Fall is a great time to review your finances in preparation for the holiday season and the New Year. If you’ve slipped up over the summer by going over budget or not saving as much as you wanted, now is the time to correct those mistakes. It’s important to check up on your finances every now and then. You want to make sure you aren’t getting yourself too deep in consumer debt by overspending. Here are some of our tips for fixing your finances this fall!
Tips on Fixing Your Finances
When it comes to your financial health, budgeting is key. Additionally, keeping debt in check and working towards your savings goals are also important. These are areas of your finances that you should look at when fixing your finances this fall.
Make or re-evaluate your budget.
If you don’t have a budget, then it’s time for you to create one! A budget can help you ensure you aren’t living beyond your means. This is particularly useful if consumers find themselves running out of money before the end of the month and relying on credit cards until the next payday.
If you already have a budget, then take some time to assess if it still works for you. Budgets aren’t set in stone. In fact, they should be changed as your life changes, such as a new job, new baby, or any other change in income or expenses.
Check your credit report.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) once a year. You can get this through AnnualCreditReport.com. When you check your credit report, look for any errors or suspicious activity. You can dispute errors on your credit report with the credit bureau, and they are obligated to investigate and respond within 30 days. It is especially important to check your credit report if you plan on applying for any new loans or credit accounts in the near future. Lenders will look at your credit report and score to decide if they should approve you for it.
Take a look at your debt.
Debt can cause a lot of financial anxiety. Figuring out debt solutions is key to fixing your finances. Consumers should examine their debt and address any issues as soon as possible so they don’t dig themselves into a deeper hole. If you feel like you have so much debt that you can’t deal with it on your own, help is available. A nonprofit credit counseling agency like ACCC can help. In a credit counseling session, the credit counselor will talk to you about your financial situation and determine the best course of action. This may involve enrolling in a debt management program.
Review yearly goals.
Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t on track to reach your financial goals this year. COVID-19 has left millions of Americans struggling financially. Review your goals and come up with a plan to reach them next year if you can’t reach them this year.
Check your retirement savings.
Again, COVID-19 has likely affected many consumers’ retirement accounts, but it’s a good idea to check up on them now, especially if you’ve been avoiding it. See how much you have saved and if you can afford to contribute more to your 401(k). If you don’t have any retirement savings, it’s time to start saving! Check to see if you can enroll in your employer-sponsored 401(k), or open up an IRA on your own.
Look at your spending over the last couple of months. Are there any areas where you’ve been overspending? Figure out ways to cut back. If you’ve been overspending on groceries, start using coupons or sign up for your grocery store’s rewards program.
Final Thoughts on Fixing Your Finances
While this year definitely didn’t go as planned for most people, re-evaluating your finances now can help you get back on track for next year. It may require some sacrifices, like cutting spending on categories of your budget like clothes or entertainment, but you can still reach your goals!
If you are struggling to pay off your debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.