You've heard of Spring Cleaning, but now it's time for the fight for a firmer Fall financial foundation!
All alliteration aside, it's extremely important to make sure your finances are secure and improving throughout the year.
So now that the weather's finally getting cooler, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, sit back, and read our guide to never-fail fall finances!
Restructure Your Situation
With the changing of the leaves often comes the changing of lives. Did you get married this summer? Have you moved, changed jobs, or had another major life change?
If so, it's wise to make sure your financial planning reflects those changes. Determine the best spots in your area to buy groceries and gas. Find out if there are cheaper utility options nearby than the ones you already use. Talk about money with your spouse, merge your bank accounts, and work out a retirement plan with your new boss.
All of these changes can make sure you save money and build a better financial life in the future.
Revisit Your Budget
Frequent readers of the Atlas Credit blog know we love budgeting. It's the best way to ensure you have the money for your bills and the extras you need to enjoy life with your family. Budgeting helps you stay on track when money is tight and save a little extra when times are flush.
But if you have used the same budget for years, it's time to revisit your spending plan this fall. Chances are good you've had many adjustments since the last time you looked over the budget. For instance, your mortgage payment may have gone up or your cable bill may have gone down.
Go over the past few months of bills and compare them to your budget. Make adjustments where you need to, and then reevaluate your situation. Maybe you have more free money each month that you could put toward retirement. Perhaps you could start paying down a high credit card bill. Look for better ways to utilize your money.
Plan Ahead for the Holidays
In the past, we've recommended buying gifts ahead of time. Way ahead of time
That advice still remains a solid and safe way to plan for your near future. You know you'll have to buy gifts, so don't wait until the last moment.
So if you haven't bought all the gifts you'll need for this year's holidays, now's the time. If you buy them in the fall, you'll surely save a few bucks and give yourself the peace of mind of knowing there won't be any huge rush come winter. At the very least, start a small fund to help you afford those great Black Friday deals.
Enroll in Text Alert Opt-Ins
Speaking of the holidays, that's the time of year when scammers really get creative. They prey on people's goodwill during the holidays by gaining authorization to credit card accounts and other financial statements. Or, they claim to represent a bogus charity and run away with your money.
One way to guard against fraud is to opt-in to text message alerts on your financial accounts. These ping you when a seemingly fraudulent charge is made. For example, if your credit card suddenly turns up in Seattle, when you live in Texas or Oklahoma, your credit card company may alert you to the discrepancy. Or, it may seek your approval via text on large purchases, such as a laptop or a big family vacation.
Use Benefits Enrollment Time Wisely
Many employers schedule open enrollment for the fall. This is the time when you can make changes to your current benefits. Many people think they can skip this if they don't have a change in marital status or add a new child to the family. But you can make changes other than adding someone to your health insurance. Consider upping your contributions to your 401(k) or Flexible Spending Account.
Make a Donation
Charitable donations can be an incredible way to both help out people in times of need and alleviate your tax burden. How, you ask?
Because charitable donations are tax-deductible. And right now, there are plenty of areas in the United States -- including right here in Texas -- where people need your help.
The major damage thanks to this year's hurricane season will require extensive repairs, so every dollar counts. If you make a donation, you can make a difference this year and save money on your taxes next year.
Gear Up for the Cold
If you have a load of summer clothing and other items you won't be using any longer, donate them, store them, or sell them.
And if you have any vehicles you know you won't need anytime soon -- boats, motorcycles, etc. -- make sure they're safe and sound.
Then, with your extra space and possibly extra dough, stock up on what you'll need to survive the cooler temperatures. These include sweaters, rakes, shovels, plenty of firewood, and whatever else you can think of. This way, you won't feel the financial freeze of poor fall planning.
Try All Our Never-Fail Fall Financial Fixes
At the end of the day (and the beginning of the season), the smartest way to live your life is to always come prepared. No matter your situation, if you set aside the time to figure out your options for facing the future, you'll never fear failure this fall.
Have more questions about preparing for the fall? Do you feel worried you may not have all the money you need to get through the cold months ahead? If so, contact Atlas Credit today. Our quick and easy personal loans can get you the cash you need, ASAP.