February is a great time to check how those New Year’s Resolutions are doing. Either you are on a roll, or you have lost some motivation. That’s okay, because it’s still early in the new year to get back on track and reevaluate how January went and how you can improve for the coming months.
January was when we created a financial checklist to help plan for the year ahead. You made SMART decisions and created achievable short-term and long-term goals for you and your family. Now is a great time to assess how January went and how you can improve. Take an in-depth look at your budget and spending habits to adjust your plans accordingly.
According to Living Well Spending Less, February is also a great time to find items you’ve been searching for at a deep discount. With winter coming to an end and spring just on the horizon, it’s smart to watch out for discounts on winter jackets, boots, and warm accessories. Keep those items on hand for next year so you have a fresh wardrobe for next season.
Seasonal items like snow blowers and winter sports equipment will also likely be on sale in February. Pay attention to hardware stores for additional discounts this month as they are trying to get rid of the stock; they must make room for spring merchandise.
You can also find great deals you may have missed on Black Friday and Cyber Monday by holding out for discounts around the Super Bowl. With football season ending, sports team apparel and televisions for the big game are likely to go on sale. You can also find heavy discounts at the grocery store for party foods for get-togethers.
Another great tip is to wait for President’s Day sales, which typically include discounts on high-end cameras. It’s worth searching camera company websites during this time to see if that camera you didn’t get for the holidays is still up for grabs.
Three additional tips for a successful financial year:
- Focus on saving. Life can throw you unexpected curveballs, so it’s essential to have money in savings to take care of those last-minute surprises. Establishing a savings plan can help you start to build good financial habits. Make a plan to transfer a set amount to your savings account on payday and not touch it unless of an emergency. It’s typically wise to have at least $1,000 in your Emergency Fund, but the more you can save, the more money will have in an emergency.
- Reduce bills by picking up the phone. Call your bill collectors and utility companies can be scary, but doing so can save you money on future statements. Maybe you’re nervous or don’t want to wait on hold, but there is no shame in asking for help. You’d be surprised how many bills are actually negotiable. Of course, you don’t want to take advantage of these companies, but it’s best to be honest and explain that you are looking to lower your monthly bills. Use the phrase “Is that the best offer you can provide” and be polite on the phone. Customer service employees want to help, so make the call and see what they can do to assist you.
- Cut your grocery bill in half. With the rising food prices, now is a good time to start planning how to spend less. Make sure you follow a list, watch for sales, and create a meal plan to ensure you are not overspending or wasting groceries. While there are plenty of ways to cut your costs for groceries, some of the best ways are to use coupons, shop the sales first, and stockpile food when items go on sale. Most grocery stores have a website showing coupons and a weekly ad. Plan your meals based on what items are on sale and see if there are any corresponding coupons you can use to save more. If items are non-perishable or can be frozen, you can buy them in bulk when they are on sale, so you always have meals ready.
Even though February is a short month, make it sweet by sticking to your goals, being smart with your money, and planning for the future.