May’s Personal Financial Checklist
Welcome to our fifth edition of the Personal Financial Checklist. Each month we will bring you a checklist of financial to-dos to help keep you on track to achieve financial freedom. Be sure to download and print the checklist for your personal use! (More Financial Checklists)
♦ Review S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Check in on your progress. Are you ahead on your goals, or are some of them falling behind? What do you need to do differently to make yourself successful? Remember these goals have a deadline that you set for yourself!
♦ Check in On Your Budget and Make Adjustments
Your budget is probably running like a well oiled machine by now, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need constant attention. Budgets only work if you keep updating them as spending happens. Now is the time to start having a little fun with your budget. See how far under budget you can be at the end of the month in certain categories. When you do this, you will see small glimpses of financial freedom that result from it! Adjust and enjoy knowing you are making a difference in your financial future.
♦ Donate Unused Clothes
So what does this have to do with personal finance? I believe it has two financial benefits.
1. Tax Deductions – When you donate to a charitable organization, it counts as a tax deduction. Ask they organization for a receipt for your donation, and make sure you store that with your tax documents so when April comes around, you can see the savings! Here is a link to a good article on determining the value of donated goods for tax purposes.
2. Curb Spending – When you take time to go through your closet, you find clothes you forgot about months ago, and you realize how many black hoodies or T-shirts of your favorite band you already own. This is a great information to store in your head next time you are shopping and have an armful of clothes you probably don’t need. You can put back that One Direction hoodie you are about to buy when you remember you already have seven at home (one for each day of the week).
♦ Get Informed About Disability Insurance
May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month! You may not have heard of disability insurance, or you might think you don’t need it. You’re not alone. Most people wouldn’t be able to explain disability insurance to a friend. The simplest definition is this: Insurance that protects your paycheck if you become disabled, through an accident, or illness, and can’t work.
Take a few minutes, and educate yourself about disability insurance, and talk to an agent about finding a plan that will fit your needs. Our website has some information, and a short video explaining disability insurance to you. Check it out here. You can check out this post explaining why someone needs disability insurance.
♦ Check Your Credit Report
Get into the habit of checking your credit report as often as you can. We started this habit on January’s Checklist.
There are three major credit rating agencies (Transunion, Equifax, & Experian). Set up a schedule to check your credit report once every four months. Each agency will let you check your report for free once a year, so take advantage. Check your credit in January, May, and September with a different agency each time.
If you see any errors on your report, file a report with the agency immediately. Incorrect information on your credit report can do a lot of damage when you want to apply for financing.