It seems as though the year is just moving right along. April is almost over, and soon we will be into the fifth month of the year. Are you ready for what’s next? May is a great time to tidy up your home and your finances as you prepare for the rest of the year. If you want to stay on the right financial track, here are five things to try in May:
1. Go Over Your Estate Plan
Now is a great time to review your estate plan. Do you have a will? What’s in it? You should also consider whether or not the beneficiaries you have named are up to date. Look through your financial accounts, and make sure the information related to them is in a safe place. If you don’t have the estate planning documents you need, consider having them drawn up. If you care about what happens to your estate after you pass on, it’s essential that you plan properly.
2. Look for the Status of Your Refund
Haven’t received your tax refund yet? Now is a good time to see what’s holding things up. You can check the status of your refund fairly easily at the IRS web site. If there’s a problem, you can find out about and get it resolved. A must-do item on your list, since it is your money.
3. Clear Your Clutter — And Prepare to Sell It
Spring cleaning can be about more than just cleaning the house. It’s a great time to make a little extra money, too. Go through your boxes and look at your possessions. What are you ready to part with? Plan a yard sale to get rid of your items. You can also sell them online. Even if you don’t want to sell your stuff, you can still get an advantage from it. Donate it to a local thrift store. Get a receipt for its value, and you can deduct your donation of goods on your taxes.
4. Start a Garden
Depending on where you live, early May can be a great time to start a garden. We usually have to wait until mid to late May to do most of our planting (we had frost just this morning). Find out from a local expert when the best time to plant is. Then, start a garden. Plan out what you want to include, and watch it grow. You will save money on produce later in the summer.
Even if you have limited space, you can grow a few things. You can plant a container garden, or even incorporate edible landscaping into your yard. If you have a big garden with lots of yield, you can consider canning/bottling/dehydrating your food to store for the winter.
5. Start Organizing Vacations
You can save a little money if you plan ahead. May isn’t exactly off-season, but you can still find some good deals if you book now. However, you can also save money on your vacation by organizing ahead of time. Plan routes that take you near less expensive lodging and low-cost things to do. Plan to visit a city with more free things to do and see. Consider packing a cooler for picnic lunches, rather than always eating out. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your expenses. Take some time to plan out cost-saving moves for summer fun.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.