It’s a fresh month. How are your finances coming along? June marked the halfway point in the year, and the June financial checklist reflected on your progress so far, and set the foundation for the next half of the year. Now July is here, and it is time to continue your efforts at keeping your finances on track. Here are 5 things to do this month to remain financially fit:
1. Consider Refinancing Your Home
If you haven’t already taken advantage of record low interest rates, now might be the time. Home buyers are not the only people benefiting from the current housing market. Those looking to refinance can save as well. Indeed, the rule of thumb for refinancing is to do so if you can get an interest rate that is at least 1% lower than your current rate. Look at your current situation, and see if refinancing might be right for you.
Just make sure that the savings you receive in interest are large enough to cover the fees associated with refinancing. Also, double check your current mortgage loan to see if there are costly prepayment penalties. Don’t do a cash refinance; simply refinance what you have, and consider doing it for a shorter term (15 or 20 years) than 30 years, especially if you have been in your home for more than five to seven years.
2. Set Up a Plan for Quarterly Taxes
If you paid quarterly taxes last month, and it was difficult to do it all at once, consider setting up a system. Pay your taxes once a month. There are three months between now and September. Take your quarterly tax amount, and divide it by three. That way, it will be more manageable to pay your taxes when September comes around.
3. Automate Your Finances
Consider the portions of your finances that you can automate. Sign up for direct deposit, or for automatic bill pay. You can also consider direct debit for recurring loan payments (such as a car loan). Set up automatic transfers that move money between your checking and savings accounts. This way, your money goes where it needs to automatically. This can help simplify your life quite a bit.
4. Re-evaluate Your Coupons
Now is a great time to go through your coupons. Check the expiration dates and get rid of the coupons that are no longer good. You can also organize your coupons by creating an organizer, and by assembling them in a way that is easily accessible. Create a system so that you don’t end up just throwing half of your coupons away. Also, make sure that your coupons are for items you normally buy. If you don’t normally get something, there is no sense in keeping the coupon until it expires.
5. Plan a Staycation
Instead of spending a great deal of money on a big vacation, consider a staycation. Your family doesn’t have to go across the country or half way around the world to enjoy a good time. Consider what is available in your own state or neighboring states, and then head out on a staycation. You can visit an attraction, go on a camping trip, or spend a long weekend exploring a national park.
July is a great time to take stock of your finances and then make a plan for a prosperous second half of the year. These items can help you get on the right track for the rest of the year.