Now that April showers are behind us, it’s time to help your finances bloom. And as your calendar is likely filling up with warm-weather activities from barbecues to graduation parties, your finances may be far from top of mind. Luckily, you can enjoy the fun stuff and still make sure your financial goals are on track.
To make sure your financial forecast is just as sunny as the weather, we’ve put together our monthly checklist of to-dos. Here are five ways to improve your finances in May.
1. ENJOY A SPLURGE
With tax season finally behind us, you may have a refund headed your way (or in your account already). While it’s smart to earmark a good chunk of that extra money for your financial goals, like stocking your emergency fund or paying off debt, set aside a portion to enjoy a splurge. While it’s important to focus on those long-term financial goals, it’s also a good idea to spend a little extra money (when you have it) on a nice reward like dinner at your favorite restaurant or a spa day. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to splurge, check out the self-care expenses this woman works into her budget.
2. CHECK OUT THE HOUSING MARKET
Homebuying season is upon us, and if you’re looking to make a move of your own, now is a good time to take inventory of your options. Not sure what type of home best fits your needs? Here’s what one woman wishes she’d known before buying a fixer-upper. And consider these five things before building a new home. To make the process easier, you may want to consider working with a professional. Here are the questions to ask to find the right real estate agent for you.
3. PLAN YOUR SUMMER VACATION
School will soon be out for the summer, which means goodbye studying and hello vacation. If you’re still deciding on where to go, check out these five ski areas that also make great summer destinations. Or, if you had something more urban in mind, these cities are full of sights and easy to navigate with young kids. While you still have a couple of months before you’ll officially be on your getaway, you can get the whole family excited now by involving your kids in the planning process.
4. SAVE FOR COLLEGE
In May, we celebrate tax-advantaged college savings accounts (the accounts are known as 529s, so 5/29 seemed like a good day to celebrate them). Your little one may not even be in pre-K yet, but if you’re looking for ways to start saving for his or her future education expenses, you could consider a 529. Here’s how to set up a 529 plan. And if you’re struggling between saving for your retirement and your kids’ future college costs, here’s how to prioritize accordingly.
5. PROTECT YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET
You have car and homeowner’s insurance, but are you also protecting your ability to earn an income? It’s one of your biggest assets, but it’s often overlooked. That’s where disability insurance can come into play. If you get sick or injured for an extended period of time, disability insurance can help replace a portion of your income. Since May is also Disability Insurance Awareness Month, consider your coverage and whether disability insurance is worth it for you. And if you’re self-employed, there are options for you too.