March and May are not only months, but also verbs. So let’s get to the actions you should take for March.
Organize your files
Start by addressing which documents you need to keep for how long. Everyone has a different system, but rules of thumb can help set the guideline. Itemize documents by less than a year, more than a year, 7 years, and lifetime. The two big ones that come to mind are insurance documents and bank statements. You can never find your active insurance policy documents, can you? My paper documents in my car are always last year’s documents, so I end up accessing my current documents via the web.
Typically, you will want to keep documents more than a year for things you purchase. Vehicle titles, household warranties, and loan documents are the most popular items. I also like to keep receipts for clothes that I purchase because I almost never wear clothes for a year for some unknown, and completely stupid reason.
No one likes to keep documents for 7 years, other than hoarders—I’m looking at you, Mom. Keep your tax returns for 7 years. Most entities that must provide you tax documents will also retain those records for 7 years, so there is no reason you must keep the supporting tax documents for 7 years. However, always have the return handy just in case someone comes knocking on your door.
Documents to keep forever include your Social Security Card, Estate Documents, and Birth Certificate. When I run for President someday, I don’t want my successor claiming I wasn’t born in these here United States.
Spend Flex Spending Account (FSA) Money
Depending on your company’s offerings, you generally have until March 15th to spend “run-out” money from your FSA for qualified expenses.
Budget for Summer Travel
I know I often include this line item for pretty much every month outside of summer, but it gives us another reason to plan ahead for our vacation. There are tons of travel deals out there, so take the time to do your homework. You can find offers right now such as a 6 night stay at an all-inclusive in Cancun, including flight, for $700!