12 Financial Goals For Each Month of 2021
There is no wrong time to create or refresh your financial plan. Start with these monthly milestones or mix-and-match to correspond with your personal goals. Whether you’re just starting out or heading toward retirement, the journey toward a better financial future begins with a single step.
January: Give Yourself a Financial Audit
Before you can make any real progress, you need a firm vision of where you are right now. Spend time auditing your personal finances, including your spending habits, income projections, current debt, subscriptions, and other money-geared responsibilities. From there, set a weekly or monthly budget for yourself that will help you stay on top of your expenses while also allowing you to pay off any debts and add to your savings.
February: Do a Tax Check-Up
Plan for your refund or for taxes that you will owe. By the end of January, you should receive your annual W-2 form(s) from your employer or 1099(s) from your clients if you're an independent contractor.
Compile other forms such as paperwork related to your student loans, investments, property or business. These might not be available right away, but just keep an eye out for them. File your taxes as soon as you have all the documents you need.
March: Review Your Retirement
How much could your money grow if you increased your contributions to your workplace retirement account? Connect with a financial planner in your area to stay up-to-date on your retirement goals.
April: Plan for Summer
When spring is in the air, it’s a reminder that the long, hot days of summer are just around the corner. Whether that means the kids are out of school or you will be heading out on vacation, find some time between spring cleaning to budget for summer saving, including child care, weddings and travel.
May: Review Auto Insurance
Financial experts recommend shopping for new car insurance once a year. Don’t forget to ask about special programs, such as good student discounts for teen drivers. You also might adjust your deductible or decrease collision and comprehensive coverage as your vehicle ages.
June: Do a Home Inventory
Escape the summer heat—and include the kids or grandkids in the process—as you create or update your home inventory. Go from room to room and write down makes, models, serial numbers and descriptions of all your valuables. Take pictures and video to keep with your records.
July: Check Home Utilities Prices
Shop around for better deals on your cable, internet, phone and streaming services. Research special programs and payment plans on water, gas and electricity bills. Could you get a discount for buying energy-efficient appliances?
Shift any money that you save into your savings or to pay off debts. You won’t miss the money in your budget since you already were spending it elsewhere. This is a great way to start an emergency fund.
August: Make a Family Emergency Kit
Put together a home emergency kit as well as one to grab on the go if you ever need to evacuate. Clear out some room to store at least three days’ worth and up to three weeks’ worth of water, food and medications in case you had to stay in place for an extended period of time. Your household’s strategy can include choosing a family meeting place and memorizing phone numbers of relatives and friends. The more you plan ahead, the easier it will be if something does happen.
September: Plan Your Holiday Budget
Don’t forget about hidden costs for things like gift-wrapping, shipping, parties and holiday travel. The sooner you start saving for these costs ahead of time, the less stressful it will be as the holidays grow closer. And you might as well start buying gifts as early as possible. Spreading out purchases over several months can cut down on last-minute credit card charges.
October: Do a Debt Check-In
Debt slows financial progress. Evaluate how much you owe - and how your current financial habits are getting you closer to paying it off.
November: Review Your Health Plan
Often the end of the year is when you can make changes to your workplace insurance plan. Find out when your open-enrollment period is and dig around in the company’s plan options to find out if you could get a better deal on health insurance.
December: Do a Big Dreams Check-In
Where are you in terms of working toward your big dreams, such as pursuing higher education, buying a home or a car, or planning for retirement? Use this time at the end of the year to reflect on your savings and investments.
Then get ready to start the cycle all over again. Integrate these financial milestones into your yearly routine and customize it with your own personal goals to build on your successes from one year to the next.