Goodbye June, hello July (and tan lines and beach reads).
Whether the summer months have you busy entertaining your kids at home or relaxing poolside with a margarita in hand, it’s important not to lose sight of your money goals. So after you celebrate the 4th with some fireworks, set aside some time to keep your finances on track with these five tasks.
1. Put Your Gym Membership on Pause
Deadline: Friday, July 7
Now that the weather’s nice and the days are longer, consider taking your workouts outdoors to boost your vitamin D — and your savings. Many gyms allow you to put your account on hold and pick it back up once those colder, darker days drive you back inside. But until then, opt for running or biking in your local park, try a community yoga class or practice your backhand with some tennis at a public court. And if you really can’t bear to skip the gym altogether, check out these tips for getting fit on a budget.
2. Take a Pulse on Your Paid Time Off
Deadline: Tuesday, July 11
We’re more than halfway through the year (seriously, where did the time go?), so now’s a good time to see how much PTO you’re still holding onto. If that number’s a lot higher than you thought, plot out now how you’ll use up those days: Project Time Off shows that 52% of workers who plan out their vacation actually take all their time off, versus 40% of non-planners. And when you do take that much needed vacay, make sure to leave work behind, because just one hour spent checking those emails could mean fewer getaway memories once you’ve returned to the office.
3. Grow Your Side Gig
Deadline: Saturday, July 15
Time is money, so take advantage of your free time this summer (if you’re lucky enough to have any, that is) to develop that side gig you’ve been thinking about for … how long now? If you need some inspiration in the form of dollar signs, check out how much people earn from some of the most popular side jobs (think Airbnb, Uber and TaskRabbit). Of course, if you’re someone who prefers making extra cash without leaving the comfort of your air-conditioned living room, then these cyber side gigs may be more up your alley.
4. Bulk Up Your Emergency Fund
Deadline: Thursday, July 20
Something about summer tends to get our budgeting out of whack — maybe because all those rooftop happy hours and weekend beach trips are too good to pass up. But it’s important to keep your big-picture financial goals in mind, like building an emergency fund. The good news is that more Americans are finally prioritizing these oh-so-important savings, but if you still have some work to do, don’t delay. Check out our 3-6-9 Guideline to figure out how much you should save, then get that budget in line so you can satisfy both your financial health and your social life.
5. Start Your Back-to-School Shopping List
Deadline: Wednesday, July 26
It’s never too early to start prepping for the new school year, especially if you make it a goal to avoid getting stuck in the ransacked aisles of Target come August. Make a list of supplies, clothes or dorm room accessories you know your kids will need now, and start hunting down some early sales while you’re at it. These apps can help you score a deal — but before you even start shopping, take stock of what you can reuse from last year’s school season so you’re not buying more than you need.