Can you believe that summer is just around the corner? It’s crazy to think there’s only a few weeks left until break!
Every year around this time, I start longing for warm, summer days. The enthusiasm over snow days and a glowing fireplace starts to fade, and I feel ready for green grass, open windows, and flip flops again.
This year our finances don’t allow for a summer vacation out of town, but we’ll still find ways to enjoy the Denver weather and weekend festivals.
One thing for sure is I’ll be staying on top of our finances and making sure we’re staying within our budget. Summers tend to get a little “loose” but I’m determined to stick to the plan!
But before the heat comes and kids are dying of boredom, here are a few things you can work on to stay on track with your journey to financial freedom.
1. Create A Budget For Home Improvement Projects
Summer is a great time to improve your landscaping, get your house painted, or upgrade your creaky old deck. The time to start budgeting for these projects is now.
Your local home improvement stores will reward you for planning ahead by offering deep discounts in May, so take advantage of these sales! Keep your eyes peeled for discounted prices around Memorial Day.
It might be too early to start your projects, but you could do some prep work like measuring, designing and gathering materials. For bigger projects, start getting estimates and choose any contractors now so you can get on their schedule.
When you start beautifying your home it can be easy to go overboard. Put a budget in place so you can keep costs under control and not add more to your credit card balances.
2. Check Your Disability Insurance
Why would you do this in May?
Because May is disability insurance awareness month! (Yep, it’s a thing.)
In case you’re wondering what disability insurance is, I’ll tell you. Basically, it’s insurance that protects your income if you become disabled.
Dave Ramsey says this is the most under-insured area in a financial plan!
If you already have 3-6 months of living expenses in your savings account, you may not need short-term disability.
But even if you’ve got money growing on trees in your backyard, everyone needs long-term disability. You do NOT want to try to cut your insurance costs by declining disability insurance.
Most people get it through their work. If your employer doesn’t offer it, then check any trade associations you may be connected with. Otherwise, talk to an insurance agent.
Don’t put it off! If you already have it, make sure you have enough coverage. If you don’t – get it!
3. Plan A Garage Sale
Spring cleaning is in full swing, so gather up all those old shoes, knick knacks, books you don’t read, and small appliances you don’t use.
It’s time for a garage sale!
You can start organizing now by categorizing stuff in boxes, gathering up supplies like price tags and shopping bags, and making signs for your neighborhood.
Most people appreciate a well-organized yard sale and will tend to stick around longer if the items aren’t shoved randomly into cardboard boxes.
So don’t wait until the last minute to throw something together. Put some thought and planning into it. Pick a date that’s supposed to have nice weather. Make some eye-catching signs. Put an ad on Craigslist.
If you’re going to go through all that work, might as well try to maximize your profits!
4. Review Your Estate Plan
Now that tax season is over, it’s a good time to look over your estate plan and make sure everything is up to date.
Review your family trust, your will, designated beneficiaries, powers of attorney, and anything else associated with your plan to distribute your property once you’re gone.
What if you don’t have a plan?
Then now is a good time to start putting one together.
This is definitely an area in my own financial planning that I need to strengthen. We do have a will, but eventually, I want to create a family trust in order to save my family the hassle of going through probate.
Dave Ramsey talks about a legacy drawer that everyone should have in their home, where you keep all the important documents that give instruction for a time that is exceedingly difficult and distressful.
Make it as easy as you can for your loved ones. Have an estate plan, get your documents in order, and put them all in one place so they are easily found.
It’s just one way to show your family how much you love them.
5. Assess Your Emergency Fund
The nature of an emergency is that is unexpected and urgent.
This means you never know when an emergency will arise, but you need to be ready at a moment’s notice to handle it.
That’s why it’s important to build up a 3 to 6-month emergency fund.
If you haven’t started one yet, May is an excellent time to do that. (Actually, any month is an excellent time.)
If you have started building one, you can assess your progress and determine if you’re on track. How many months do you have saved up so far? How much longer do you think it will take to be fully funded?
If you have a fully-funded emergency fund, determine if you’re saving it in the right place. If the money is just sitting in your personal savings account, consider transferring it to a money market account where you’ll get a larger return.
Wherever you’re at, it’s important to check your progress and make sure you’re on track.
Because emergencies have a funny way of showing up unexpectedly.
Plan Your Checklist
Now it’s time to take action.
Print out this list or write them down in your planner.
Plan the list!
The goal is to keep moving forward, one little step at a time.