Can you believe we are wrapping up the third month of 2022 already? The first three months of the year have flown by. To ensure you are staying on track and setting yourself up for financial success, there are a few things you need to do. Here’s what you need to do with your money after the first quarter.
1. Review Your Budget and Spending
One of the most important things to review is your budget and spending for the first few months of the year. Doing this will give you an idea of where your money went during the first quarter and how you can change the trajectory of your finances for the year. You may need to adjust your budget for lifestyle changes or different things that have happened this year thus far.
For our family, the budget has drastically changed since this time last year. It’s even changed since the last quarter of 2021. Our child’s needs are changing almost daily. To meet them, we have to adjust our spending and our budget pretty regularly. However, we’ve also found other ways to hustle and make some cash on the side. When we reviewed our first quarter, we saw that we are spending a lot more on food than we used to. Other prices have also gone up. So, we need to make adjustments for that. This is also a great time to set aside cash for upcoming quarterly expenses, like oil changes and other regular costs.
2. Check Your Progress on Paying Off Debt
Next, take a look at how much progress you’ve made paying off your debt. For many people paying off debt was a New Year’s resolution. Where do you stand with your current debts? Even if you can’t make additional payments at this time, make sure everything is kept up to date. Set up autopay for everything that you can too. Choosing autopay can actually help save you money. You won’t ever have to pay a late fee and many companies provide discounts to customers who use the autopay feature.
Right now, our crew is able to maintain minimum payments, but not much more than that. On the plus side, we haven’t missed any payments and our amount owed is steadily decreasing.
3. Take a Look at Your Other Money Goals
Debt payoff shouldn’t be your only money goal for the year either. Gauge where you stand with all of your money objectives. Have you contributed enough to your 401k? Do you have a savings goal you’d like to meet? Did you set a goal to start investing in the stock market this year? Whatever the case may be, check in with yourself to see where you stand with that goal.
One of our goals was to start an education savings account for our daughter. While it hasn’t happened yet, we are setting ourselves up for success with this goal in the second quarter and beyond. Once we have filed our 2021 taxes, we will be free to start focusing on building savings for our daughter’s education.
4. Work on a Financial Calendar for the Rest of the Year
Financial calendars can help you stay on top of things. Honestly, without my budget calendar, I’d be lost! Whether you keep track of things on a physical calendar like I do or you prefer digital tracking, it is important to have an organized system. It makes it easier to plan and reach your goals. A financial calendar can also help remind you of important dates. For instance, in North Carolina, we have to pay property taxes and registration fees on your vehicle once every year. It happens at the same time every year so you can plan for the couple hundred dollars it’s going to cost you. You can do this for all of your bigger expenses throughout the year.
5. Examine Your Bills and Expenses
Last, but not least, comb through your bills and regular expenses. Is there anything that can be trimmed down? Or is there anything you’re paying for that you aren’t using? I always have to take a look at our subscription services. We are king and queen of “start a free trial and forget about it.” So, once every other months I take a look at our expenses and see what subscriptions we can get rid of. You might be paying for other services you aren’t using. In some cases, you may even find a discrepancy on your bill.
Readers, what are some things you do after the first quarter each year?
Amanda is an editor and writer. She has a passion for sharing information that helps people and communities to better themselves in some way. In addition to writing online, she also freelances for local newspapers in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.