With April showers officially behind us, it’s time for May flowers and paying tribute to the moms in your life. But before you finalize your long-weekend plans for Memorial Day, be sure to leave some time for a bit of financial maintenance. Here are five ways to improve your finances in May.
FILE YOUR TAXES (IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY)
By now you’ve likely heard that the IRS moved Tax Day to May 17. If you haven’t filed yet, don’t let the extra time slip by — make sure to submit your return either on your own or with the help of a tax preparer.
If you’re expecting to receive some money back, there are a number of smart things to do with your tax refund. You could put it toward a financial goal, like paying down high-interest debt or adding to your retirement savings. On the other hand, you might consider using the extra money to treat yourself to a splurge, like this mom did.
JUMP-START YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH
With peak spring weather upon us, hopefully you’re getting outside more than ever — a boost for both your physical and mental health. So why not do the same for your financial health? By doing things like making sure you have a well-stocked emergency fund and ensuring you have enough life insurance and disability insurance coverage in place, you’ll have the confidence to continue tackling your goals as we approach the second half of the year.
CHECK YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Last month we talked about the importance of checking your credit report. This month, use what you learned and focus specifically on your credit score. If your score could use some improvement, start building good credit card habits, like using only one card for the entire month or making early or on-time payments. Or, if you noticed your score has dropped seemingly without reason, look to see if your credit limit was lowered. A decrease in your overall limit can increase your credit utilization, which is a major factor that affects your credit score.
THINK ABOUT SUMMER TRAVEL
Whether you’re planning to visit loved ones for Mother’s Day or take advantage of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the summer travel season is just around the corner. While the pandemic has certainly changed the way families travel, some aspects, like looking for local deals and discounts, have remained. Here are some additional tips that helped this family save on their recent vacation.
START SAVING FOR COLLEGE
May 29 is National College Savings Plan Day. While a 529 plan (5/29 – see what they did there?) is a great way to save for your child’s future education (and also get some tax breaks), here’s what to know before you open a college savings plan. A financial advisor can also help show you how saving for college fits in with your big-picture plan.