With autumn upon us, it's time to give your finances a little dusting off and sprucing up. Every new season brings new items to your monthly budget. To have success with money, you should look at your future spending and make a plan. Taking time to plan will eliminate your need to use credit cards and will prevent you from going further into debt. Seriously, who wants to put their Thanksgiving meal on a credit card? YIKES!
Here are some tips that you can start looking into now as you prepare for the fall season.
1. Check Up and Shop Your Health Insurance Policies. Now is a great time to shop all of your insurance policies. Open Enrollment for health insurance begins on November 1st. Health insurance through your employer will have different enrollment periods.
2. Prepare for Tax Season. Get your business in order and organized now. I recommend working with a tax professional to prepare and file your taxes. If you don’t have a tax professional, now is the time to be interviewing and getting costs.
3. Winterize Your Home. Weather-stripping, caulk, window insulation, and general insulation can pass along significant savings during the winter. Consider turning down your thermostat a degree or two. Did you know that switching your fans to clockwise rotation can save up to 10% on energy costs?
4. Halloween and Fall Festivals. In the U.S. $8.4 billion was spent in 2016 on Halloween products according to the National Retail Federation. That's about $83/person/family. Don’t go into debt for Halloween, get creative and make your costumes. Buy what you can afford and pay cash. Falls Festivals are a lot of fun for the family and are usually free. But, where they get you is when you are inside the festival. Budget a little extra money and have fun! Also, if you're on a tight budget, skip the pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, you'll get a way better deal at your local grocery store.
5. Thanksgiving. I can smell the turkey already, and I can hardly wait! Did you know that each year 46 million turkeys are bought according to the National Turkey Federation? According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a good rule of thumb is to figure about $5-$7 per head when having guests over for Thanksgiving. Don't forget, Thanksgiving is the official start of holiday shopping. 40% of holiday spending happens over the holiday weekend. Have a plan and pay cash!
6. Take Advantage of Summer Blowouts. Now is a great time to stock up on summer clothes and anything related to summer. The best time to buy anything is when it’s on sale and at the lowest price possible.
7. Winter Clothing. Start looking into what you and your family may need and put some money aside now, so you're prepared. Search for alternatives to paying full price, like fall yard sales, second-hand stores, and clothing swaps.
No matter what season it is, budgeting your money is one of the most important investments you can make for your money and your future. If you haven't started one yet, start today!