In 2004, April was designated Financial Literacy Month by Congress. In honor of financial literacy, Money Management International, a nonprofit credit counseling agency, put together a 30-step program to help consumers improve their financial situations.

In its list, the organization says you should reduce paperwork clutter, get copies of your credit reports (and correct any errors), calculate your net worth, track your spending, and find ways to save and stick to a budget. It also says to cut your debt and boost your retirement savings rate. If you still have time, draw up a will, review other estate planning documents and make sure that you have sufficient health, auto, life, and disability (and we'd add homeowner or renter) coverage. 

That's a lot to handle in one month.

We think a better approach is to make the process more manageable by taking on fewer tasks at a time. To help, we've created monthly checklists you can use to keep your finances on track all year long. Here's your April to-do list.

Review Your Estate Planning Documents

Finding your financial paperwork shouldn't be too hard this month since you may still be working on your taxes. Review your retirement savings plans and other papers to make sure your beneficiaries, instructions, account information, and contact lists are up-to-date. 

If you need to draft any estate documents, start with a will to ensure that your chosen heirs will get the assets you want to leave to them. You'll also need a durable power of attorney so someone can manage your money if you're ever too sick to do so. To maintain control over the type of medical care you receive when you're too ill to make those decisions, you should also sign a living will and a durable healthcare power of attorney.

You might be tempted to use software to create these documents yourself. But your needs may be better met by hiring a professional, especially if your estate-planning situation is complicated.

A professional can help you figure out the best options if you have children from a previous marriage, say, or if you must provide for a disabled child. It's possible to get a very basic estate plan for $1,200 to $2,000 if you shop around. Start by getting referrals to lawyers with expertise in estate planning from your accountant or financial planner. You can also check the websites of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Get Your Tax Refund

If you'll be getting a tax refund but haven't received it yet, visit the IRS website and use its refund tracking service to find out when it will come in. After your check arrives, read our list of smart ways to spend it.

If you're getting a refund, it means the government took too much money from your paycheck during the year. That's money that you could have earned interest on, invested or spent.

To adjust how much the government takes, consider adjusting your withholdings. You can calculate how many withholdings you are allowed by using the IRS' withholding calculator

Save on Summer Travel

Now is the time to start researching your summer vacation options so that you can take advantage of discounts for early bookings. Our travel and vacation guide includes our airline Ratings, plus advice on using frequent flyer miles, buying the best luggage, saving money on hotelsrental cars, and road trips, and much more.

If you're thinking about traveling overseas, see our list of the seven most affordable countries to visit this year, find out how to protect yourself when spending money abroad. Also read whether you should buy travel insurance.

Wondering what financial steps you should have taken earlier this year? See our financial to-do lists for January, February and March.

Buy Products on Deep Discount

Consumer Reports product research experts, who track prices all year long, have compiled a list of items that are typically at their lowest price in April. To get the best deals, look for sales on carpets, digital cameraslaptops, and desktop computers this month.

If you're in the market for electronics, your best bet might be to shop online. In recent years, those who turned to the Web were more satisfied overall than those who shopped at a brick-and-mortar store, according to Consumer Reports surveys. In fact, websites as a whole were a better option when it came to quality, selection, and price.

Use Holiday Rebate Cards

If you received a rebate while holiday shopping, there’s a good chance it came in the form of a rebate card. Rebate cards expire after six months on average, so this is a good month to make sure you take advantage of that rebate.

Federal law and most states' laws exempt promotional cards from the protections that consumers have come to expect with gift cards (such as limits on expiration dates and fees). Rebate cards are the exception to this rule. Be sure to read the fine print carefully to make sure you end up getting the full rebate you were promised.