4 Purposes for a Proactive Financial Calendar

by Jessica Sommerfield · 5 comments

neatness
I’m obsessed with organization. You know — one of those people who writes something down just so they can cross it off. While I’m overly organized in most areas of life, one area I could stand to improve in is financial planning, and one practical way I could do this is to create a proactive financial calendar. After all, I have a daily/monthly/yearly planner and smartphone calendar for everything else… why not apply this to finances? Here are four key purposes this kind of calendar could serve in not only getting more organized, but getting ahead.

Help Remembering Time-Sensitive Tasks

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of a financial calendar. Sure, you may pay the bills on time without reminders, but it’s easier to lose track of less frequent tasks like paying quarterly taxes, filing a yearly FAFSA, scheduling the appointment to have your taxes prepared, or signing up for medical benefits during open enrollment. All of these are time-sensitive, so plugging them into a calendar with built-in reminders will ensure you meet and beat deadlines without overtaxing your brain.

Breaking Up Overwhelming Tasks Into Smaller Segments

Some time-sensitive tasks like gathering tax documents are also notorious for inducing universal procrastination. The more overwhelmed we are at the thought of tackling a nasty financial project, the more likely we are to put it off until the last possible second. This is where a financial calendar can provide more than just an annoying reminder that you haven’t done it yet: it can actually help you break up a large task into several smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance, one chunk of a huge project might be gathering paperwork, making phone calls, printing statements, labeling files, or maybe just taking the time to purchase the organizational tools you’ll need. Of course, the size of these sub-tasks will depend on the amount of time before the entire project needs to be done (in other words, the sooner your start planning, the better).

Planning Ahead

This is what I need to work on the most, especially when it comes to vacation planning, holiday spending, and starting to set aside money for likely future expenses and savings goals. Planning ahead for vacation can literally save hundreds of dollars on plane tickets and hotel rooms; setting aside small amounts of money each month all year can make holiday shopping less of a budget-crunch…the list goes on.

Re-assessing

Looking forward is important, but so is looking back, especially when your finances change. Financial advisers recommend reviewing your credit report on a yearly or bi-annual basis; it’s also a good idea to re-asses your medical and vehicle insurance coverage. Another important thing to re-asses is your budget — at least on a yearly basis, in addition to whenever you experience a change in income or recurring expenses. Some of these won’t be anticipated, but most people know when they’ll be getting yearly performance assessments accompanied by raises. Not only does re-assessing all of these things on a regular basis keep you in tune with where you’re at, financially — it can save you a ton of money.

I think these are a few pretty good purposes for a proactive financial calendar. What are some things you currently put (or plan to put) on yours, and why?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Latoya @ Femme Frugality July 22, 2016 at 7:52 am

I want to incorporate a calendar into our finances again as well. We used to use it to keep up with bill due dates and payday days as well, but have become terribly lazy and things are suffering because of this. I would like to use it as a way to balance our check book as well. I’ll probably be starting on this today since it’s payday for one of us:)

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David Ning July 22, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Oooo payday!

And did you start adding financial stuff to your calendar yet? (I’m just trying to help keep you accountable!)

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Pete July 25, 2016 at 1:10 pm

I use Google Calendar to remind me of when to expect (all sorts of bills, payments, and statements) whether received by mail, email, or on the web. Similarly when they are due and when I propose to pay them.

I’m found that not all companies and USPS are 100% reliable and having this calendar keep track of them helps me be on the lookout.

Google Calendar allows you to organize sub-calendar as well as color-code them.

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David Ning July 25, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Google calendar is really great, especially since you can sync the calendar on your phone so you always have it with you. Good for you to have found something that works for you!

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Sandy Winchester August 2, 2016 at 8:05 am

I don’t know how you can get that money when I have not even signed up for it someone called me the other day said I was gonna get the same amount an it never happened

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