Fall is soon approaching and many of us are excited about the change of season. It is refreshing because people can comfortably enjoy outdoors and of course, football season. It’s also an important time of the year to take a close look at your finances. Planning is important when it comes to money management and it couldn’t be a better time to prepare for upcoming expenses and insure you make some smart financial moves before the end of the year to fund those expenses.
Watch Out for These Two Upcoming Expenses
Let’s first consider common expenses that may be soon approaching for you or your family.
Holiday Season Travel – Many people will be traveling for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whether you plan to travel be by air or car, you’re certainly going to encounter travel expenses that may not be a part of your regular monthly budget. If you’re not planning ahead you may feel the need to put these expenses on a credit card. Instead of racking up credit card debt, start setting aside money for these expenses now. Estimate your costs and insure you can pay cash when Thanksgiving rolls around.
Christmas Shopping – Travel isn’t the only expense you’re likely to encounter in a few months. Yes, believe it or not, Christmas season will be here soon too. Christmas shopping is three months away (unless you start early), but have you reviewed your Christmas savings plan lately or considered how much you’re going to need? Are you on track, lagging behind your savings goal, or yet to start? Step up this savings goal to avoid end of year credit card debt.
Ending the year in travel and Christmas debt can lead to an unpleasant start to the New Year. One of your goals in the New Year shouldn’t be paying off last year’s credit card bill.
Two Ideas to Help Fund Expenses
After establishing a savings plan for these upcoming expenses, it’s also good time of year to consider some smart money moves to increase the amount you can save each month and fund upcoming expenses.
Consider a Home Refinance – Interest rates are at an all time low. You can get an especially low rate if you refinance to a 15 year loan and will also save thousands in interest payments. At the time of writing this article you can find a 3.4% interest rate on a 15 year fixed rate mortgage. If you’re planning to be in your home for a few more years, or long enough to pay for the closing fees on a refinance, you might consider shopping around for a new loan. Saving a few hundred dollars a month will help you jump-start the above savings goals.
Review Your Tax Withholding – Planning for expenses and savings is certainly important, but you might consider your tax situation as you approach the final third of the year. Visit IRS.gov and check out the tax withholding calculator to see if you’re going to owe money or if it looks like you’ll get a refund. In either case, consider speaking to a tax advisor to determine if you should adjust your withholdings. Increasing your tax withholding allowances (if you stand to get a refund) might help put more money in your pocket for the holidays.
Personal money management isn’t rocket science. Planning ahead is the key! Use the Crown spending plan calculator help estimate your monthly spending plan and make sure certain spending categories, such as entertainment, have reasonable spending limits. Beyond a monthly spending plan, note upcoming irregular occurring expenses, even if they’re a few months away. Ask yourself if you can fund those expenses based on that month’s income and the typical expenses you already incur for the month. If you can’t make up the difference you’ll need to start saving now to avoid credit card debt.