8 things you should do at the beginning of each month

1. Fill in your calendar

Find a monthly calendar and fill in any big events you have coming up. Include parties, quizzes, exams, travel, etc. You may want to add in times reserved for studying, calling family/friends, date night, or “me-time”. Keep your calendar up-to-date and refer to it often. This will keep you organized and help make sure you have time to do everything!

2. Set a budget for the month

Budgeting your money before you actually spend it is the best way to spend less. Write down everything you need to spend money on in the next month: groceries, bills, gas, babysitter, school supplies, etc., and then calculate how much you will need to spend on each of those necessities. Add an additional amount to spend on extras like coffee, movies, eating out, or a new sweater. Voila! There’s your budget. Now, try to stick to it!

There are many free financial apps/sites that can help you create and manage your budget. Try Mint.com for free.

3. Clean out your refrigerator

Each month, give your refrigerator and your freezer a good clean. Trash everything that’s expired and toss that mystery meat hiding in the back corner. You’ll be able to get a good handle on what you need for your next trip to the grocery store and can start planning out meals with what you already have.

4. Prep your meals

Save money and eat healthier by cooking your meals at home. Prepare for the month by cooking up some meals that you can keep in your freezer. Stews, lasagna, pancakes, burger patties, and burritos are all perfect for keeping in the freezer to heat up later.

5. Set a fitness goal

Select a fitness goal that is challenging but realistic. Fitness goals can be as simple as only taking the stairs (not the elevator or escalator) or ditching your car and only riding your bike. Or you could set a weekly or daily fitness goal like running 5 miles per week or doing 20 sit-ups every day. Check out these fitness apps that will help you stay accountable.

6. Pick a book

Pick out a book to read (for pleasure) this month. Try to read for at least 15 minutes every night before you go to bed. Reading everyday can reduce stress, increase mental stimulation, and expand your vocabulary. Plus, it’s fun!

7. Do laundry

Now’s a good time to wash any towels, dish cloths, blankets, pillow cases, etc. that you’ve neglected in your regular laundry routine.

8. Vacuum

Break out that vacuum and put it to work! A quick vacuum can remove dust and allergens, leaving your carpets clean and happy.