Summer is coming to a close. Every year you prepare yourself for cooler temperatures, getting children ready for school, school buses on the road, and to rake leaves and warm the car in the mornings. As you prepare for the changes to your routine you also need to get your money prepared for new expenses and do a financial fitness check up.
1) Check your home. Check the insulation on windows and doors. No or insufficient insulation will allow heat to escape and your heating bill to climb unnecessarily. Can we say major money leak. Also check the insulation in the walls of your home, that is important to trap the heat too. If you’re renting have your landlord do a check. I once had two months of a $300 gas and electric bill. The culprit? A living room window was cracked at the top and was letting my heat escape. If you see a crazy jump, something is wrong, start checking.
2) Do a financial check up. There are several things that would be good to check during this time. Do at least these three.
- Net worth. You’ve been steadily working on growing your money for several months. Calculate your net worth to see how you’re doing. Is the number a little bigger? If so you’re moving in the right direction.
- Spending plan. How well is your spending plan working? Determine if you need to shift your plan, such as increasing or decreasing target amounts for specific categories. Did you plug all money leaks? Perhaps you decided to keep a subscription when you made the plan, but looking back realize you really haven’t been using it. Well then cancel it, cut it from the plan and shift the money towards something else. Put the money towards a category you’re struggling with sticking to the allotted amount, savings, paying down debt or investments.
- How much closer are you to your goals? The numbers will show if you’re making progress towards your goal. Are you on track to complete your goal by the deadline that you set. If not what can you adjust to stay on track.
3) Shop smart. We know the best times to purchase clothes is at the end of a season when there are big discounts as stores prepare for the change in inventory for the new season. However, if it is unavoidable and you have to buy new fall gear for yourself or family members try this. Shop at thrift stores and discount chains. You’ll be able to find cool new things at a much lower cost. Many times there will be items with the tags still on them. You just have to dig around a bit. Look for online deals and coupons. Don’t use your credit card. I repeat don’t use your credit card.
Photo credit: Ed Schipul