April showers bring May flowers.
They also usher in Easter, Passover and everyone's favorite holiday: tax time.
This month, we have enough to keep you busy for every rainy day, but it's not all deductions and paperwork—we're also making those dreams of summer travel come true and giving our home that refreshing clean feeling. We're even getting you ready for retirement.
Let the rain fall.
Evaluate Your Giving. Deadline: April 5
We know that dollar for dollar, giving to women is the best way to give. But there are so many worthy missions and projects out there that we find ourselves re-evaluating our giving at least once per year. This woman gives 10% of her salary to charity, but the ways you give (or if you give at all) and the causes you support are always up to you. Take this opportunity--before the end-of-year rush--to think about where you give, why and how much you'll budget for the whole year. Here's how to budget for giving from start to finish.
Start Planning Summer Travel. Deadline: April 10
We've been dreaming of summer since the first bird chirped outside our window. Now, it's time to start acting on those dreams. Whether you'll be spending a weekend at the lake or a month in the French countryside, start planning your travel now: choosing destinations, coordinating flights and accommodations, balancing vacation time, allotting money to your "souvenirs" fund. Bookmark your travel checklist and start planning out how you'll budget, when you'll go and what you'll do to meet that savings goal.
Max Out Your Retirement Account. Deadline: April 15
You can add to your 2011 IRA contribution up until April 17th this year. If you’ve been putting it off, simply log in to your online brokerage and transfer some money. The transaction takes less than a few minutes and has the potential to save thousands for you over the long run. For guidance on exactly how to make that transfer and the best ways to invest your money, check out our Investing Courses. For a full rundown of what you need to know about retirement, check out our guide.
Spring Clean Your Home. Deadline: April 22
Let Earth Day, April 22, be your deadline for cleaning your house, recycling old belongings and cutting the junk. Separate out all the clothing and other items you’re not actually using and either resell or donate them–all green-friendly acts. Remember to get a receipt so that you can take advantage of the tax deduction. If you have limited time to dedicate to cleaning (who doesn't?), prioritize these five tasks, then maximize your efforts with these tips.
Reassess Your Budget. Deadline: April 28
Log in to the LearnVest My Money Center to see the different categories of your spending, like nights out on the town and groceries. How does your spending in those areas compare to what you thought you were spending? Make sure to take into account any life changes, like school, work, family, wedding, vacation, children and anything else that could change the way you manage your finances.