While you wait out six more weeks of winter and cheer for your favorite team on Super Bowl Sunday, give your finances some extra love this month — Valentine’s Day is in two weeks, after all. Here are five ways to improve your finances in February.
REVISIT YOUR RESOLUTIONS
You’re done setting your resolutions, so now it’s time to check in on your progress. Yes, it’s only February, but truth is, many Americans lose steam around this time. So make sure you’re taking tangible steps to accomplish some of your loftier year-long goals.
If, for example, your resolution was to save up for a new home, have you set up automated transfers to help make it happen? Or if your resolution was non-financial, like eating healthier, is there a financially friendly way to achieve it?
Whether you're right on track or need to make a few tweaks, keep the momentum going by reading up on how these three women stuck to their financial resolutions.
TAKE STOCK OF YOUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS
Another financial resolution that’s usually top of mind every year is boosting retirement savings. And why not? Saving for retirement is one of the smartest financial moves in the book. If you’ve haven’t started yet, there's no time like the present. Thanks to compound interest, the sooner you start, the more time your money will have to grow, which means more money for your future self. And the great thing is there are a variety of ways to do it — contributing to an IRA, a 401(k) or even a health savings account. If you have already started saving, keep up the good work and aim to increase your contributions this year — even if it’s by just 1 percent.
START YOUR TAX PREP
Many people have received their W-2 or 1099 forms by now. But even if you haven’t, it’s still a good time to start thinking about your taxes. That might include deciding how you’re going to file. If you’re thinking of going the DIY route, here’s how to choose the right tax filing status. If you’re planning to let a pro handle the paperwork, these five questions can help you choose a tax preparer. And if you’re filing taxes as a remote worker, as many people are this year, doing your prep work ahead of time can save you a headache come Tax Day.
HAVE A COUPLE’S MONEY CHAT
While sitting down for a conversation about money may not scream “date night,” it’s always a good idea to have regular money check-ins with your significant other to ensure you’re on the same page. But broaching the topic of money isn’t always easy, whether you’re dating, engaged or are total money opposites. While it might feel awkward at first, remember that talking about money can only strengthen your relationship and help you and your partner reach your goals together (and talking over a nice dinner and wine won’t hurt).
PLAN A TRIP
There’s nothing like the promise of a vacation to help get you through the winter doldrums. But while it may not be fully safe to travel just yet, you can still start planning a post-pandemic trip. Whether you’ve got your eye on a sandy beach or a cross-country backpacking adventure, indulge in creating a loose itinerary while you add to your vacation fund now. When life returns to normal, you’ll be ready for that hard-earned time off both mentally and financially.