Your March Financial To-Do List
Spring fever will be in full swing this month as the weather starts warming up.
While it's time for renewal, this month is also when you should take care of some financial tasks to make sure that you're in good shape for the rest of the year. With tax time quickly approaching, this is a good month to "spring clean" the rest of your finances as well.
Here’s what should be on your financial to-do list this month.
Clean Up Your Financial Papers
Finishing your taxes is also an opportunity to shred papers that you may no longer need and organize those that you'll need to access in the future. Keep documents you need to hold on to longer, such as car titles, unpaid loan statements or your tax returns, in a fireproof box or password-protected electronic file.
Once you’re rid of unnecessary paper files, do the same with those on your computer, phone, or external hard drive. While you’re at it, delete any apps you’re not using, and deactivate your accounts on websites you no longer frequent. Doing so will reduce the chances that your personal information is exposed if those companies get hacked.
Evaluate Financial Aid Letters
This is the time of year that high school students learn whether they’ve been accepted to their chosen colleges—and what type of financial aid that school might provide. There’s no standard financial aid letter, so it can be hard to compare offers from multiple schools, but it’s important to spend some time understanding exactly how much each school will cost your family.
Start by subtracting any grants and scholarships (free aid) from the cost of attendance listed by the school. Then consider whether you’ll need to borrow money to cover the difference. The letter will offer information about which type of federal loans (which typically have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans) you qualify for.
Buy Products on Deep Discount
Consumers Reports’ product-research experts, who track prices all year, have compiled a list of items that are usually at their lowest price in March. If you’re shopping for the best deals this month, look for sales on space heaters, roofing, air purifiers, and vacuums.