Spring has sprung. There is something about the change in seasons that feels like a completely fresh start.
The warm weather may reinvigorate your commitment to your 2016 goals. Maybe you want to get back to the gym, cut out some of the junk food or get your financial life in order. While tackling your finances might seem like a big task, small steps forward can make a big difference.
Here are five ways to spring forward into a better financial life.
Create your money goals for 2016.
What do you want to achieve? Keep these goals in mind as your read through the next steps and take action in your financial life.
Close out the 2015 financial year.
Next, it’s time to close the books on 2015. While the year is long gone, the tax deadline is fast approaching. There is no better way to kick off spring than to file your taxes and truly have a fresh start. If you are simple filer, you can file your own taxes for free using TurboTax Free Edition.
Maximize your refund.
If you are going to receive a tax refund, I highly recommend planning what you are going to do with it before it hits your account. That way, you can rest easy knowing that it will be used for exactly what you want. Set aside a certain percentage for something fun and then putting the rest towards your money goals. Write down your plan so you know that you will stick to it.
Pay yourself first.
Want to pay yourself more? You can tweak your spending and calculate how much each change in your lifestyle will save you. For example, if you decide to cook yourself dinner once more per week and that saves you $15, that’s $15 more you can put towards your savings each week. On an annual basis that will save you $780. Test out small changes you can make to your lifestyle in order to pay yourself first.
Open an online savings account.
Remember those money goals for 2016? Let’s make them happen. Think of saving like an expense. Open up an online savings account that’s completely separate from your checking account. Not only does the separation from your checking account make a huge difference, online savings accounts, also called high yield or high interest savings accounts are earning 100x more interest than your standard savings account. While 1% might not seem like much, if you have $10,000 in your savings account, that’s an extra $100 a year.
Take advantage of the new season and improve your financial wellness. Start with one item on this list and give it a try. You might be surprised by how much fun it is to tackle each step and come summer, you will be in tip top financial shape.
Ashley Feinstein Gerstley is a certified life coach specializing in money and personal finance. She has worked in the financial services industry first as an investment banker, then in corporate finance and most recently running The Fiscal Femme, where she helps people create a life of financial bliss. Read more at fiscalfemme.com.