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It’s hard to believe one quarter of the year is already behind us; time flies when you’re crushing your financial goals. But if you haven’t made as much progress as you’d hoped — or want to keep making more — consider this your opportunity to get focused.
Whether you need to course correct or are looking to stay the path, these five financial to-dos can help you improve your finances in April.
1. Hit the Books
How well do you really know your finances? Chances are, there are some things you wish you understood better. Maybe it’s how to start investing, build a budget that fits your lifestyle or improve your credit score. Well, there’s no better time to study up. April is Financial Literacy Month, so pick the financial topic you’ve been meaning to tackle and get to work. After all, it’s easier to feel confident in your finances when you're making informed decisions. Already think you’re a pro? Take our financial literacy quiz and find out.
2. File Your Taxes
Calling all procrastinators! If you’ve been putting off filing your 2018 taxes, your time is running out. The deadline is April 15, and if you’re considering filing for an extension to buy yourself an extra six months, remember that an extension only allows you to file your paperwork at a later date. If you expect to owe money, that’s still due by April 15. When you’re under the wire you may be tempted to fly through your taxes as quickly as possible, but be careful: These tax-time mistakes could get you audited.
3. Boost Your Retirement Savings
Something else to celebrate this month? National Retirement Planning Week, of course. Saving for future-you can seem daunting when present-you has bills to pay, but the key is starting early — even if you can’t contribute a lot. If you’re looking to get started, this guide can help. If you’re already saving, nice job! Now, make sure you’re not making one of these retirement-planning mistakes.
4. Go Paperless
Still sifting through piles of paper bills every month? Not only can important docs get lost this way, but you’re also not doing the environment any favors. If you can, sign up for online bill pay and electronic correspondence from your financial institutions in honor of Earth Day. And if this motivates you to cut your waste in other ways, too, check out how one woman’s budget and lifestyle was affected when she tried going zero-waste for a week.
5. Plan Your Summer Travel
You may be about to embark on a spring break getaway, but it’s also the perfect time to plan your summer travel so that you can budget for it. Many Americans go into debt each year to pay for their vacations — a bad idea. Planning ahead will help you prepare for the cost and hopefully find some deals while you’re at it. If your schedule is already booked for the summer months but you still want to get away, check out how a micro-trip could be the solution. And be wary of these travel mistakes when booking so you don’t wind up spending more than you intended.