April WalletPop monthly plannerWelcome April, you colorful and tauntingly warm but inconsistent month. Those of us living in four-seasons-land find it particularly hard to be stuck behind a desk on those first breezy, sunny spring days. If you can free yourself, this is a great time to do some shopping, house work, and take part in recreational events. Here are tips for making the most of early spring.

Shop smart: April is a great time to buy
  • Cookware
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Candy (after Easter)
  • Used cars
  • Fabric
  • And a special shout-out to new car deals this month, as other car manufacturers scramble to meet Toyota's recall-induced specials

Save money by postponing buying these items, which usually sell at top dollar in April
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Boats
  • Houses
  • Swim suits
  • Yard furniture including grills
  • Golf clubs
Save or make some money
  • Watch for tax day (April 15) giveaways: every year retailers offer freebies to soothe that IRS sting.
  • Buy your tickets for minor league baseball while the best dates are still available: 90% of the fun of major leagues games at 25% of the price.
  • Find frugal alternatives for prom night: swap clothes, hit up friends for transportation, find low-cost entertainment.
  • Students looking for summer work: Now is the time to distribute fliers for your lawn mowing, pet walking, babysitting services.
  • Watch for fine forgiveness days during National Library Week (April 11-17).
  • Start a compost heap to save on mulch and fertilizer.
Do your home chores
  • Clean the cutting chamber of your mower.
  • Sharpen your mower blade.
  • Apply weed and insect control to your lawn.
  • Check your gutters for sag, missing hangers.
  • Schedule maintenance for your air-conditioning system.
  • Take care of any tasks needed in your attic before it gets too hot up there.
  • Lubricate door and window hinges.
Enjoy seasonal foods
  • Green spring garlic
  • Strawberries from Florida.
  • Artichokes from California.
  • Dandelion Greens from my yard (please help yourself).
  • Ramps, a wild onion that grows in the Appalachians, a pungent treat that spawns whole festivals.
  • Maple Syrup
  • Ham (Easter sales)
  • Candy (after Easter)
  • Eggs (You don't HAVE to color them)
Think education
  • Make your decision about where you'll attend college or do your post-grad work.
  • Inform the school you've selected.
  • Inform the schools you've declined.
And don't forget to celebrate
  • April Fool's Day, April 1
  • Good Friday, April 2
  • Easter, April 4
  • Baby Massage Day, April 10
  • Tax Freedom Day, April 13
  • National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day, April 16
  • International Whistler's Week, April 14-18
  • Consumer Awareness Week (April 19-24: as a consumer, I'm wondering why we were shorted two days on this week?)
  • National Scoop the Poop Week: April 24-30
  • Financial Literacy Month
  • National DNA & Genomics & Stem Cell Education & Awareness Month (Whew)
  • National Garden Month
  • Pet First Aid Awareness Month
And take some time to lounge in the sun; you need that Vitamin D.

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