Action Plan: Managing Your Money in October

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By the Associated Press

Am I covered? Are my kids covered? What's changed?

Too often employees don't ask enough questions during their annual open enrollment period for workplace benefits. Instead many just find themselves carrying over their prior year's coverage by default. If that sounds like you, don't make the same mistake this year.

Here are some of the other key events and dates that may influence your financial planning this month:

October 11: Columbus Day — Just because it's on sale doesn't mean you need to buy it. Make sure you don't end up spending money unnecessarily simply because an item appears to be a bargain.

October 15: Time's up for taxpayers who filed a 6-month extension to file their 2009 tax returns in April.

October 27: The Federal Trade Commission's new regulation banning debt settlement companies from demanding advance fees goes into effect.

Also keep in mind:

  • Open-enrollment season hits workplaces across the country this month. You'll want to carefully scrutinize how your benefits package may have changed before enrolling for the coming year.
  • Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. To get ready for trick or treaters, hit a discount warehouse retailer by Oct. 22 if you want to avoid the weekend shopping crowds. Ebates.com is also offering up to 14% cash back on purchases from certain Halloween retailers starting Oct. 1.
  • You're entitled to three free credit reports each year. If you haven't reviewed your report in several months, request a copy at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Taxpayers who filed paper tax returns last year can expect a postcard from the Internal Revenue Service in early October. The postcards will have instructions on where and how to obtain 2010 tax forms. The IRS has decided to stop sending forms automatically because so many people now file their returns online.
  • If your business sends out holiday cards and you haven't placed an order, you'll want to act fast. If you write a personal note in each card, having the cards in October will allow you to pace yourself.
  • Before the temperature really plummets you may want to do a home energy audit. A helpful checklist can be found on Energysavers.gov.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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