Spring is sprung and April is Financial Education Month! It’s a great time of the year to examine your financial position, to scrub the habits that aren’t working for you, and to set a financial goal for summer. It can be difficult to get started with a budget or long-term investing, so start simply.
What’s going well financially? Maybe you started bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out, or upped your contribution to a rainy day or retirement fund. Celebrate those successes by acknowledging the hard work you’ve already done and turning your focus on the months to come. You clean your house or apartment, so why not take a look at cleaning your finances? Here are a few tips to get started.
Check Automatic Bill Pay and Cancel Anything You’re Not Using
Automatic bill pay can be convenient and reduce missed payments. Sometimes we can forget what those deductions are for! Take a look through your last two month’s bank statements and see what withdrawals were made. If you have any for a magazine you’re not reading, a gym you’re not using, or an accidental death policy that you really didn’t want, call and cancel them! Ask yourself: Would I buy this today? What else could I be doing with this money?
Get Rid of Financial and Physical Clutter
Part of spring cleaning is out with the old and in with the new. Clear your physical space of anything you don’t have use for anymore, and give yourself time to clear your mental space as well. However, do make sure you keep your tax documents for at least seven years. Keep all financial papers that you are saving in a safe and secure place to prevent identity theft. Remember that the financial decisions you made in the past do not need to determine the ones you make today. You can always get started paying down debt, saving money for the future, paying bills on time, or anything else that will make a difference to you moving forward.
Set a Goal For Summer
Maybe there’s a vacation you’d like to take with the family, or a home improvement you’d like to make to enjoy that yard or deck. Set a target, and identify the steps it will take to get there. Often goal setting starts with research, so think, what information do I need to move forward? Consider taking a financial education class and check out www.mdcashacademy.org for listings in your area. Make sure your goal is specific, attainable, and relevant to you. Consider creating a visual reminder of your goal to keep you motivated. Setting a goal is the first step to achieving it!
About the Maryland CASH Campaign: The Maryland CASH Campaign is a statewide network of organizations that promotes programs, products and policies that increase the financial security of low-to moderate-income individuals and families across Maryland. Maryland CASH advocates on behalf of these families, as well as provides financial education programs such as the Maryland CASH Academy http://www.mdcashacademy.org/. Their partner organizations provide free tax preparation sites offering access to appropriate financial services and benefits screening. For more information, contact Ms. Robin McKinney, Director of the Maryland CASH Campaign, at
or 443-692-9422. www.mdcash.org