April is National Financial Literacy Month, which means that, in addition to all the other things you’ve got penciled into your calendar, you should find time to become more of a financial expert.
Luckily, there are many good and simple ways to spread the gospel of Smart Money this month, and every month.
Because while you can only celebrate Christmas at Christmas, you can celebrate Financial Literacy anytime you want.
Take Some Financial Quizzes
You’d be surprised at how quickly one can build financial knowledge simply by taking the occasional trivia quiz.
Even if you do poorly the first time around, you can learn from your mistakes and become a better money handler almost overnight.
Mint.com is a huge proponent of fun and informative financial quizzes. Here are just a few we’ve come up with through the ages:
- Test Your Net Worth IQ
- The Couples’ Financial Compatibility Test
- How Well Do You Know Your Credit Rights
Attend a Free Financial Seminar
Sometimes, it’s best to hear great advice from great people. Luckily, there are free financial seminars offered in just about every town, or at least in a nearby city.
Space may be limited, especially since it’s free, so sign up early and show up early as well.
Once there, you’ll be treated to incredibly helpful and honest information from a bevy of financial experts, each of whom wants to help every one of you achieve your monetary goals.
Oh, and we emphasize FREE seminars for a reason. Anybody who charges for this kind of advice is not interested in your well-being, just their own.
The only lesson you gain from paying to attend a financial seminar is one you’ve been hearing for decades now: “a fool and his money are soon parted.”
Update Your Budget
Perhaps you set up a budget awhile back, and it was good.
But times change, as do circumstances. There’s a real good chance your budget isn’t so good (or accurate) anymore.
So, in honor of Financial Literacy Month, take some time to sit down and update everything.
Whatever’s changed in your life — mortgage, bills, income, debt — make sure every penny is correctly accounted for.
And if you can start to put some more dough aside for savings, all the better. After all, money doesn’t have to be spent at first opportunity.
Those Presidents are very patient, and are most happy when used appropriately.
Introduce the Idea of Budgeting to your Children
You can be as precise and meticulous a budgeteer as you want, but if you don’t pass any of that on to your children, your family is likely to get in trouble fast.
It takes one second to destroy a Jenga tower you took forever to build, and it takes just about as much time to tear a comfortable nest egg to absolute tatters.
So take all the wisdom you’ve learned, both throughout the years and this month, and pass it on to your kids. Make sure they understand the value of saving money and budgeting for every penny.
Don’t wait for them to figure it out themselves, because usually that only happens after a catastrophic error or two or ten.
If you truly want what’s best for your kids, give them the gift of sound financial advice. Finally, a gift that truly does keep on giving.
Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.