How to Give Your Finances a Summer Checkup
Warm weather, bathing suits, and BBQ’s…look’s like Summer has finally arrived! But before you start packing for that beach trip, you might want to take a little time to review your finances. Summer is the perfect time to give yourself a little check-up and make sure you’re on track to stay financially fit throughout the rest of the year!
So, without further ado, here are 5 things you should do when giving yourself a summer financial review.
1. Take a Look at Your Goals
If you haven’t been regularly tracking your financial goals, you’ll definitely want to check in on them this summer. Whether it’s saving for retirement, building an emergency fund, or paying off credit card debt, take a close look at the progress you’ve made over the past six months. Taking a little time to give yourself a review can help you to determine whether or not the steps you’ve taken are bringing you where you want or leading you astray.
2. Do A Little Summer Cleaning
If your financial paperwork has been piling up since the January, it’s probably in your best interest to get it under control this summer. Develop a filing system to help you keep track of your old statements and consider picking up a fireproof case to protect those more important documents. If you want to save some space, consider scanning your financial paperwork and saving it to your PC. Just make sure you back everything up to an external hard drive or secure cloud server; it’s better to be safe than sorry!
3. Evaluate Your Budget
Providing you’ve been tracking your expenses, six months of purchasing history is a solid sample size to see whether or not you’re saving to your maximum potential. Take a look at your expenses and see how they stack up against the budget you’ve designed for yourself. Are you overspending? Underspending? Or are you right on target? Taking time to go over your budget can help you to identify more savings opportunities or make the necessary adjustments to keep you on the right track.
4. Check Your Taxes
Although tax season is months away, the summer is the perfect time to recalibrate your contributions if need be. Changes in your life (marriage, buying a house, etc) can impact your expected contributions which, in turn, could put you in a position where you’re either over or under withholding. If you’re employed, take a look at your most recent pay stub to see how much you’ve been contributing towards federal and state taxes. If you find yourself earning less, or more than expected, you may want to speak with your employer and adjust your W-9 form accordingly.
5. How’s Your Credit Looking?
Your credit score is an excellent benchmark to determine how well you’ve been managing your credit. Sites like Credit Karma or Credit.com will show you your credit score free of charge so you can get an idea of where you stand. You should also consider checking your credit report if you haven’t already this year. Your report can give you a better understanding of how your financial behavior has had an impact on your credit score. Not to mention, checking your credit report is helpful in preventing identity theft.
Aside from your long-term financial goals, you should look ahead to the next six months and determine whether or not there are any expenses you should be anticipating. The summer is the perfect time to start saving up for the holidays, making energy-smart alterations to your home, or simply setting up automatic contributions to your savings or investment account. Regardless of what you finally end up deciding to do, try to do at least one thing to improve your financial well-being this summer!