Tips for an Easy Fall Finance Checkup
With summer quickly coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to check in on your finances. The change of seasons is always a good time to take stock of where you are and what you’re doing financially, and make any necessary adjustments you need to reach your financial goals. You might be surprised at how even a few small changes can add up to big savings.
Clear the Clutter — No one wants to spend the summer filing and shredding financial documents, so it’s time to tackle what’s built up over the past few months. The first step in your fall finance checkup is to gather all financial paperwork in one place, then sort through it and decide what to keep and what to toss.
If you’re still receiving any paper statements, make the switch to paperless delivery so you’ll have even less paper to worry about the next time around. General guidelines for keeping and shredding are:
Keep – Tax records, legal documents, warranties
Shred – Bills, bank statements, pay stubs and anything else you can easily access online
Consider ‘Cutting the Cord’ — If you spent the summer streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime Video and rarely watching cable, it’s time to cut the cord. Even if you’re not convinced you can do it, try it for a few months and see how you feel. The convenience of watching exactly what you want, whenever you want, coupled with the money savings should be enough to convince you.
Know Where Your Money is Going — Are you wasting money every month on things you don’t need or no longer use? Your fall finance checkup should include a review your checking and credit card accounts for all automatic charges such as gym memberships, monthly subscription boxes and magazine renewals; cancel anything you’re not using.
Check Your Credit Report — When was the last time you looked at a copy of your credit report? If you can’t remember, it’s time to get copies from the three major credit bureaus — Experian, EquiFax and TransUnion — and review them for any errors or inaccuracies. It’s also a chance to see what you can do to improve your credit score.
Anticipate Seasonal Spending — Believe it or not, the fall and winter holidays are just around the corner. Think of what you typically spend for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the winter holidays and start saving for them now. Having a ready stash of cash set aside for purchasing seasonal décor, food, and gifts will help keep you from reaching for your credit card when the time comes.