April Challenge: 7 Spring Solutions for Your Money
Spring is the time of year when you feel revitalized and ready to weed, dust and generally take on the world. There’s something in the air—blame it on the buttercups.
But before you start doing all that manual labor, we have a few low-impact projects that can pay off just as big. Take this month’s challenge and add these seven money-saving items to your spring cleaning list:
1. De-winterize your budget. Take a look at your budget. What have you been paying for all winter that can go? For example, you won’t need heat (or air conditioning!) for a few months. Hello screen doors and ceiling fans. Or do you have some magazine or TV subscriptions you can ditch now that you’ll be outside every chance you get?
Spring solution: Put that extra money to good use somewhere else, like gardening or lawn care. If you plant a few herbs and tomatoes, you can even offset your grocery costs for the spring and summer. Delish!
2. Cut up your credit cards. Credit cards seem innocent enough, until you charge a few table lamps here and a few throw pillows there. Before you know it, you’re knee-deep in debt and stressed about your spring décor.
Spring solution: Replace your credit cards with debit cards (or cash). And before you buy new duds for your living room, check your budget first. You’ll enjoy your spring makeover so much more if you own your stuff outright.
3. Make estate planning a priority. A lot can happen in a year: births, deaths, family moves. Even small lapses in your life insurance or will can affect your loved ones forever. Be sure everything is up to date and properly documented. Like, now.
Spring solution: While you’re estate planning, take another look at your life insurance policy. Term life insurance is much cheaper than whole life. Plus, you can invest the difference how you want.
4. Check your other insurance policies. Car insurance and homeowner’s insurance can change from year to year. Just because you’ve been with the same company for 10 years doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal.
Spring solution: Find an independent insurance agent (one who isn’t affiliated with a certain company) who will shop around to see if you’re getting a great price for the coverage you need. You can save hundreds in a year. You owe it to your budget.
5. Revisit your New Year’s goals. Look at your fridge or bulletin board. If your goals aren’t posted, write them out and hang them up. How are you doing? Can you put any check marks next to your savings goals or healthy eating goals?
Spring solution: If your goals are overwhelming you, don’t worry! Hone in on two or three. For example, if your money goal is to track your spending each month, make it easy with EveryDollar Plus. We upload your bank transactions for you, so all you have to do is drag and drop. Simple and you stay on budget.
6. Update your W-4. This year you got a nice tax refund. That may seem like a good thing, but it actually means you’ve been overpaying Uncle Sam. We think you should pay yourself instead.
Spring solution: Adjust your withholdings so you break even next year. Put the money to good use by paying extra on any debt, investing for retirement, or saving for next year’s beach vacation. No more interest-free loans for the government.
7. Automate your savings. When it comes to priorities, saving money can get lost in the shuffle of water bills, restaurant tabs and mortgage payments. Make your savings automatic with direct deposits at the beginning of each month.
Spring solution: Already depositing money into savings? Look for ways to save more. What about an account for car repairs and car insurance? Or how about a health savings account for your prescriptions and co-pays? The more you automate, the more you’ll save without lifting a finger.
There’s no wrong way to organize your life. But we like the idea of doing the small things with the biggest payoffs first. Then turn your attention to the hard stuff like cleaning the garage or attic.
Take this month’s challenge and start your spring cleaning by budgeting with EveryDollar.