How’s this winter going for you?
While we managed to only be grazed by the polar vortex last week here in North Carolina, somehow, someway, snow still found its way to us. And whenever it snows (even if it’s only 4 inches), almost everything here shuts down. School, work, stores? All closed for business.
However, with everyone and everything staying put, this snow day could be the perfect opportunity for you to unwind and catch up on some crucial financial to-dos. So, if you find yourself snowed in sometime this month, grab a hot cocoa or coffee, settle in and level up your finances with these five big wins you can score while bundled up at home.
Organize your accounts
Don’t worry about having to pull out folders and remember a thousand different passwords – you can quickly set up and sync up your accounts in Mint in order to easily and efficiently catch up and stay on top of your finances.
Once your accounts are synced, it’s a good idea to pick a day or two each month (maybe when your paycheck comes in) to take the time to open Mint and easily review everything in one place. For us, having our accounts in one spot means that it only takes about 10 minutes every month to look over all of our accounts.
Create a budget (for real life)
While you may have tried and failed at creating a “perfect” budget in the past (don’t worry, we’ve all been there), there’s an easy way to create a budget that you can actually keep. Remember that a sustainable budget must:
- Pay your bills
- Give you financial stability (and eventually builds wealth)
- Allow you to have some fun
Just like diets don’t stick because many of them are based on deprivation, strict budgets fail because you have no motivation to continue them. Skip the guilt and start off with a 50/20/30 budget – it’s an easy way to take care of all the big stuff.
Plus, since you have your accounts on Mint, you can set up your budget there and get alerts to let you keep tabs on your progress.
Become a frugal foodie
One of the three major expenses for many people is food. You can keep your waist and wallet happy with these quick hacks.
- Meal Plan: Even the act of planning ahead gives you a leg up with your food bill. Come up with a menu for the next week or so, so that when it thaws outside, you can make a quick run to the grocery store and be set.
- Prep some meals: Already picked up your groceries? Fantastic, because you can take it one step ahead and get some meals ready with no need to slave in the kitchen. Instead, go ahead and use that slow cooker for dishes like stews, chili, and pasta while you binge on Netflix.
Choose a monthly money challenge to tackle.
One of the best ways to save up some extra cash and cut back expenses is by doing a money challenge for a month. Whether it’s a no-spend, eat-in or de-clutter-your-junk month, having a specific goal you’re working towards can help you become more aware of your spending habits and finances.
Have some accountability and make it a fun competition by inviting your friends to join in.
Knock out your taxes.
A snow day can turn into a big tax refund day later if you are able to get your taxes done while stuck indoors. Using software like TurboTax also makes it easier to make sure you get all the tax credits and deductions you qualify for.
Don’t have all your documents yet? At the very least, you can make some headway with what you already have. With TurboTax, it’s easy to save and come back to filing whenever you receive more forms. Also, remember that with TurboTax, you may be able to import your W-2 from your employer or payroll provider eliminating data entry.
And don’t worry about knowing tax laws. TurboTax ask you simple questions and gives you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your entries. If you have any questions, it’s easy to connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average 15 years of experience. A TurboTax Live CPA and Enrolled Agent can even review, sign, and file your tax return from the comfort of your home. No need to brave the cold!
Your Take on Financial To Do Lists
As you see, with just a little time set aside, you can turn your snow day into some big wins with finances AND still have time to relax at home.
I’d love to hear from you – what’s on your financial to-do list?
Elle helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second.