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Groundhog Day Advice: Get Ready for Spring

Groundhog Day

If you’re a fan of Punxsutawney Phil, you already know he saw his shadow, so we’re in for another six weeks of winter. Despite the bleak Groundhog Day forecast, spring is still on its way and I’m going to encourage you to start your spring planning ASAP. So, if you’re ready to “think spring,” here are some ideas to help you prepare.

 

Contribute to Your Nest Egg

I’m a recent college grad, so retirement seems unimaginably far away, but I know I should be contributing to my retirement accounts. Regardless of your age (and even if you can only save a very small amount) you should also. If you have an employer sponsored plan like I do, where your employer matches a percentage of your contribution, maximize your benefit by contributing as much as you can afford to each month. If you don’t have an employer sponsored plan, this is a good time for you to talk with your financial advisor about starting or improving your retirement plan.

 

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Audit for Home Energy Upgrades

After a mild winter, it’s easy to forget about home energy efficiency upgrades. An energy audit is a good starting place and will help you determine how efficient your home is. Winter (meaning, right now) is a good time to have the audit done, since the contrast between temperatures inside and outside your house make it easier to find air leakage. If you have a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor conduct the audit, you will also receive a prioritized list of energy-saving projects and information about incentives you can use to reduce the costs of the work. Once spring arrives, you can begin working on your list of projects. If you haven’t had the audit, you can still do some basic air sealing and insulation and maybe even upgrade the old heating system.

 

Plan for Outdoor Cleanup and Improvements

After a long winter indoors, you’re going to want to get outside and enjoy the warmth of spring when it gets here. If you haven’t already started planning your garden beds and outdoor projects, this is a good time to start gathering the things you need so that you can get to work when the warm season arrives. As you consider spring projects, think about potential vegetable and flower gardens (do you need fencing to keep Punxsutawney Phil and his friends out?), landscaping improvements, walkway or driveway repairs, and external home repairs.

 

Assess Your Auto

Vermont cars take it rough. With salt- and stone-covered roads and extreme shifts in temperature, we’re lucky if we can pay off the auto loan before the bottom is rusting out. Hopefully, you’ve been making regular trips to the car wash to reduce salt damage, but either way, this is a good time of year to assess the health of your vehicle and determine whether it’s time to buy a newer model.

When spring arrives, life speeds up. Use these last six weeks of winter to prepare for all of the work to be done.

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