Top 4 reasons why fall is the number one season: cooler temperatures, pumpkin patches, fly fall fashion, and bugs returning back to where they belong. Not to mention, eating pumpkin spice until it practically becomes a blood type.
While it may not sound really sexy, it’s also the perfect time to look at your finances. With back-to-school shopping and upcoming holiday trips, expenses can quickly add up. Be prepared by making money moves that will reap dividends for this last stretch of the year and the new year ahead.
Budget ahead of time for the holidays
If the thought of the holidays leaves you feeling anxious and overwhelmed, taking charge of your finances before the holiday season could help. Lack of money, overspending, and feeling pressured to make expensive purchases are some of the reasons many people do not view the holidays as a joyous. During the start of the fall season, look at your financial goals and your budget, and decide what is a priority to you.
Write down expected expenses to be made on travel, hosting parties, and gifts. Make it a point to only spend what you can afford. Then, begin putting away money in a savings account that you cannot readily access. This will decrease the temptation of withdrawing the money before you need it. Get a jump start, if you can, on purchasing gifts and booking travel. This will help you beat the holiday markups and frenzy so you can save you some dollars.
Getting those windows sealed, adding some new weather stripping, and getting the furnace tuned up now will eliminate high heating bills once the height of winter has hit. If you do not have one already, invest in a programmable thermostat.
This one device can save you tons of money because you can set it to a certain temperature that best suits your comfort level and pockets. Program the thermostat to suit your lifestyle. As soon as cooler temperatures appear, place home maintenance tasks high on your to-do list if you do not want your bank account to suffer later.
Open Enrollment Season
Fall is also the time of year when most employers have open enrollment. This is the window when employees can make changes to their health insurance and if you play your cards right you can save some money.
The first step is to look at what your expenses are and ask yourself a few essential questions. Did you participate in a Flexible Spending account? Did you use all of the funds in that account or go scrambling to spend it before the end of the year? Flexible spending accounts allow you to save money each week before taxes to pay child care, elder care, or health care costs. The fact that the funds are taken on a pre-tax basis can save you up to 30 percent of each dollar that goes into that account.
“The trees are about to show us how to lovely it is to let the dead things go”- Unknown.
Be intentional about creating a better life for yourself and your family. You do not have to wait around until New Year’s Eve to start planning.
Let this autumn by the time you set aside to reflect, re-assess, and plan to see some extra zeros in your account. Follow these special tips and get a firm handle on your finances before the new year.
Contributor: Candice Davie