The end of summer is fast approaching and that means the end of vacation season and a return to some familiar routines. If you’ve been enjoying the sun and summer adventures you may not have minded your finances over the last couple of months. Get back on track with these five to-do list items.
Assess Your Summer Spending
Now that summer is ending, it’s a good time to find out if your financial goals are still on target for 2019. Take a look at your budget and see what you spent money on this summer. Make sure to note any overspending so you can make a plan for fall and winter to make up for any money losses suffered. To revise your budget, reassess the amount of money you have coming in and what your expenses are, such as rent, utilities, groceries, entertainment and dining. You can get some help organizing your finances with a budgeting app.
If you have any financial wiggle room after summer, consider increasing the amount you send to credit card companies. One of the best ways to pay down debts faster is to make greater payments than the minimum required each month. You’ll save on interest and be able to pay off the loan faster. A good way to do this is to follow the snowball method. Start by listing all of the debts you owe from smallest to largest. Any extra money you have should go toward paying off the smallest balance, while you continue making the minimum payments on the larger ones. Once you pay off the smallest balance, put the extra money toward the next smallest debt, and so on. Each time you pay off a debt, you’ll have additional funds to put toward the next. For help, try some free online and mobile debt repayment tools, which allows you to track your debt payment progress.
Celebrate Labor Day Weekend for Less
Planning a Labor Day party at your place? Host a potluck barbecue instead of doing it all yourself. Ask your family and friends to bring a dish and drinks, so you keep your costs low. You can provide the grilled meats or other main dish, and everyone can enjoy the day without spending a lot of money.
Do you have a Labor Day weekend trip planned? Even if you have a flight booked, it’s a good idea to make a budget that takes into account lodging, meals and sightseeing now, so you don’t blow your September budget. Consider booking an Airbnb over a hotel to save on lodging. You can also save money on food by getting a place that has a kitchen and preparing some meals yourself instead of eating out all the time. Look for free or inexpensive activities to do at your destination.
Shop Smart for Back-to-School Items
August marks the start of the back-to-school season, and that means it’s time to shop for supplies and clothing for your kids. There’s plenty you can do to make your money go farther, from purchasing clothes at thrift shops, to searching for coupons and sale codes, to swapping supplies with neighbors. Check out this month’s blog, 5 Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping, for tips!
Review Your Retirement Savings
Unfortunately, most people don’t review their retirement plans on an annual basis and have no idea where they stand. Saving for retirement is a long-term commitment, so it’s important to stick to it and make changes when needed. That means checking in from time to time. Take a look at your contributions and estimate if you are on track to hit your goal. Consider any life changes that may have occurred, like getting a raise or having children, that may affect how much you can contribute, and whether or not the goal you first made should stay the same. If you need help, contact a financial advisor who can help you best navigate your nest egg