Assess Your Finances Every Fall
Fall is in full, leafy swing. As you watch the weather change outside your window this season, this is also a good time to review your financial picture to see what changes are needed there. Assessing your finances each fall will help you identify any adjustments needed in the upcoming year so you can save more money, pay off debts sooner and gain more peace of mind and less stress over your money.
In this blog, we will share some tips to help you prepare your finances so you can better focus on financial wellness throughout the New Year.
Adjust Your Budget for Seasonal Needs
When reviewing your budget, remember to allot for seasonal expenses throughout the year. For example, during the summer you will need to prioritize any travel or vacation costs, which may mean saving less during this time. If you have school-age children, you will need to budget for back-to-school expenses. In the fall, holiday shopping and seasonal home maintenance may be the top priorities.
Be sure to account for all your seasonal expenses as you prepare your yearly budget. This allows you to make informed decisions about your finances as you review your spending bit by bit, according to Ashley Lapato, a financial expert on TikTok and a spokesperson for the budgeting app YNAB.
Once your budget is set for the year, remember to periodically review, and adjust it if you need to spend more than planned, says Yahoo Finance.
Save Money for Holiday Spending
The holidays typically take the heaviest toll on budgets. Creating a strategy for holiday spending at the start of the year will lessen your financial stress, help you prepare for the giving season, and avoid going into debt when the holidays arrive.
The key to budget success during the holidays is to save money throughout the year. Set aside money each payday to a dedicated holiday savings account. When the holiday season arrives you will have built a little nest egg that will let you pay for more things with cash instead of credit. If you are on a tight budget, consider cutting down on discretionary spending throughout the year. This could mean cutting back on morning coffee drinks, eating out less or cutting back on entertainment. Instead, save that money in your holiday spending account.
Find the Best Holiday Deals
Along with saving for the holiday season, another tip is to take advantage of the fall sales and promotions. This is a fantastic way to save and stay under budget. Browse online for the best prices on items or services and remember to factor in shipping costs. Retailers tend to award their loyal customers with discounts, coupons, and incentives, so check with your favorite stores to see their offers, especially during Black Friday, according to Investopedia.com.
Lower Energy Costs
Another seasonal way to save money is by ensuring your home is not wasting energy. For example, as the wintry weather arrives this fall be sure that your home heat is not escaping from leaky windows, doors, and other areas. Sealing these are easy do-it-yourself projects and you can find tutorials online to help you easily accomplish this task.
Also, it is wise to have a professional inspect your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system each year. This can save you money by ensuring your HVAC runs efficiently and does not waste gas and electricity. Regular maintenance can also extend the life of the system, according to energy.gov.
Prepare for Tax Season Early
Another budget tip is to get ready for the spring tax season in the prior fall or winter by gathering your tax documents early. This makes it easier to prepare your taxes, especially if you have receipts that are tax-deductible that you may have forgotten about. A good practice is to dedicate a folder, file, or desk drawer to store all your tax-related paperwork throughout the year.
This is also a good time to ensure you are having the correct amount withheld from your pay, so you don’t face a tax bill during the spring. A great tool to utilize is the IRS withholding tool at IRS.gov. Your employer may also have an IRS worksheet to help you with this. It is also smart to meet with a financial advisor or tax professional to ensure you are on track to meet any retirement, educational savings, or financial goals.
How Travis Credit Union Can Help
Travis Credit Union can help you implement your budget plan. With our array of products and services, we can provide you with top-rate Certificates and Money Market Accounts so you can save more for the holidays. We also offer low-rate energy-efficient loans to make your home as efficient as possible. And that is just the start!
We invite you to take our Financial Wellness Assessment so you can identify areas in your budget that you can work on throughout the year. Our Financial Wellness Hub provides a wealth of information on how you can plan, save, spend, and borrow better. Plus, TCU offers a free wealth management consultation with Travis Financial Services.
Get started at traviscu.org.