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How do I create an alert on SharePoint 2013 for when the contracts are about to expire?

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You can create a SharePoint Designer workflow.

Workflows start on item creation, so you will have to pause them (use Pause until activity): enter image description here
and then send an email to a person you wanted to be alerted (Send an Email activity) enter image description here

It's an ok solution if you don't have many items or if you need to pause for a short time. Otherwise keep in mind that every workflow is running until the email is sent.

Another solution you could check out is Information Management Policy (library>settings). It allows you to e.g. delete items after a month or two, or e.g. start a workflow after given time. Depending on the size of your library/list, it may be more optimal than pausing an SPD workflow.

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