Getting Your Post-Summer Finances Back on Track
Here we are in fall already, believe it or not. We’ve waved goodbye to summer and autumn has officially arrived. If you’re like many, you took a vacation and spent some significant time and dollars having fun in the sun during the season that just passed. Maybe you got a little carried away and did more damage to your wallet than you intended. Don’t beat yourself up over it. As we head into fall and the upcoming holidays over the next few months, it's a good time to consider what you can do to rein in spending and stay on track with your financial goals.
• Consider your budget. It’s easy to take your eye off the financial ball while you’re busy vacationing, but now it’s time to refocus on it. Your budget should take into account your monthly income, expenses, and savings. If cash flow is low, avoid using credit cards to prop things up. Make adjustments and tighten your belt instead. If you really need to tap into emergency savings, so be it, but do it with an eye toward budgeting to replenish those savings.
• Add to your savings when possible. If you want financial security, and who doesn’t, you need to maintain a healthy savings account. At Sonder, we teach that having a minimum of 3 months of living expenses in your emergency fund and up to 12 months of living expenses is an appropriate range. If that’s out of reach, go for as much as you can manage.
• Plan for big purchases. Being impulsive is not a trait that’s compatible with healthy finances. Looking to buy a new car, or considering some exciting travel options for next year’s summer vacation? Then start planning ASAP by adjusting your budget sooner rather than later. If necessary, cut back on spending and/or take on a side hustle rather than digging into your regular savings or putting it on plastic.
• Consider automatic savings. Socking money away is easier if you don’t even have to think about it. (It also reduces the temptation to spend it instead.) A great way to do this is to set up your direct-deposit paycheck so that some of it goes into your checking account and the rest goes into a high-yield savings account.
• Cut your expenses. Dry January? Try Dry September! Find one thing that you regularly spend on and cut back on it for the month of September. Then save those dollars instead.
• Stay on top of financial news. Your personal money situation is of course impacted by national economic and financial trends. The economy at large has a big say in things like how much you’re allowed to pay in retirement accounts, your credit cards’ interest rates, and the costs associated with applying for a mortgage. So it stands to reason that you can better plan your finances if you stay informed by checking out financial news sources on a regular basis.
Hopefully, all of this should give you a solid basis for getting back on sound financial ground—until next summer’s vacation time rolls around!
Contact us with any questions you have about your finances and how to plan for your next vacation.