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Whip Your Fall Budget into Shape

Mikayla Borchert

Benovate Staff & Content Editor

Start Autumn Off on the Right Foot.

We all have financial goals, and sometimes, a tendency to stray from those goals. To stop the snowball effect, it’s a good idea to get your budget worked out prior to the holidays. Whether you plan on saving for the holidays or just need to formulate some benchmarks, we’ve got you covered.

US News suggests these 7 tips to consider this fall. They range from benefit planning to savings to winterization, so there’s something for everyone.

Here are 7 ways you can whip your budget into shape this Fall:

1. Set New Saving Goals

If you set a goal in the beginning of the year but didn’t quite stick to it, here’s your chance to learn from what went wrong and start a new plan that works for you.  Break your goal down into bite-sized chunks–saving a portion of each paycheck, for example–can be more manageable that putting away larger chunks less frequently. By saving regular amounts at regular intervals, you build a good habit while also getting to see how long it takes to save up. This can help wrap your mind around the amount it takes for a down payment or paying down debt.

2. Get Serious About Open Enrollment

Are you getting the most out of your health benefit plan? Most employers’ open enrollment period is over the fall to prepare for the coming year. Talk to HR or keep your eyes open for information sessions relating to your benefits and any changes you should make, whether it’s a gym membership reimbursement or switching to a more cost-effective plan.

3. Start/Grow a Holiday Spending Account

Avoid dipping into your credit or regular savings for the holidays by starting to set money aside now. It’s good for your credit score and will help you build that budget. Even $5 each month is more than $0 each month.

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4. Start Winterizing

It seems like many home improvement shops are providing large deals on different home renovations or styles. Start paying attention for things you need that could help save money. Weatherproof curtains can help retain heat, for one. Pick up more insulation for your attic, price out cleaning your gutters, and all those types of activities to build into your budget or save money. Your budget for this will differ depending on where you live, so it’s a good way to practice creating a personalized budget.

5. Prepare Your Vehicle for Colder Weather

A stitch in time saves nine, they say, but a more appropriate saying might be that if you take care of your vehicle, your vehicle will take care of you. Take your car in for a winter optimization check so you aren’t entering snow season with bald tires, engine flush, or anything else it might need to run smoothly—in 60 degrees or -60 degrees. Fixing the little things can help prevent more expensive problems down the road, and it can certainly prevent the need for a tow truck in the snow.

6. Refresh Your Wardrobe — Within Reason

Ah, fall is a favorite fashion season for a lot of reasons. Fashion week just ended in New York, so tons of new styles are hitting stores. Fall is also the layering season, so everyone is thinking of new tops, jackets, closed toed shoes, and accessories. Be smart about your fashion choices. Run through your existing wardrobe and donate or sell at least as much as you plan to buy (or more). Avoid anything overly trendy that you probably won’t wear beyond the season. Or purchase cost-efficient versions. If you know how to knit or are interested in learning, you can make beautiful, handmade scarves for a fraction of the cost—and they’re one of a kind!

7. Revisit Your Budget

How often do you look at your budget? Daily? Weekly? As little as possible? Unfortunately, a budget is kind of like a plant: nourish it and it will thrive and do well; ignore it and it will cause problems. Find an app to help manage your spending (but do your research to make sure it’s credible), or keep a register to write down purchases and deposits. Don’t just ignore it, find a system that works for you. You’ll feel better about your finances when you feel in control of your budget

Start budgeting and planning today!

Here in Minnesota, we know winter is coming. While we take pleasure in fall, those icy months are another story. Start fall on the right foot, budget-wise, to best plan for winter hibernation!

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