This post is excerpted from the Ultimate 2014 Financial Calendar.
Now that you're more than a month in, how are those New Year's resolutions coming along?
If you resolved to stop biting your nails, become a gym rat or cut out refined sugar, good luck. We hope it's working out and wish we could offer you more tips to stay on track. But if you resolved to take control of your finances this year ... well, that we can help you with!
Below, find the five tasks that will help prep you for another month of consistent, reliable progress toward your money goals.
1. Get Your Credit Score. Deadline: Monday, Feb. 10
SATs are a thing of the past. As an adult, the only score that really matters is your credit score, which can have a major effect on the rates you lock in for mortgages and other loans. To get your credit score for free, head over to Credit Karma. Not happy with what you see? Use LearnVest’s checklist to monitor and improve your credit score.
2. Have the Money Talk With Your Significant Other. Deadline: Friday, Feb. 14
It may not be the most romantic thing to think about this Valentine’s Day, but the effects of a successful money chat last much longer than that bouquet of roses. No matter what stage you are in your relationship—be it dating or happily married—significant others can either be great partners to help you stay on track with your finances … or seriously sabotage your best efforts. So make sure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to financial goals and priorities by having a forthright conversation (or two).
3. Fill Out Your FAFSA. Deadline: Monday, Feb. 17
If your child plans to attend college this September, it’s time to submit your government application for financial aid, known as the FAFSA. You must re-submit the form each year that you request aid, and while it can vary somewhat by state, the forms are released in January, with a filing deadline of June. That said, it’s a good idea to submit your application well in advance—many institutions award aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. And even if you’re not sure that you qualify for aid, go ahead and fill out the form, because you’ll never know if you don’t ask!
4. Choose a Bad Money Habit to Quit Forever. Deadline: Friday, Feb. 21
If you hadn't heard, this February is behavior change month at LearnVest, which makes it an ideal time to put a kibosh on the actions that erode your financial progress. Are you neglecting a 401(k) match? Putting off negotiating better rates for your fixed expenses? Setting and forgetting your savings? Take a look and see if you've fallen prey to one of these classic bad money habits. Even if yours isn't on the list, you can still use these five secrets to better life habits, and these ingenious ways to stop overspending, to correct your least-favorite behaviors.
5. Prep for Tax Time. Deadline: Friday, Feb. 28
By the beginning of February, you should have received your tax forms, such as a W-2 from your employer, or 1099s for supplementary income. Keep them in a safe spot, and start collecting any other information that you’ll need to do your taxes, like records of charitable donations and receipts for expenses you’ll be itemizing. Need more guidance? Check out LearnVest’s free Ace Your Taxes Bootcamp.