The month of September is an annual indicator of change on multiple levels. Kids go back to school, adults go back to work. Vacation season ends and the majority batten down the literal and financial hatches to prepare for the coming winter. September is also the perfect time to revisit your spending habits, and adjust to meet your 2015 goals.
On average, consumers spend more during the summer months than during the winter, even with the addition of Christmas. Beyond travel and dining out, the cost of keeping cool at home can quickly add up, particularly in hotter parts of the country.
Experts advise taking a hard look at your summer spending, to determine exactly how much you’ll need to adjust to afford the holidays and meet your annual financial goals. As you crunch the numbers, rank your debt by amount, from the highest to the lowest. Your credit card and store card debt would be first, followed by your line of credit, and then any personal loans.
Prioritize your debt by due date, and be prepared to negotiate if you find yourself stuck between a deadline and a deficient amount of available funds. Tap into potential money pits like monthly subscriptions or memberships to services or places that you don’t frequent enough to warrant the cost.
Once you’ve plugged any immediate financial leaks, start planning ahead. If you haven’t already, start building a holiday fund. Dedicate a small amount daily or weekly (even as little as $5) to stack a nice bundle for seasonal spending. Build a hard-line budget for regular monthly expenses to carry you through the end of the year, and commit to starting the new year with a surplus from which to set your resolutions. A little bit of planning can go a long way to keeping you healthy, wealthy, and money-wise.