Your summer adventures are almost at an end and that means it’s time to get back on track. August is a good month to check up on your financial well-being. Here are five items that should be on your financial to-do list.
Review Your Summer Spending
The first item on your to-do list is to take a look at your budget and see what you spent money on this summer. Find out if your financial goals are still on target for 2019 or if you’ve gone over. Make sure to note any extra spending and create a budget for fall and winter to make up for any monetary losses suffered this season. 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.
Save on Back-to-School Shopping
If you have kids, you know that August marks the start of the back-to-school season, and that means it’s time to shop for supplies and clothing. 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!
Assess Your Retirement Savings
Saving for retirement is a long-term commitment, so it’s important to stick to it and make changes when needed. Unfortunately, most people don’t review their plans on an annual basis and have no idea where they stand. Summer is a good time to do a check-up on your retirement savings. 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
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. If you have any wiggle room after summer, consider increasing the amount you send to credit card companies using the snowball method. List 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, but 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.
Keep Labor Day Weekend Costs Low
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 instead of eating out all the time. Look for free or inexpensive activities to do at your destination.
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 grilled meats or other main dishes, and everyone can enjoy the day without spending a lot of money.