Get your goals blooming with this financial checklist
We’re almost into April already! Thankfully, we have a little extra time to get our taxes in (thank you, IRS!).
Spring is almost here, and I’m so ready to see more than just flowers start blooming. The economy seems to be stabilizing, more people are going back to work, and I’m hoping that the worst of corona-hell is behind us.
I know it’s been difficult to make progress with financial goals over the past year. Both my husband and I were out of work and I had to stop paying down our debt and instead focus on building savings to last us through this storm. And, it’s still not over. I can’t switch gears just yet.
Someone told me the other day that she believes this whole pandemic is going to trigger a worldwide reset in many ways – economically, politically, and spiritually. I think that’s very possible, considering the powerful impact it’s had over the last year.
But, it also made me wonder how that could apply to me personally. What needs to be reset in my life? How have my priorities changed? What do I need to start again, with a fresh perspective?
These are questions I encourage you to ask yourself. Are there areas in your life where you feel stuck? Have your money habits, your mindset, your relationships, or your faith, become stale? Has your motivation suffered a slow death over the past year?
Maybe you just need to hit the reboot button so you can start fresh. As the world slowly moves back to a sense of normalcy, it’s an opportune time to consider a reset for yourself.
If you need a little extra direction, I’ve put together this April financial checklist. Choose one or two or all five items to help you get back on track to making your financial goals a priority. And, if you want more ideas, check out all of the monthly financial checklists offered here on Finance Over Fifty.
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1. Make budget adjustments
Now that you’ve gotten through the first quarter of the year, you’ll want to review how your budget’s working for you.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself:
- Have you been able to stay within your budget consistently?
- Are there certain categories you frequently overspend in?
- Is your budget system helping you stay on track, or are there things you need to change?
- Are you meeting your financial goals every month?
- Is your spending lining up with your values?
Budgets are always a work in process because our spending varies and our goals change.
Be sure to adjust your budget accordingly so you’re staying on track.
2. Organize & shred
We have a 5-drawer file cabinet in my husband’s office. Every drawer is crammed full with hanging files and folders of documents.
The other day I was looking for something in the cabinet and noticed I still have files for automobiles we haven’t owned in over a decade.
I think it’s time for a file purge.
It’s crucial to have your important documents organized and kept in a safe location. Get rid of outdated folders and keep the really important stuff in a fireproof safe (passports, birth certificates, your will, etc.).
Once you’ve done a full purge, make sure you take all documents with confidential information to get shredded. If you don’t have your own shredder, there are companies that will do this for you for a fee.
The other alternative is to burn them in your fireplace (this could be more fun and dual purpose because you can roast marshmallows at the same time).
3. Shop seasonal sales
April is a great month for finding great deals, as retailers prepare for the summer season.
- Look through the discount racks at your favorite clothing store to find spring clothing lines being thinned out.
- Lots of people are getting the spring cleaning bug, which means the thrift stores will have lots of new goodies to search through.
- Along with getting rid of old stuff, people will be doing a deep clean of their homes. This means stores will start to offer good deals on products like vacuums and home cleaning supplies.
- Be sure to get your mom a gift this month, because retailers will take advantage of “last minute” shoppers in May and raise their prices.
- Hopefully, the snow is fading into a distant memory by the end of April, so keep an eye out for discounts on snow removal equipment. You’ll probably find snow blowers and shovels at good prices.
- Spring is in the air and summer is around the corner – this means wedding season is upon us. If you know you’ll need a gift for someone, start looking now. Stores will offer better prices on cookware this month to entice their customers to start their gift shopping now.
- Stock up on Easter candy, baskets, decorations, and dresses after the holiday, when these items will go on clearance.
4. Complete a money challenge
Are you already making summer plans? Maybe you want to go on a vacation or upgrade your backyard landscaping.
A great way to start saving for those extra expenses is to create a money challenge for a whole month.
Some ideas you could commit to for 30 days are:
- Not eating out
- Not buying any new clothes
- Enjoying only free entertainment
- Making your coffee at home
- Only buying necessities
Any of these will take discipline to stick to for a whole month, but I guarantee you’ll save money! You could even do more than one – or *all* of them – to maximize your savings.
By the end of the month, you’ll have a hefty sum you can put toward your summer plans.
5. Align your values with your spending
As you consider what needs to be “reset” in your own life, it’s a helpful exercise to figure out what you really value. Life has a way of messing with perspective, and it’s easy to get off track (especially if you’ve gone through a crisis … or a pandemic).
Take the time to write down your priorities. Get a firm grasp on those things that are non-negotiable for you. Think about what provides joy and fulfillment in your life.
Then, take a look at how you’re spending money and determine if your finances actually align with your values.
If you see a discrepancy, adjust your budget (see #1) so your spending can be a better reflection of what really matters to you.
Download financial checklists for all 12 months of the year for FREE!
Plan your checklist & start blooming
Staying on track towards financial freedom takes planning and intention. It’s not enough to write down a list in a notebook, where you’ll find it 4 months from now while you’re on the phone looking for a piece of scrap paper.
To-do lists are for doing. So be sure to write them down somewhere that will motivate you to get them done.
Add them to your calendar, tack them up on the kitchen bulletin board, or put them as reminders on your phone.
It doesn’t matter how small the task is, as long as it keeps you moving forward then it’s worth doing.
Other posts you may be interested in:
- How To Save $5000 In A Year
- 11 Effective Ways To Stay Motivated With Your Goals
- The Purpose Of A Budget: 17 Powerful Benefits
- 3 Smart Reasons To Put Savings Before Debt
- How To Live On Last Month’s Income (and Why You Should)
- 14 (Mostly Free) Online Money Management Tools
- How To Live Within Your Means (and Still Be Content)
- Financial Health Checkup: 7 Steps To Boost Your Fiscal Well-being
- How To Escape Debt With A DIY Debt Management Plan
- The Zero-Sum Budget Resource Guide