It’s been a long winter, but temps are finally on the rise. As summer approaches, your schedule is likely filling up with weddings, vacations, rooftop happy hours and al fresco brunches — so a little structure can go a long way toward keeping you on track financially. Here are five to-dos that will help you stay on top of your money *and* enjoy what you’ve got planned for the summer.
1. Enjoy a Small Splurge
Deadline: Saturday, May 5
With tax season officially behind us, you may have received — or are still looking forward to —some refund money. While we recommend putting 90% toward a financial goal, like building your emergency savings or paying off debt, that last 10% is perfect for a splurge of your choice. Whether it’s a spa visit or dinner at your favorite restaurant, treat yourself to a small indulgence. For more ideas on what to do with your refund (plus, why you don’t want too big of a check), check out these tips.
2. Take a Pulse on Your Career Goals
Deadline: Tuesday, May 8
We’re nearing the mid-year mark, which makes this a great time to check in on your career goals — both the ones your manager set for you and the ones you set for yourself. Ready to ask your boss for that raise you’ve been working toward? Here are some negotiation tips. Want to land a new job? Consider applying now before the summer hiring slump hits. Or if you’re ready for a change of scenery, these cities are booming with job opportunities.
3. Pick Up a Side Gig
Deadline: Thursday, May 17
Maybe you’re panicking over all the weddings you’ll be attending (and the gifts, travel and accommodations that go along with them), or maybe you’d like to book a few extended beach getaways this summer. Picking up a side gig now can be a fun way to earn some extra cash. Plus, you may enjoy your side gig so much that you decide to pursue it full-time.
4. Think Outside the Box
Deadline: Monday, May 21
We’ve all heard golden rules like “live within your means” and “start saving for retirement early” — and we couldn’t agree with them more — but sometimes it’s the unexpected that has the biggest impact on your finances. These eight people shared the one thing that helped their finances the most, and they just might surprise you — and inspire you to do some outside-the-box thinking of your own.
5. Minimize Your Summer Utility Costs
Deadline: Sunday, May 27
Warmer weather is great when you’re on the beach, but not so great when you’re sweating it out in your home. Plus, the bills from running your air conditioner nonstop can leave you sweating for a different reason. This guide can help you save money, whether you’re working with existing HVAC equipment or looking to make an upgrade.