Map out Fall Finances

Autumn is fast approaching and like a great road trip, mapping out a plan will help us avoid bumps and detours. The fall months are filled with financial curves and the more expenses we anticipate and plan for, the less damage we will do to our financial “vehicles”, i.e. budgets, savings and credit cards. Consider the following list of possible expenses, and then take some time to think about where your upcoming “curves” and “bumps” may be.

  • Back to school – include monthly costs for lunches, trips, computers, child care, etc.
  • Sign up/Registration fees for sports/activities (consider ongoing monthly costs)
  • Birthdays/Anniversaries falling between Sept 1 – Dec 31st.
  • Seasonal costs that change due to activity or temperatures: heat, hydro, data usages, etc.
  • Winter clothing/footwear
  • Winter snow tires/vehicle maintenance
  • Winter prep for home – shovels, furnace cleaning, sidewalk sand
  • Thanksgiving (travel costs and food)
  • Halloween (candy, costumes, parties)
  • Religious celebrations (Hanukah and Christmas – you may have a long list of various expenses associated with these special times)
  • New Year’s Eve celebrations.
  • And…Note any potential changes to income (more or less overtime, seasonal slowdown)

Wow, that’s a lot of curves, and we haven’t yet considered any unsuspecting pot holes! Unexpected expenses can happen at any time, so build in a plan “B” where you can. Decide ahead what you are willing to give up if the car needs a new muffler. Maybe last year’s winter coat will do?

Finally; like road trips, plans change. Be flexible, and revisit your budget often.  If being reminded of all these Fall expenses is going to keep you awake tonight, call us! When savings are depleted and credit card payments are already causing stress, a CCRC credit counsellor can help you map out a plan to fit your life. We are here to help.

By: Nancy Jackson, AFCC®