Fall is often referred to as the other “New Year.” When kids head back to school, and the seasons change, it can feel like a fresh start. Similarly, to the first of the year, it is a great time to set new goals, or reevaluate the ones you already have and make sure you’re still on track.
Check your Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is typically considered to be 3-6 months of living expenses. Not necessarily 3-6 months of income, just however much it would cost to cover the basics for 3-6 months. The basics typically include housing, groceries, transportation, clothing and any medical needs. If 3-6 months of expenses feels like a lot to save, start small with what you can. Anything is better than nothing. If you have had to dip into an emergency fund recently, now may be a good time to think about how to replenish it.
Check your credit report
You can pull your credit report for free (during the COVID-19 Pandemic, you can pull your report free weekly) at annualcreditreport.com. Assessing your score can be a great way to figure out your financial goals. If your score is on the low side and you want to work to improve it, you set goals around improving your score. You can also use this opportunity to check for anything that seems out of place. If you notice anything suspicious, make sure to report it right away.
Pay off debt
If paying off debit is one of your goals, now may be a good time to make a strategy. Some people start with the debt with the highest interest rate, and some start with the debt with the largest (or sometimes even smallest) total sum. It’s important to find a strategy that works best for you.
Update your budget
Summer is often the time when budgets fall by the wayside since there is a lot of fun to be had (no shame!). The turn of the new season can be a good time to assess where you are and consider your goals. There are several budgeting apps that can make this process easier to track.
Set up Auto Pay
You can set up auto pay through Bill Pay in Online Banking. Auto pay can help ensure you never miss a payment deadline which, in turn can help you build your credit score. It can also help you keep records of payments.
Check on your investments
Take the time to log into your investment accounts and see how they’re doing. You could also set up a meeting with a financial advisor to learn more about how to handle your investments. Maybe you have an old retirement account from a previous employer that you could roll over into a new plan. Take the time to assess where your investments stand, determine where you want to be and make a plan for how to get there.
Compare service providers
Now may be a good time to assess the cost of the services you pay for regularly like your cell phone, cable, internet, insurance, credit card, and more. You may be able to negotiate a lower rate with your current provider, or if not, you can shop around and potentially switch providers so you can secure a lower rate and create more room in your budget.
Set goals for the coming months
Now is a great time to look forward to what you want to accomplish in the next season. Maybe you want to plan a winter vacation or are in the market for a new house. Consider everything from your big goals, to your small goals. Take a look at your budget and consider how you can rev up your saving in order to reach your goals faster.
Home improvement projects can be really fun and exciting, but they can also take planning and time. Fall can be a great time to launch home improvement projects. Maybe you need to prepare your home for colder months, or maybe you want to plan ahead and add some outside space for summer. Either way, fall is a great time to get started on planning and researching.
Get a jump start on your holiday shopping. By thinking about your holiday shopping earlier in the season, you may have a chance to find deals for particular items. Make a list of everyone you want to buy something for, or just anything you want to buy in general, and begin scouting out items early. When the holidays roll around, you may already be done with shopping and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.
Financial goals can change regularly so it’s important to take the time to reevaluate where you stand and take stock of where you want to be. Ultimately, a little bit of planning and reflection can help you set yourself up for financial success in the long run.