March is the time of the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, but we Canadians know that warm Spring weather may yet be some time away. Maybe you’ll be inspired by our Olympic athletes (record number of medals, yeah Canada!) and venture outside to do some skiing, skating or tobogganing.
Not me though. I like to curl up on my couch with a big cup of camomile tea and the latest finance book. 😉
I don’t know if anyone actually does Spring cleaning anymore, but Spring signifies a fresh start which you can have after doing these activities.
March is a good month to…
Organize your paperwork
It’s easier to gain control of your finances if you’re organized. We accumulate a lot of paper over the months and years, and too many people hang on to much more information than they need. Are you baffled about what to keep and what to toss? Take some time to purge and organize your financial paperwork.
You can save everything in hard copy or electronic versions, or both. Take advantage of online services for such things as your bank, investment and credit card statements.
While you’re at it, check your estate plan. Do you need to update any information? Have changes in your family makeup made it necessary to make some amendments to your beneficiaries or your will? Make the changes now.
Declutter your digital life
We love our digital tools and apps, but they can quickly become cluttered and offset the advantages of speedy retrieval.
- Go through the emails in your inbox and delete or archive the ones you no longer need. Set up filters and folders to sort your emails with keywords of specific topics or senders. Unsubscribe from email lists and newsletters you know you no longer want.
- Stop trying to remember all your usernames and passwords or writing them down on scraps of paper. Instead, use a password manager such as LastPass or go password free with True Key.
- Close all those outdated and unused online accounts you signed up for (only to forget about them later). These could have a security vulnerability especially if you used a weak password.
- Now clean up the social media accounts you do use. Unfollow those people and newsfeeds you don’t care about anymore. Verify your privacy settings.
- Clean up your computer files. Are you still holding everything you’ve downloaded in the past two years in the Downloads folder? Does your Documents folder include everything you’ve ever created? Sort your documents and photos into manageable collections.
Review your subscriptions and payments
This is a good time to review all your insurance policies. Has anything changed in your life? You’d be surprised at the different discounts you can receive – e.g. winter tires, mortgage free and age discounts. Just ask if you qualify for them and make sure they’re applied to your policy.
Take a look at your TV and mobile phone packages for products and features you don’t need and try to negotiate a better deal with your providers.
Another area that tends to get cluttered are subscriptions. You know, you sign up for the free trial then forget to cancel, or they are no longer relevant to you.
Take advantage of Best Buys for March
Stores follow a yearly sales cycle. Here’s what you can expect to find on sale this month:
- March is National Frozen Food Month, so you can find good deals on all kinds of frozen foods.
- Cleaning supplies to help you tackle those Spring cleaning chores.
- Paper products.
- Winter wear – stores are clearing these out, especially more expensive winter coats.
- Luggage – for people who are thinking about summer vacation.
- Air Conditioners and Barbecues – these items will jump in price later on.