For many, fall signifies the beginning of the end of the year. It’s a time when many people start to plan for the holidays and the new year. Whether it's about decorations, parties, gifts, travel, entertainment, or anything in between, the magic of fall is contagious. But did you know that fall is also one of the best seasons for financial planning ahead of the new year?
With most people spending lots of money during the festive season, the need for budgeting often falls by the wayside. Then, once the holiday season passes, many are faced with piles of debt and are looking to renew their financial outlook for the new year. However, keeping your finances and budget top of mind throughout the fall and the holiday season is a better plan to ensure you don’t end the year with financial stress.
Here are some financial guidelines to help ensure your fall and holiday seasons are full of joy.
1) Plan Your Holiday Giving
Create a plan for holiday giving. List out all expenses that may come up during the holiday season, including gifts, travel, and entertainment. Then, create a budget of how much you will spend on each area. Planning how much you'd like to spend gives you a much-needed sense of financial discipline as the festive season begins. Not sure where to start? Use this interactive budget coach to get you going.
2) Consider Your Outstanding Debt
If you find yourself heading into the holiday season with a mound of debt, there are options to help you alleviate this financial burden. By utilizing a credit card balance transfer or a debt consolidation loan, you’re able to get a handle on your debt and lower the total amount you are paying.
For example, let’s say you have multiple credit card balances you’re currently paying. Most likely, these credit cards all have different interest rates. By transferring the balances to either a lower-rate credit card or a debt consolidation loan, you’re able to reduce your payments since you will only be paying one loan with one interest rate.
3) Plan for the New Year
Many people wait until after the holidays to start planning their financial goals for the new year. However, it is during the holidays that most people’s finances fall off course. Instead, begin planning your financial goals before the holidays start. Doing so will help keep your finances top of mind as you head into the holidays and hopefully help prevent overspending.
4) Check Your Credit Report
Before closing out the year, it’s a good idea to check your credit report. This step will help catch any discrepancies before the new year begins. You can obtain a free credit report each year from the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
5) Create a Savings Plan
While you may be thinking, “how can I possibly save during the holiday season?” This is one of the best times to begin a savings plan. After all, if you can start a successful savings plan now, you have a better chance of continuing this plan throughout the new year.
With Payroll Deduction, you can easily automate your savings. When you sign up for Payroll Deduction, you’re able to choose a specific amount to save each month. Then, when your paycheck is deposited, that portion will automatically be withdrawn and deposited into the account you choose. You can set up a specialty savings account for holiday spending. Putting your savings on autopilot is a great way to build your balance without being tempted to spend it.
6) Seek Expert Advice
The fall is a great time to review your finances and future plans. With the help of a professional financial advisor, it’s often much easier to create a financial outlook that aligns with your current financial situation.
Financial advisors help you assess your current finances, determine long-term financial goals, and create a plan to help you achieve them. They can also help you set financial goals such as paying off debt, reducing your overall spending, and saving and investing for the future.
We’re Here to Help!
As we enter into the busiest spending season, it’s important to keep your finances top of mind. Whether you’re looking to consolidate debt, increase your savings, or begin planning for your future, we’re here to help.
Please stop by any of our convenient branch locations or call 248-322-9800 extension 5 to start cleaning up your finances today.
© Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Genisys Credit Union and www.genisyscu.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.