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Artful arrangement of fall leaves and money

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. It might surprise you how even a few small changes can add up to big savings. Let’s look at what to include in a fall finance checkup.

Clear the Clutter 

No one wants to spend the summer filing and shredding financial documents, so it’s time to tackle the backlog from 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

Audit Your Subscriptions

All those free trials are great — until you forget to cancel and end up getting billed for apps or streaming services you don’t even use. Take the time to review the services you actually use on a regular basis and cancel the rest. You might be surprised how much you’re spending for things you don’t even want.

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. Look for gym memberships, monthly subscriptions and other recurring charges. Cancel anything you’re not using.

Check Your Credit Report 

When was the last time you checked 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. Setting aside a stash of cash for purchasing seasonal décor, food, and gifts will help keep you from reaching for your credit card when the time comes.

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