Use your summer to find savings, and fuel your fall and winter spends.

Now that warmer weather is upon us, you’re probably dreaming about your next vacation or going on an outdoor adventure. What may not be on your mind, however, is getting your financial life in order.

Now that we’re halfway through the year, it’s the perfect time to start making some smart money moves. Here are some steps you should take on your first Summer Friday or at some point before the end of the season.

Increase your insurance deductible

If your homeowners insurance premiums are too high, consider adjusting your deductible. Unlike a premium, a deductible isn’t a monthly charge. If you file a claim, it’s the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance… CLICK TO TWEET

If your homeowners insurance premiums are too high, consider adjusting your deductible. Unlike a premium, a deductible isn’t a monthly charge. If you file a claim, it’s the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance company will cover any expenses following a theft, fire or another covered incident.

Increasing your deductible could save you as much as 25% on insurance costs. Just make sure you have enough money in your emergency fund in case the unexpected happens. You should also keep in mind that different deductible rules apply in different circumstances. If you live in an area that’s more vulnerable to certain natural disasters, you may be forced to pay a high deductible. If that’s the case, you may be willing to pay a higher premium instead.

Use stored rewards points

The summer is a great time to take advantage of points you’ve earned throughout the year from credit card companies and loyalty programs. If you let them collect dust, your rewards could lose value.

Got a big trip that your rewards points won’t cover? It might be a good time to get a new credit card with a sign-up bonus. Compare different cards before you take the plunge and review the rules associated with loyalty program promotions and redeeming rewards.

Check your credit

You can pull your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) for free once a year. Just head to annualcreditreport.com. Review each credit report and try to fix any errors you find. This can improve your credit score and potentially give you access to lower interest rates.

If you’re feeling good after checking your credit, consider requesting a credit limit increase. This may boost your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio (the percentage of available credit that you’re using).  

Use a budgeting app

Admit it: You may have a tendency to overspend during the summer. Things come up that you can’t anticipate, like last-minute invitations to eat out with coworkers. Keeping tabs on your expenses can help you make better financial decisions. But budgeting your money can be daunting. Luckily, there are apps like MintPocketGuard and YNAB that can help you stay on track.

Budgeting your money can be daunting. Luckily, there are apps like Mint, PocketGuard and YNAB that can help you stay on track.CLICK TO TWEET

Pick up a side hustle

Many of us travel or leave work early during the summer. While there’s nothing wrong with taking time to relax, try dedicating a few hours each week to earning extra money. A side hustle can help you pay off debt and increase your savings. If you’re having trouble choosing a part-time job, consider one of these options:

  • Tutor
  • Consultant
  • Affiliate marketer
  • Local tour guide
  • Podcaster
  • Dog walker
  • Transcriptionist
  • Artisan
  • Barista
  • Bookkeeper
  • Blogger
  • Nanny
  • Cleaner
  • Designer
  • Personal shopper
  • Editor
  • Trainer
  • House sitter
  • Photographer
  • Virtual assistant
  • Coach
  • Driver

If taking on a second job seems like too much of a hassle, consider having a yard sale. You can get rid of the extra junk in your home and pocket some extra cash at the same time.

Review your will

Estate planning is important. But there’s no point in having a will if you don’t keep it updated. To protect your assets and your loved ones, you should review your will every few years. Doing so is particularly important if you’ve recently gotten married, given birth to a child, lost a relative or experienced another life-changing event. If you need help updating your will or creating one from scratch, there are websites you can turn to, like nolo.com or legalplans.com. While you’re at it, check your life insurance policy, retirement accounts and other places where your beneficiaries are listed (in case they need to be updated).

Rebalance your investment portfolio

If you’ve started investing, it’s important to make sure your portfolio has the appropriate mixture of assets based on your risk tolerance. Rebalancing helps you maintain or adjust your asset-allocation strategy. Review your portfolio and assess how it’s changed since you originally selected your investment vehicles. Consider whether it still aligns with your short-term and long-term goals.

If you need help managing your portfolio, consider tools like SigFig or Empower, which sync your accounts to one dashboard, determine whether you’re overexposed to risk and provide fresh insights. Prefer a human touch? You can always look for a financial adviser.

If you need help managing your portfolio, consider tools like SigFig, FutureAdvisor or Personal Capital, which sync your accounts to one dashboard, determine whether you’re overexposed to risk and provide fresh insights.CLICK TO TWEET

Final word

Being financially responsible shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your summer. Making smart money moves this season is the best way to reach your financial goals. And just imagine how stress-free fall will be.

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