Four Ways to Get Your Budget in Shape for Fall
The change of seasons often marks a transitional time. In the fall, the temperatures begin to drop, the kids are back to school, and we’re more than halfway through the calendar year. With all the changes happening in the fall, it’s a perfect time to stop and examine your financial situation.
Taking time to follow these steps with your fall budget will help you get and stay on track for the rest of the year.
Assess the Summer Damage
Summer can be tough on your budget. Between vacations and generally having more options of things to do, it’s not uncommon to overspend during the warmer months. As the cooler temperatures draw you back inside, take time to evaluate how your budget’s doing. If you went way off track during the summer, you may need to make some budget adjustments in the fall. You may want to consider cutting back for a bit to get yourself back to where you’d like to be. If you managed to keep your budget in check during the summer, first of all, pat yourself on the back! Then, think about what went right. How did you avoid the temptation to spend more? How did you keep track of your budget? Then ask yourself if there are ways you can do even better in the fall.
Find Budget-Friendly Activities
The traditional fall activities – apple picking, hayrides, etc. – are often unreasonably expensive and can threaten your fall budget. That doesn’t mean you should avoid fall fun all together. Just plan accordingly. If you’re going to do one of the more expensive activities, make room in your fall budget. Save up in advance if possible. Finding free of inexpensive activities to do other times can also help you afford it. Look at your community resources for lists of events going on in your area. Take a fall nature walk, do some fall crafts, go to a high school football game, or bake some fall treats.
Evaluate Your Goals and Set New Ones
Think WAY back to January. Did you set a financial New Year’s resolution? How’s that going? Most of us ditched our New Year’s resolutions months ago. But the changing seasons can remind us of intentions we’ve set for ourselves. You most likely made that New Year’s resolution for a good reason. So it may be worth revisiting. At the start of fall, you can even modify it to make it a shorter-term goal for the end of the year. For example, perhaps you planned to save a certain amount by the end of the year. You may not have time to reach that benchmark now, but you can set yourself a smaller, more reasonable goal that you can accomplish before the year ends. Just in time to build momentum for your next New Year’s Resolution!
Start Saving for the Holidays
Speaking of the end of the year, fall may just be beginning, but the holidays will be here before you know it. Now that you’re done shelling out cash for summer vacations and back-to-school shopping, you may want to start saving for the holidays. Putting away small amounts now will not seem like much of a burden on your fall budget and it will go a long way when the time comes. It may seem soon to think about, but consider making a budget for your holiday shopping to help determine how much you may want to start putting away now. The longer you give yourself to save, the less burdensome that amount will seem.
The change of the seasons marks a time to reflect and to set intentions. As the fall begins, take a look at how your budget is doing and prepare it for what’s ahead. Setting aside time to care for your finances at the start of each new phase of the year will help keep your finances healthy all year long.
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