This post is excerpted from our Ultimate 2013 Financial Calendar.
As you fire up the barbecue for the Fourth of July, make sure you're turning up the heat on your personal finances, too.
Some of the things you'll do this month include rebooting your retirement savings, using some handy new apps and finding ways to save a bundle on your dream vacation. Here's the full list of what's on tap for July:
1. Increase Your Retirement Contributions. Deadline: Monday, July 1
It's time to recommit to your plan so you can retire with a healthy amount of savings. If you’re keeping your money in a 401(k), increase your contributions by 1%. If you have an IRA that you’re not maxing out, start saving $100 more each month. While you're at it, take another look at your plan — do you know what a "playcheck" is or if you'll have negative inheritance? Make sure you're up to date on the latest lingo and know where your money is being invested. If some or all of your savings are in a target-date fund, take the time to asses if it's allocating your investments in the best way possible. Are you taking the necessary steps to reach your retirement tipping point?
2. Re-Evaluate Your Budget. Deadline: Monday, July 18
How are you doing with that budget you set up in January? Does it still make sense? How does it compare with the 50/20/30 rule? Can you cut back in any categories, or do you need to reallocate resources? Reviewing your budget now will help to ensure that you stay on track to meet your financial goals. If you need a refresher course in how budgeting should work, we can help with that. You can even start teaching your kids about how to be financially responsible.
3. Try a New (Free!) App. Deadline: Monday, July 15
Need an easy way to streamline your finances? Do it with these handy apps. We've reviewed the best ones to fit your needs, whether it comes to managing your child's allowance or figuring out how to split the check.
4. See Where You Can Save on Travel. Deadline: Monday, July 22
Even if you've been planning since January, bets are there are even more ways to cut costs on your summer vacation. With these clever tips, a Parisian getaway could be in your future. You may even be able to afford to pay for a few extra days off, or decide to take for an extended trip. But if a world tour isn't in the cards this year, you can always enjoy a fun and affordable staycation.
5. Ramp Up Your Extra Income. Deadline: Monday, July 29
To finance some summer fun, look into ways you can earn extra dough on the side. If you can't seem to conjure any magic money or find a fortune in your attic, there are other ways to supplement your paycheck. Figure out how to market your existing skills to avoid being an underearner.