Between the first day of summer and the 4th of July, you were probably too busy to think about the significance of July 2. Even now, as we approach the fall, it may slip your attention that this date marked the first day of the second half of 2017. But what do you care, now that we’ve put this particular date in our rear view mirrors?
By the time Labor Day rolls around, we’ll have started the second half of the year in earnest. Let the holiday represent not just a day to retire all of your white pants. It’s a great date to check in with your finances to see how they have held up against the might of 2017.
The summer can be a true challenge for those with tight budgets. Thanks to the beautiful weather, people are more likely to spend cash during the summer than any other time of the year. Even when compared to the holidays, when the average American spends roughly $900 on Christmas gifts, the typical summer vacation costs more, clocking at $1,798.
Just like you would make finances a New Year’s Resolution following the holidays, take a look at your finances as the summer wraps up. Between patio drinks, weekend trips, and childcare, expenses add up. You may have spent more than you realize — which is why it’s so important to crunch the numbers and see how well your finances have survived the summer. Do this even if you have a budget. A financial plan is a living, breathing document that changes with the seasons.
Tally your expenses and compare them to your income. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a positive differential that you can save or spend as you wish. Don’t be worried if you’re dipping closer to the red than you prefer. Everyone has financial ups and downs throughout their lives. What’s important is how you deal with them.
Prioritize your debts and bills, making sure to give precedence to any consumer debt or regular bill that’s overdue. Compound interest can worsen circumstances, so you’ll want to pay for these faster than other items. List which bills must be paid around Labor Day and which ones can wait until the fall.
For immediate bills, repairs, or other emergency purchases that don’t exceed $1,000, don’t borrow against your home or overuse your credit cards when tackling these expenses. An installment loan from a CAB (an acronym that stands for Credit Access Business) can help cover the cost of small bills and repairs more effectively than other financial products.
When you arrange your installment loan with a CAB specialist like MoneyKey, you can expect flexible repayment terms that give you a better chance at paying off your debt on time. Instead of one single due date on which the entirety of your loan is paid, online installment loans’ repayments are scheduled over several paydays. What that schedule looks like will depend upon your pay schedule and your application so be sure to check out their website to find out more details.
Once you start paying off necessities and consumer debt, you can use your budget to prepare for the future. Make impulse buys and frivolous overspending as gauche as wearing white after Labor Day. Focus on the goals that you care about, like next year’s summer vacation and your retirement’s 401(k), instead of thoughtless purchases like the latest Pat McGrath makeup kit and an out of contract upgrade to the Galaxy S8.
Every little bit counts when you start saving, so don’t be discouraged if you can only afford $50 every week. Whether you can squirrel away more or less is irrelevant. What’s important is that you start somewhere. If you’re worried about willpower when it comes to staying on track, consider automating your savings contributions. When you transfer funds into a savings account on your own, you may be tempted to redirect this cash to a brand new game or a weekend retreat with friends. Out of sight and out of mind, automated savings will do the work without any of the temptation. You’ll forget you even put aside cash for a trip or your retirement.
A considerable savings account or a reliable retirement plan doesn’t just happen. It’s the product of good intentions and hard work. Now that summer and its long list of temptations are gone, use Labor Day as your financial gauge and figure out what you need to do in order to reach your goals.