Welcome to the summer months. Take some time to relax and enjoy time with friends and family. However, don’t slack on your financial management this summer. The introduction of fall doesn’t need to coincide with the realization of several money mistakes and missed opportunities.
Here’s some money moves to make this June:
1. Fill out your FASFA form for the 2021-2022 school year.
Did you or your child attend college this past school year? Guess what? You can still receive funds from the government for the past year.
The FASFA deadline for the 2021-2022 is June 30. Granted, your state and school may have different deadlines. So, you might have missed your opportunity for receiving state and school-specific aid. But don’t let that discourage you from filling out this past year’s FASFA form and, potentially, receiving federal aid.
It takes the average student about one hour to fill out a new FASFA form. So, think of it this way—you could possibly get paid a few (or several) thousand dollars for one hour of work. You likely won’t find a better financial opportunity this June.
So, fill out the FASFA form before June 30. Here’s the link.
2. Get your summer vacation budget in order.
Are you doing a vacation or a staycation this summer? Make sure the vacation provides many wonderful memories, not financial regret. A financial plan for your vacation can give you a sense of peace, knowing every part of the vacation is within your means.
Make sure the vacation provides many wonderful memories, not financial regret.
Here are a few things to consider as you review the summer vacation budget—increased gas prices and food costs. Current gas prices are going to eat into the budget more this year. If you are planning a road trip or will be spending a significant amount of time in an automobile, make sure you include gas costs in your budget. Many are opting for a staycation this year because of gas prices.
And don’t forget about food costs. You’ve already experienced the impact of inflation on your grocery bill. Whether you eat out or buy groceries at your vacation destination, anticipate an increase in food prices. For this vacation, you may want to consider eating out only once per day. This is something our family normally practices on vacation anyway. We buy groceries for breakfast and lunch. In the evening, we will go to a restaurant.
Before you embark on your trip or staycation, get your budget in order.
3. Review your 2022 money goals.
What money goals did you set for 2022? You are almost halfway through the year. Now is a great time to review your goals and evaluate your progress. If you are not where you would like to be, adjust your strategy. If you did not set any financial goals for 2022, consider setting a six-month goal. Here are the 8 Money Milestones to help you with your goal setting:
Milestone 1: Start giving. God designed giving to be our financial priority. You might already give. Keep it up. You may need to start. Let's get going. Don't miss out on what God has in store for you and your money.
Milestone 2: Save $1,500 for a minor emergency. You are going to get hit with unexpected expenses--a flat tire, a refrigerator that no longer cools, or a washing machine that no longer washes. Protect your generosity and avoid credit cards by having $1,500 set aside.
Milestone 3: Max out your 401(k) or 403(b) match. If your employer offers a contribution match, take it. Do not miss out on this incredible return on your money. Max out your match, but do not go beyond it.
Milestone 4: Pay off all debt except your mortgage. Now it's time to pay off your debt. Get rid of those high interest rate payments. Use the Snowball Method—paying off your smallest debt balances first.
Milestone 5: Save 3 to 6 months of living expenses for a job-loss emergency. Major medical emergencies happen. Layoffs happen. Boost your emergency savings. Your number should be based on your actual expenses and not your income.
Milestone 6: Put 15% of your gross income to retirement. Ramp up retirement contributions. If you are approaching retirement, check out a retirement calculator or meeting with an advisor to see if you need to do more than 15%.
Milestone 7: Save for college or pay off your mortgage. Both are good options. If you have kids, I recommend the former first. If college costs are not a concern, knock out that mortgage.
Milestone 8: Live generously. As your financial health has strengthened, so has your generosity.
Now is the time to take your generosity to a whole new level. Live more openhandedly than you ever have before. Make a difference in the lives of those around you. Make a difference for the sake of Kingdom advancement. Make an impact for all eternity.
Have a fun, relaxing, and financially smart summer.