You’re probably thinking you’re reading about the money moves that I’m planning to make this summer because I’ve gotten so good at goal setting and consistent check-ins. Or maybe you’re thinking it’s because I’m so pumped about finding ways to simplify my finances while boosting my income and living more purposefully.
Or maybe you know the real truth.
Dear Reader, I simply have summer on the brain.
There are only a handful of weeks left until it’s officially summer vacation, and I’m simply smitten with the idea of taking back more of our time. I’ve been dreaming, I’ve been wishing, I’ve been planning.
I’ve also realized that summer can come with a hefty price tag if I’m not careful.
That’s why I’m thinking hard on these money moves. Not because money is the most important objective this summer, but because money is the tool that makes all the other things I can’t wait to do possible.
Here are the money moves I’m looking to make this summer:
Our Roth IRAs are already maxed for the year (throws confetti!), so there’s not going to be anything happening on that front. However, there are two things that I definitely need to take care of in terms of investments this summer.
Project #1 – Increase HP’s 529 contribution. One day, I’ll write about our 529 college fund plan. Because presumably one day, I’ll actually have a plan. Right now, it’s more like a dream and a prayer followed by a panic attack. The short version is this:
- We know we want to pay for as much of his school as we can.
- Illinois actually has a fantastic 529 set up in terms of programs and tax benefits.
- We haven’t drank the Koolaid that there will be a huge shakeup in higher education that will negate the ::checks notes:: $13,000 we have set aside.
- Even if there is, Mama would love a doctorate.
Since our Roth IRAs are maxed out, we intend to boost our 529 contributions for the remainder of this year. Don’t get me wrong. This increase isn’t going to take him from University of Illinois to Berkeley in terms of what we can afford, but we want to make sure that we are following through with our intention. Because I spent some time paying around with tuition calculators over the weekend, and zomg please please please let compounding do some of the heavy lifting.
Project #2 – Help my husband evaluate his 403b options. We got a ton of helpful insight from people when I wrote about how awful his options were. Then, a miracle happened. His district unveiled more options. The problem is they want staff to use a third-party platform to discover more about their new offerings. That sounds like more expenses to me. I hope I’m wrong. Either way, we’ll roll up our sleeves this summer and get a plan for real.
RELATED POST: Terrible 403b Options: What Do I Do?
Sell & Donate My Clutter
I have too much stuff, and I’d like to have a lot less. Blah blah blah hopeless Penny delusion about decluttering and minimalism blah blah. I don’t really have anything new to say here other than I want to keep doing what I’m doing. Plus, I need to force myself to do some hard work, too.
Project #1 – Declutter at least 150 items. I simply want to keep up the momentum that I’ve built this year.
Project #2 – Sell as much as I can, and don’t think twice about donating the rest. I’ve been doing pretty OK with decluttering, but I keep writing myself passes on certain things. I have some designer bags and Tiffany pieces that I should part with. In fact, by hanging onto them, I’m collecting clutter and losing money. So I need to get serious about these items and then continue donating en masse when I’m not selling.
Streamline Our Finances
This is obviously another blog post that I should have written years ago. But we don’t automate our finances (other than our monthly bill with Boost Mobile because I am a sucker for discounts). For me, I really appreciate checking in with my accounts and all of my bills on a monthly basis. It’s provided more than one Come to Money Gods moment. Plus, if I get steamed enough, I’m usually motivated to slash our cable package or comparison shop providers for whatever bill is bothering me.
Project #1 – Designate a primary credit card. I’ve been playing games with cashback promos (those Christmas gifts aren’t going to buy themselves…or are they?), and as a result, I have probably eight credit cards in heavy rotation right now. And it’s…too much. I’m not worried about missing a payment. But I am interested in having less in my wallet and less on my mind. So I’d like to really only use one or two cards.
Project #2 – Organize and track. I need to clean up my credit cards, and I also need to reevaluate the different apps that I use. I also want to make sure that I’m tracking my spending. Maybe I’ll even surprise myself and do some no-spend days or weeks again. The list of things that we want to do this summer is long, so it’s going to be important that we’re mindful with our money when we’re busy…and when we’re not.
RELATED POST: No Spend Days Don’t Work…Or Do They?
Make a Will
I know. I know. I know. It should be part of Parenting 101. But the truth is that it’s really hard to think about estate planning. Of course, I know that’s just a gigantic excuse and I’m setting HP up for a world of frustration. That’s why it’s on the list.
Project #1 – Create a will. The short version is that we’re hung up on guardianship. There is no shortage of people willing to love on our son. We know he’d be in good hands with anyone in our family. But I can’t say that I think everyone shares our money focus. So we’re going to explore a set up that might separate the two. I know there are plenty of DIY routes we could go, but we’re going to use the lawyer who did my parents’ estate plan.
Project #2 – Update our beneficiaries. I’d like to tell you that my husband is my primary beneficiary with my son listed second. But the truth is some of my accounts are so old, I probably still have my mom listed. (Sorry, Grandma! You’re being replaced.) I also recently read that listing a minor as a beneficiary isn’t the best plan of attack, so I’m hoping the estate lawyer can shed some more light on how we might do this all.
Final Thoughts on Summer Money Moves
After scanning through this list, I’ve realized two things: I have some serious work to do…and I’m so glad I have this blog. Can you imagine me confessing this list to a coworker or friend when they ask what I’m most looking forward to this summer?
Of course, we have actual summer vacation plans. There’s a new-to-us nature center to check out. Plus, a handful of neighborhood parks are being renovated. We’re road tripping across the border to Montreal, and we plan to squeeze in as much time as possible at my family’s cottage and with all of our family and friends.
We have those summer plans, too. I just want to make sure we keep our finances right so we can keep spending our time how we want this summer and beyond.
It’s good to have money nerd friends, fam. Thanks for letting me share! Drop me a note below to let me know if you’re making any money moves this summer.