Sweater Weather, Budget Better: A Fall Financial Detox Guide

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When it comes to detoxing, you probably think of juice cleanses and teetotal diets — not your budget. But your finances may need a hard reset more than anything else, especially in the fall.

As the sweet spot between an eventful summer and the expensive winter holidays, the fall represents some essential downtime for your wallet. With big spending on hold, it’s the perfect moment to check-in with your finances. You can assess your cashflow to see how prepared you are for a busy end of year.

If you’re ready to whip your finances into shape this fall, look no further. Here’s you guide to a fall financial cleanse.

Track Your Past Spending

Tracking the last 12 months of spending can give you a good idea of your habits — both good and bad. Celebrate the victories (socking away savings in a retirement fund) and highlight the mistakes (that expensive gym membership you never use).

A retrospective look at your spending can also help you anticipate future expenses. Look at your spending from this time last year, paying close attention to any unexpected expense. These unexpected expenses serve as a good reminder that unusual repairs and purchase can fall into your budget without any warning.

Pay More Than the Minimum on Debt

With your spending on a freeze, now’s the time to pay off your credit cards and lines of credit with extreme prejudice. These high-interest accounts grow slowly over time when you only make the minimum payments, so increasing your monthly payments can help you manage your debt.

The same logic doesn’t always apply to personal installment loans. It depends on how your lender sets up your payments and whether your payments pay down your principal. That said, it’s always a good idea to pay more than you can, as it can free up your budget from debt faster.

The online personal loan lenders at MoneyKey recommend you check with your lender before you make any early or extra payments. While you may make pre-payments on MoneyKey personal loans without penalty, other lenders aren’t so lenient. Some might charge you for making any additional payment outside your agreed-upon schedule.

Prioritize Savings

Once you get a handle on your high-interest lines of credit and personal loans, focus on your emergency fund. Your emergency fund might help you avoid taking out another loan online should an unexpected expense arrive this holiday.

Financial rule of thumb says to save 20 percent of your take-home pay. That’s your paycheck after deductions like taxes, union dues, and pension payments. Choose the amount that fits your lifestyle and send it to a high-yield savings account automatically each month. Automating this step ensures you don’t accidently miss a contribution.

Be Prepared to Spend Less Right Now

Juggling debt and savings can be tough, but it’s easier when you aren’t stretching your budget too thin. Cut back on your fun spending, slashing things like takeout, concert and theater tickets, clothing, spa treatments, gadgets, and travel.

Anything you can sacrifice will go towards your goals of saving and paying down debt — both of which put you in a better financial position to celebrate the holidays with fewer worries.

The holidays will be here before they know it, so stick with your detox. And remember, financial advisors recommend you spend no more than one percent of your annual income on the festivities. Following this limit will ensure you don’t undo all the progress you make with this detox!

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I am Jessica Moretti, mother of 1 boy and 2 beautiful twin angels, and live in on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. I started this blog to discuss issues on parenting, motherhood and to explore my own experiences as a parent. I hope to help you and inspire you through simple ideas for happier family life!

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