6. Check in on your credit
Your credit score is a bit like your financial report card. It’s an indication of both the current health of your finances and an estimate of how likely you are to repay any money you borrow. The state of your credit report matters to your wallet because it may be a factor on how lenders determine the interest rate they may offer you.
You may be able to boost your credit score by taking these steps:
- Make at least minimum payments on time. Payment history makes the biggest impact on your score.
- Mind your balances. The second-biggest credit scoring factor? How much you owe. Pay your balances owed in full whenever possible. And if you can’t…
- Create a repayment plan — stat — and stick to it. Other factors, such as keeping old accounts open and maintaining a mix of loan types, may play important roles, too.
7. Pick up financially savvy beach reads
Everybody loves a juicy beach read, but why not add a little money education to the mix? Not every finance guide reads like a textbook. Pro tip: Flip open a potential buy to a random page and see if the author’s style grabs you. If you’re drifting off through the first paragraph, choose something else.
8. Learn about investing — then do it
Of course, one of the most effective ways to be sure your finances are always in shape (no matter the season) is to take a holistic and overarching approach to money matters throughout this and every year.
Simple tips and money hacks are useful. But they’re no substitute for a true financial education. “Set yourself a weekly task to spend 15 or 30 minutes studying personal finance, reading financial blogs and books, or listening to money podcasts,” suggests Storjohann.
Even with some newly acquired financial knowledge under your belt, you still might be unsure about the best way to approach the market vis-a-vis your own unique resources, goals and needs. It’s OK — experts are standing by. Don’t be afraid to seek out advice from a seasoned professional.
“While you can always go the DIY route,” Storjohann says, “investing in objective financial advice can pay off in optimized debt pay-down strategies, better allocated investments, tax savings and more.”
9. Keep it going
While getting your finances in shape for summer is a good start, you probably want to find ways to turn these actions into habits you can practice for years — and future summers — to come.
And the first rule of changing financial habits in a sustainable way is to keep it simple.
“Trying to do everything at one time can be paralyzing and stressful,” advises Taylor Schulte, a CFP and the founder of Define Financial. Instead, focus on one thing you know you can do to improve your financial life. “Maybe it's tracking your expenses — which just about everyone I meet with can improve on,” he says.
“Really commit to the process of making that action your new normal. Choose a method for tracking your expenses, block off a time and date every week on your calendar to update your budget and don't be distracted by other financial tasks you could be doing,” Schulte recommends.
Schulte says that once tracking your expenses and maintaining your budget feels effortless, that’s your sign that it’s time to move onto the next item on your list of financial success habits.
“One of the key factors in creating habits is associating a reward or benefit with the new behavior,” Schulte adds. “So you could also build in a reward for yourself if you successfully implement your new habit, and even ask someone to hold you accountable.”
“At the end of the day,” Storjohann says, “getting comfortable in simply talking openly and honestly about money is a great way to improve your financial situation.”
And really, what better place to start that conversation then at the beach this summer?
Kali Hawlk is on a mission to find all the free outdoor workouts in Boston this summer so she can keep her budget and body in summer shape. You can read more about her love of fitness and finances at GoingBeyondWealth.com
The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article.