The year is well underway, and it is a good time to revisit your personal finances. March is a good time to consider finances because you are getting ready to pay taxes, and you looking forward to most of the year. Here are 5 personal finance tasks for the month of March:
1. Review Your Financial Goals
Now is a great time to review the financial goals you made at the beginning of the year. How have they been working out for you? Can you see some reasons to tweak what you have been doing. Check to see if you are on track. If you are not, consider re-committing to your financial goals. Slipping a bit does not mean that the rest of the year is shot. Take some time to get back on track, or tweak your plan so that it is more realistic.
2. Submit Health Care Receipts to Your FSA
Most Flexible Spending Account plans have a deadline of March 31 for submitting your receipts for reimbursement. This means that you can submit receipts from 2010 to your plan right now. Make sure, though, that you understand the rules of the plan, and that your plan’s deadline is, in fact, March 31. You can consider opening a Health Savings Account if you have a high deductible plan. With these plans, your totals roll over year to year.
3. Double Check to Make Sure You Have Your Tax Documents
If you haven’t yet filed your tax return, make sure you have all the documents you need to support your filing. Check to make sure you have W-2s, 1099s, investment records, interest statements (paid and earned), and other supporting documents. If you are missing something, make sure that you get a copy of it. This way, you will be sure to have all the paperwork you need as you prepare and file your tax return.
4. Look Over Your Credit Card Documents
I received a letter not too long ago telling me that an annual fee was being added to one of my credit cards. This was distressing. I called and had the fee waived for this year. Make sure you go through your credit card documents, reading everything your credit card issuer sends you. If you are a good customer, with a good payment history and reasonably good credit, you should be able to have some of the fees waived. If not, prepare to close your credit card account. You can look for cards with lower fees (and no annual fees) at sites like CardRatings.com.
5. Shop Winter Clearance Sales
Now that winter is over, it’s time to go find some great deals. We get my son’s coats, boots, gloves and snow pants this time of year. We have to get them big, but by next winter they should fit. We usually get them for 50% to 75% off. It’s a great way to save money. Other winter items starting to go on sale include snow blowers, sweaters, and winter decorations. You can also find good deals on computers and TVs in March; stores are clearing stock to make way for the latest models.