This post is excerpted from our Ultimate 2013 Financial Calendar.
Are you seeing May flowers yet?
We know you're probably itching to get outside and bask in the sunshine—or tackle some home improvement projects. So we won't keep you. Below, find the five May financial to-dos that will help keep your finances in order into the summer and beyond.
1. Check Your Score. Deadline: Friday, May 3
As we like to say, your credit score is the only grade that matters once you graduate because it determines interest rates for your mortgage and other loans. Reviewing it every three months will keep you abreast of how you appear to creditors. A sudden dip in your credit score will alert you that something erroneous or fraudulent may have occurred with your accounts. To check your score for free, use www.creditkarma.com—and then find out how to improve your credit score.
2. Take Stock of Your Retirement Savings. Deadline: Friday, May 10
Hopefully, you're contributing to your retirement savings. If you aren't, there's no better time to start than now. Why? Because time is the secret to retirement savings. Take the opportunity this month to check that you aren't making one of these nine retirement account mistakes. If you are, don't panic. We have seven ways to reboot your retirement plan today.
3. Pull Your Free Credit Report. Deadline: Friday, May 17
Your credit report will show you the record of your financial activity that's available to creditors. Check that there are no errors. If there are discrepancies, dispute them with the bureau that released the report. Annualcreditreport.com allows you to pull your credit report from each of the three major bureaus once a year—for free!
4. Make Something Delicious. Deadline: Friday, May 24
One thing we see time and time again is overspending on meals out. And we get it—there's something irresistible about the convenience of handing over cash and getting a ready-to-eat meal in return. But one of the easiest ways to cut your costs is to get a little more familiar with your kitchen. Not every recipe takes $50 and two hours—try some of these recipes for quick fixes that will save you money:
- 6 Creative Ways to Have Your Steak and Eat It, Too
- 7 Must-Try Spring Vegetable Recipes
- 8 Easy Recipes for the Non-Chef
5. Look Out for Scholarship Opportunities. Deadline: Friday, May 31
Is your child entering his junior or senior year of high school? If so, it's a great time to start reviewing scholarships that will help you afford the rising cost of higher education. Use the College Board's Scholarship Search to find details on more than 2,200 programs totaling nearly $6 billion in financial aid, and sign up for UPromise, a free service that can earn you extra cash for college on everyday purchases.