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Moves to make before Fed raises rates

When the Federal Reserve Board will raise interest rates is still a matter of debate.

It could come as early as this week...or maybe not till next year. But one thing is certain: it's coming.

Read MoreMore of Wall Street sees later rate hike

And while the long-term result of a rate increase will be positive for consumers, short term, it's likely to be costly, said economist Richard Ebeling, the BB&T distinguished professor of ethics and free enterprise leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. "This entire time of quantitative easing has meant they have had access to artificially low interest costs for consumer loans, auto loans, home loans," he said. "Even a modest increase by the Fed will start nudging up all the related interest rates."

With that in mind, the shortening timeline for rising interest rates will affect your financial to-do list in these six key areas.

—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant. Updated September 14, 2015

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters