Three financial tasks to carry out this summer

By:Sijun Li

Summer marks the midway point of 2013, and there is no better time to do a quickly check-up on your financial progress.

Typically, consumers spend more during the summer months on new clothing, road trips, vacations and outdoor events, so conducting a review of your money situation can not only help you make more informed decisions about spending, but also plan out the rest of your year.

Here are three smart money moves you can make to organize your spending and start your summer on the right financial footing.

1. Assess your progress

Remember that savings goal you set for yourself on January 1 about putting 10 percent of each paycheck into a separate account? How well have you stuck to your guns on this ambition? Mid-year check-ups can be a great way to examine your overall picture, which includes, savings, paying off debt, building retirement, purchasing insurance and sticking to a budget. If you’re on target to meet your goals, maybe now is the time to ask yourself if there is more you can be doing to exceed your original expectations. If you haven’t quite managed to reach your ambitions, the summer months are a good period to determine where and why you are falling short, and make a full turnaround while you still have time.

2. Start planning for the holidays

Those women who start shopping for the holidays in July may be onto something, especially when it comes to their wallets. It’s easy to blow through a lot of money in the summer, only to be stressed out and financially burdened when the holiday season begins. Between traveling, purchasing gifts and covering the costs of all the holiday add-ons, the last two months of the year can be tight financially. Rather than waiting until the last minute to order tickets or buy presents for loved ones, start making preparations now while summer sales are in full swing and you can make travel plans ahead of time.

3. Trim the fat off expenses

Do you constantly find yourself running out of stamps and envelopes when your bills are due? Try simplifying your finances by automating payments or enrolling in online banking. Little steps, such as switching to service providers with a more reasonable fee structure, contacting your insurer about unexplained premiums increases and finally bundling your packages into one easy bill payment can make a great deal of difference in both cost and convenience.