It’s that time of year — tax return season. And this year, there may also be a third stimulus check coming sooner rather than later.

If you feel a sense of dread or overwhelm at the thought of taking a deep dive into your finances, you’re not alone. The best way to make those feelings disappear is to take action.

This last year has been such an interesting time financially for so many people. If you’re wondering how to best use your tax refund and the next (last?) stimulus check, keep reading.

Know your financial status.

Review your credit report…

As the first year of quarantine and shutdowns wraps up and another is set to begin — it’s a great time to note three bad habits to kick and three better ones to start.

Habit #1 — Not Being Active

Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to fall into a routine that includes too much Netflix and not enough activity. We might not be able to enjoy going to the gym or yoga studio like we used to, and it can be hard to get excited about new ways to be active at home.

Be Sneaky. Get yourself back into the habit of being active…

Low interest rates continue and so does the trend of the low inventory of houses for sale. Even the most qualified homebuyers are being outbid and left frustrated, or even paying beyond their means to secure a new home. What can you do to land the home of your dreams without losing your mind?

The best way to be competitive is to be prepared. Have the right professionals in your corner who are experts on the process and able to give you the best input available. …

3. Write Down THREE Things You Are Thankful For

Take 5 minutes to think about what you are thankful for: friends, family, employment, pets, hobbies… whatever makes you feel a little lighter and maybe even brings a smile to your face. Write down the top three things you are thankful for right now.

WHY: As the saying goes, what you focus on expands. Not only is this sage advice, but it’s also backed by science. Expressing gratitude has so many benefits: better sleep, improved relationships, reduction in depression and anxiety, and even rewiring our brains for the better (a type of neuroplasticity).

GO FURTHER: Take this a step further…

Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes…

Moving from a small town or suburb to a new city can be an intimidating situation. Here are a few tips to help make your move as painless as possible.

Research before you move. It’s important to understand the culture you’re joining. Do research online and find out about school systems, neighborhoods, parking, weather, public transportation, laws and anything else that is important to you about your new home. If you can, visit a city before moving and connect with someone who’s lived there before.

Have a plan. There are a lot of steps to go through before you start…

Selling your home doesn′t just mean hiring a trustworthy Realtor. Preparation is key to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done — hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior — fences, shingles…

Anna C Johnson

Wisconsin-based freelance writer and blogger passionate about lifestyle, real estate, personal finance, and home/life organization.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store