your Christmas Budget and Figure Out How to Fund it

The earlier you can establish a Christmas budget, the easier it is to avoid overspending. Once you have a plan in place, take advantage of sales or deals as they come so you won’t end up shopping at the last minute.

Don’t forget to include teachers, work colleagues, neighbors, or other non-family members you will shop for. There is no rule that you have to buy everyone a gift, but if you think you might, go ahead and put it in the budget.

There are always creative ways to come up with extra money for holiday expenses

  • Sign up for a new credit card or bank account to get a bonus.
  • Sell items you don’t need anymore.
  • Save per diem money from business trips. I’m getting $600 in meal money for my Alaska trip. Guess where most of that money is going?
  • DIY hair coloring and nail care to save on salon bills.
  • Sign up for surveys or focus groups. I just made $10 dollars for filling out surveys about my bank.
  • Work at holiday events. As businesses start to offer holiday events and parties, look for ways to take on temp jobs like catering, babysitting, security, music or entertainment, playing Santa or an elf, serving hot chocolate, or helping with decorations. The possibilities are endless.

Whether your goals for the end of the year are financial, physical, or personal, make sure to have a plan in place so you don’t procrastinate to the point of ending the year on a low note. Even if you don’t accomplish all your goals, at least you’ll feel better knowing you did your best.

What are you hoping to get done before the end of the year?


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. It’s crazy that we’re looking at the end of the year – but I know I sound like my parents as well when I say that. 😉 Most of our goals are financial this year – we just finished maxing out our Solos and should be doing the same with our HSA within the next few weeks. Other than that we’ll likely focus on moving towards saving for our Roth contributions for next year and house down payment fund.

  2. I can never figure out why people wait until Jan 1 to start a fitness program. It really does help having one in place that gets your through the holidays, but on the eating front and dealing with fatigue and stress. I’m hoping to get my videos sorted so I can figure out how to make them without involving a specific person. Yeah, kind of vague I know. 🙂

  3. End of year? Or being the federal government starts the new fiscal year on October 1st, a belated happy new year? Starting the fitness program is easier when the weather is warm and you can get out to walk or other activity. An important factor with all the food holidays approaching is to limit the intake of the food at parties, dinners, etc. one plate of food is enough and don’t skip the vegetables. Just because someone made a special dessert doesn’t mean you have to eat it, or take a small sample. Making dozens of cookies that sit around the house as well as what you gift will get eaten. Better not to over do it and then complain your clothes don’t fit due to the 15 pounds you gained.
    I did do my hair color last weekend while it was a warm day. My guy mixed up the henna to color my hair, kinda messy, and applied it on the patio. The henna doesn’t destroy my hair or contain the carcinogens that box and salon color does. Color came out great and was $15 as I needed two packets to cover my elbow length tresses. It would be over $200 in the salon to color my hair, especially with the long hair extra surcharge and their color damages my hair. Gave my boys each a haircut Monday, cleanup is easier outside as well. Home haircuts for them saves me over $500 a year. I will have my guy give me a trim this week, it’s been a couple months since the last one. Having hm wield the shears to keep my locks well groomed saves me hundreds a year as well. So being salon free is a big money saver for me. Making gifts for the holidays of jams, dried fruit and candied nuts again this year. Cheaper than store bought and they are a hit with those I give them to.

    • Those are some great ways to save money. I wish I could cut my own hair, but I’ll have to settle for coloring it. It would look like a 3rd grader did it if I tried DIY haircuts.

  4. Yep all these things are things that I’ve been working on. The HSA should definitely be at the top of everyone’s list. You aren’t allowed to contribute THAT much money each year, considering how high deductibles are these days, so it’s good to get some $ in there before the end of the fiscal year.

    • If you make a contribution every month throughout the year, it isn’t that hard to max out. That would be the first investment I would make before anything else.

  5. Great tips, Kim! I love Health Savings Accounts and wish more people took advantage of them, because as you shared – the benefits are fantastic. Our home remodel sort of threw everything in air, so my only goal is to get that project finished and to be fully moved in by year-end and I will be a very happy camper!

  6. I’m hoping to lose 5 lbs so I can gain it all back at Christmas 🙂 Seriously though – we have been in heated discussions about Christmas budgets. Amazingly, I think we have managed to purge the consumeristic lifestyle from our blood over the last year, and at least in my household, we are chopping the holiday budget to 25% of what was normal. It feels good! I’ve also been brainstorming about what presents I can make for those not in my household, to further help reduce costs.

    • If it was up to me, I would not buy gifts for anyone over 18, but some of my family doesn’t agree with that so we will end up buying some gifts for adults.

    • If it was up to me, I would not buy gifts for anyone over 18, but some of my family doesn’t agree with that so we will end up buying some gifts for adults.

  7. I usually do our tax planning for next year in the 4th quarter. It make open enrollment easier and helps us set our budget for January 1st.

  8. I would also say that people should check in on their tax planning before the end of the year. Some moves that could help your tax bill need to be handled within the calendar year so if you don’t get them done by December, they won’t help you for this year.

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