Every month, we figure out the top to-dos to get your financial life in order, so you don’t have to. No need to divert time from all those fabulous summer parties we know you’ve got planned—complete these to-dos in your spare moments and you’ll be free to enjoy the last of these hot summer days. (Until, you know, the “dog days are over.”)
Here’s the plan:
Make Your Doctor Appointments. Deadline: Monday, August 1
Summer is usually a bit slower in the office, so it’s a great time to head in for your annual exam and make appointments for the doctors you should be seeing regularly. If your health insurance includes free check-ups, use that as extra incentive to schedule an appointment. (If you’re looking for doctor recommendations, check out our favorite doctor review sites.)
Reassess Your Budget. Deadline: Monday, August 8
Make sure that your summer travel plans haven't bombed your budget for the month. Visit LearnVest's My Money Center to link up your accounts to track exactly how much you're spending in different categories of your life. (Tip from one member: Customize a folder just for your "bad habit," so you can track it even more carefully!) Use this information to make sure you're sticking to your current budget or to create a new budget if your lifestyle has changed.
Think About the Brand of “You.” Deadline: Wednesday, August 17
If you had to pick one thing for people to remember about you, what would it be? Knowing how to present yourself and communicate effectively can improve your job prospects. This includes knowing when to use social media to promote yourself ... and when professionalism is paramount. Even a Facebook post as benign as, "Long day at work. So glad to go home tonight!" can send the wrong message. As you refocus on work in the fall, keep this in mind. (We got publicists to give us tips on how to be our own publicists, here.)
Spend Time With Your Portfolio. Deadline: Monday, August 22
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, take LearnVest’s new series of Investing Courses to make sure your investments are perfectly positioned to help you achieve your goals. These courses work for investors at all levels: From creating a beginner's portfolio to maximizing your investments for tax purposes, there's something for everyone.
Get on a Food Plan. Deadline: Monday, August 29
In general, September is when work ramps up again and people become more serious. Save yourself the hassle of yet another thing to do by thinking about your meals in advance. That way, you can do your grocery shopping all at once and cook enough to portion out extra meals during the week. (Of course, if you really want to make your food last, you can always freeze it according to our guide.)
What to Buy in August
|Trees, shrubs, plants
Prices decline steeply after midsummer, so go toward the end of August to get great deals. Store your plants according to package instructions so you can plant them next spring. Otherwise, consider buying bulbs, which you can plant at any time.
Some stores may put these on sale to make way for the latest models. They’ll want to sell the current models before October, when the holiday rush starts.
Even if you wear flip-flops inside the house all year round, they’ll be harder to find later in the year—buy them now, when retailers still have tons of cheap flip-flops in stock.
This usually goes on sale in August and September to make room for next year’s items. Look for good deals on folding camping chairs, tents, camp stoves, lanterns and other outdoor gear.
|Lawn Mowers And Swing Sets
These are summer items, so stores are trying to get rid of them now to make room for fall products.
Dehumidifiers typically go on sale in August, just as the heat and humidity begin to calm down.
Back-to-school sales offer good deals on tennis shoes for children and adults.
|Linens And Storage Containers
These tend to go on sale for the off-to-college crowd.
As back-to-school sales begin to take root, you’ll see more and more sales on computers.