The Best Last-Minute Money Moves for 2012

There’s still time to improve your finances before the ball drops.

The year 2013 sparkling on a black background.
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Up your insurance policies if necessary. If 2012 saw you through any major life changes, such as a home purchase, marriage, or children, you might need more insurance. In fact, many people are under-insured, which can put their dependents at risk. Let the holidays inspire you to review your current policies and see whether you need to take steps to further protect your family. Since employer-provided coverage doesn't stick with you if you move or lose your job, it's important to double-check that you have enough outside coverage, too, says Carmen Wong Ulrich, president and co-founder of ALTA Wealth Management.

[Read: 50 Smart Money Moves.]

Empty out flex-spending accounts. Many flex-spending accounts that are offered by employers, including those for healthcare costs, commuting costs, and childcare costs, come with a use-it-or-lose-it policy. That means if you set money aside, now is the time to gather those receipts and file for reimbursement. (Some policies give employees until March 15 to file.)

Give generously. With tax breaks for charitable contributions potentially on the chopping block amid the fiscal cliff negotiations, you still have time to donate (and deduct) in 2012. Websites such as charitynavigator.org make it easy to research nonprofits before writing a check.

With these items ticked off, you can ring in the New Year with a little less on your plate.