It’s finally that time of year — the season of apple cider, pumpkin spice and Halloween movie marathons. As you’re crunching those autumn leaves and coloring the sidewalks, take a few extra steps to give yourself a fall financial checkup and analyze your current financial situation. To help guide you in your autumnal financial planning (which, by the way, will set you up for success through the season, well into winter, and even through the next year), we’ve outlined a few tips to get started.
1. Shake off any residual summer spending
It happens: summer comes along, and maybe you plan a few getaways, dine out a little more often, sign up for something new, etc. Now that those days — and the temps outside — are winding down, it’s a good time to refocus. Is the trial period of a subscription expiring? If so, cancel it, especially if you’re not even using it anymore! The same goes for any new memberships or clubs you might’ve signed up for and forgotten about. Is there a new recipe with fall ingredients you can try instead of eating out? Maybe you opt for a weekend staycation in your own town or city now that heading to the beach isn’t an option.
2. Prep a holiday shopping budget
Between big meal prepping, gift shopping and traveling to see loved ones, the holiday season — which kicks off in the fall — can get very expensive very quickly. To avoid unexpected financial hiccups when you should be enjoying crackling fires and home cooking, adjust your monthly budget to account for everything you’ll need to pay for in the near future. This will keep you from derailing progress on your financial goals and boost your financial wellness.
3. Take advantage of seasonal sales
This is particularly relevant if you’ve been saving for a big purchase, like a new car. With proper financial planning, which includes saving money and doing your due diligence to research big ticket expenses, you can save yourself some serious money. Even if you’re just looking to refresh your fall wardrobe or do some redecorating, scoping out the many sales that tend to crop up this time of year is a savvy way to make sure your fall financial checkup is as fruitful as possible.
4. Do some end-of-year reporting
As the year comes to an end, take stock of your long-term financial goals by getting ahead of the game. Prepare a mock tax return to add transparency to your financial picture and equip yourself with more insight into what you can expect once tax season really rolls around. Get a free credit report and run a credit check to take your financial temperature. Doing these things preventively instead of reactively can really help you in the long term and shape your financial outlook for years to come.
Fall forward thinking your way to financial wellness
Taking initiative to give yourself a fall financial checkup between apple picking and digging out your favorite cozy cardigan is a great way to start the new autumn season off in a productive way.