A Yearly Planner for Financial Fitness
There are so many opportunities to save money during any given year. Get proactive and start planning for year-round savings with this yearly planner for financial fitness.
At the start of the new year, the calendar is fresh and full of possibilities. Why not make some of those possibilities about improving your finances with this yearly planner for financial fitness?
January is the perfect time to give your finances a check-up and set some goals. A call to your insurance agent can make sure you are getting the maximum discounts on homeowners, auto and life insurance, and give you peace of mind. Going over your bank statements can pinpoint any problem areas to work on, like too many ATM fees or pulling through the drive thru so often they know your order in advance.
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If you have credit card debt, look for a card that has better rewards, interest rates or terms. Then work on getting them paid off. It is like paying yourself to eliminate as much debt as possible.
Look at your mortgage and auto loans and see if refinancing could save you money. A talk with a bank officer is free and can be very helpful.
February arrives like a cool breeze – time to go for the deep freeze. Since it is the shortest month, plan on not spending any money on extras like birthday gifts, clothing, furniture, etc. Instead, get creative and make your own gifts. Use what you have. Repurpose items that are in other rooms or boxes. You will be surprised at how much you save!
March is made for organizing. For most of us, it is still Winter and we are stuck indoors. Clean out the clutter in closets, drawers, basements and attics and even the files of old paperwork. Taxes and old credit card statements only have to be kept for seven years, so shred the old ones and dispose of them properly. Make piles to throw, donate or sell. Online sites and even the old fashioned newspaper are great places to get rid of clothes, furniture, antiques, collections, books or anything that is no longer used. Your home will be clutter free and you’ll make some cash, too!
April showers rush in and the need to spring clean takes over. Instead of reaching for expensive cleaners for each task, save a ton of green by using homemade cleaners. The basic ingredients are baking soda, vinegar and plain dish soap. These are very cheap and surprisingly effective.
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May means more time outside and time to pay some attention to your trusty automobile. It is the perfect time to give it a thorough wash and clean, to get all the winter’s grime off and prevent rust. A car wash is actually better for the environment because they recycle the water. The sealants and polish will also prolong the finish on the paint. Vacuum and clean the interior to keep it fresh.
Just as important as the appearance, you need to maintain the engine. The very best thing you can do is keep up with oil changes. A trusted mechanic will spot trouble early and keep costs down.
Summertime rolls in with June and more time with the family. Spend more time outdoors biking, walking, gardening or gathered around the firepit.
July crashes in with bursts of color and sound. Practice safe and fun fireworks for less by looking for the best deals, using coupons and even price matching! July is also a great month for travel. The weather usually cooperates for road trips and airlines offer special deals for exotic locations or cruises. Shop around and make sure you are getting the best deal.
August brings the bargain hunter’s dream: discounted school supplies, clothes, office necessities and even furniture and bedding. You can really score great deals on all the back to school sales, including end-of-season clothing, “dorm deals” and stocking up on folders, notebooks, paper and pens.
September means the weather is cooling off and it is time to finish harvesting your garden. (You did plant a garden, right?) All those juicy tomatoes, spicy onions and peppers make excellent salsa, pasta sauce and chili mix. Learn to can them for maximum enjoyment well into the New Year. You can also make homemade jellies and jams with fruit you grow or buy when they are on sale.
October brings fall chores like raking leaves and getting your house ready for winter. Caulking around windows and doors now will keep your home snug and warm when the storms howl outside and help keep heating costs down.
Plus, you can save on all things Halloween by making your own spooky décor, costumes and cashing in on cheap treats by watching for sales, picking them up after holidays and freezing them. Chocolate actually tastes better after freezing!
November rushes in with holiday planning and the celebration of family and friends. It is the perfect time to take a minute and be thankful for what you have.
Related: Being Thankful for Having Less
You can also score major deals on the day after Thanksgiving; Black Friday. The explosion of online shopping means you can score 90% of the deals without leaving home. If you do brave the crowds, make a plan for the must-have items and strategize for the best time to go.
December is all about the holidays; the parties, the buying, the celebrating. Too many of us go overboard and spend way beyond our budget. Consider these sure-fire ways to stick to your holiday budget.
There are many more ways to save money all through the year. By setting goals, living within your means and following these tips, this could be your best year yet!
Reviewed December 2022
About the Author
Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Visit her at The Discount Diva.
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