Wish you had more time? You got it.

If there’s one thing everyone wants, it’s more time – and that’s exactly what we have this year. A once every four-year phenomena of the calendar known as Leap Year is providing us with 24 extra hours Feb. 29.

For some, the day will come and go with little to show for it. However, with a little forethought, you can use the extra hours to make a difference in your financial life.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and MMI urge you to dedicate this gift of time to tackling the financial tasks they you may have been putting off.

  • Prepare federal income taxes. Gather all 1099s, W-2s and receipts related to eligible deductions. Whether filing on your own or through a professional, these items will be needed to prepare an accurate return.
  • Create or organize a home financial center. Because you already have your financial documents on hand, it’s time to create files for each category. This step will help keep you stay organized all year long, and will make preparing next year’s tax return a much simpler task.
  • Review all insurance policies. The time to become familiar with insurance policies is not when you make a claim. Insurance is not something to buy and forget, because oftentimes life-changes dictate adjustments to the policy. So make an appointment with your insurance provider to confirm that your current needs match your coverage.
  • Review retirement contributions. Due to the payroll tax cut, working Americans now have extra money in their paychecks. The best use of this money could be increasing your retirement contribution at work. Make sure to maximize the benefits of employer-match and age-related allowable contribution increases.
  • Request your credit report. Consumers are very interested in their credit score – and with good reason. However, you may not realize that your score is based on the information in your credit report. Despite the fact that you can request free copies of these reports though AnnualCreditReport.com, the NFCC found that 65 percent of Americans had not ordered their credit report in the last 12 months.

Utilizing the extra time afforded by Leap Year to accomplish these five financial moves will help you to wake up March 1 with a well-earned sense of accomplishment. The efforts you put forth on this bonus day will yield worthwhile rewards throughout the year.

Remember, if you need help putting your financial house in order, MMI counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so schedule your free counseling session today!

Money Management International is a member of the NFCC. The NFCC is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. NFCC Members annually help over three million consumers through close to 800 community-based offices nationwide.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.