February is a little bit longer this year, so take full advantage. Twenty-four hours won’t be life changing, but you can take steps to check an item or two off your to-do list.
To help stay on course, here are some key dates and money matters to keep an eye on.
5. Super Bowl – Patriots or Giants? The Better Business Bureau warns consumers that there’s a big market for counterfeit team jerseys and other sports memorabilia. You can sign up to receive scam alerts at www.bbb.org/scam .
12. Grammy Awards – Are you a smart consumer when it comes to music? Do your listening habits make you a good customer for one of the digital music services likes Pandora, Rhapsody or Spotify? Maybe it’s time to take a closer look.
14. Valentine’s Day – The lovebirds’ holiday generates billions in spending. But there’s still time to comparison shop and find a good deal. Avoid making a last-minute purchase when you’re likely to pay more than you might normally.
14. Westminster Dog Show – A puppy can steal your heart and take a bite out of your wallet. Six new breeds will debut at this year’s show including the Entlebucher Mountain dog. If you decide you’re ready for a dog of your own, check out the advice of the American Kennel Club, http://www.akc.org .
27. Oscar night: If a red envelope has been sitting on your coffee table for weeks on end. Take stock of your entertainment spending. Maybe it’s best to rent movies only when you’re ready to watch.
29. Leap day: Make the most of the extra 24 hours. Unless the temporary payroll tax of two percentage points is extended, it only applies to wages earned through Feb. 29.
Also keep in mind:
— Tax prep. Do you have all of your necessary forms? If you haven’t received your 1099 forms you should check with your bank or broker.
— Where’s your tax refund? It’s still early, but as tax season progresses taxpayers can check the status of their refund on the IRS website, http://www.irs.gov . E-Filers can expect to find status information online 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of their return. Paper filers need to wait three to four weeks.
— Summer fun. It’s not too early to begin planning how your kids might spend the summer. A helpful starting point is the American Camp Association, www.acacamps.org .