As we head into the fall, we seem to be entering another stage of uncertainty. Having peace-of-mind and stability in your personal finances can help reduce stress. To help you stay crisp and cool when it comes to money, here are a few tips on managing it all this fall!
- Get on top of cash flow and manage your budget
One common theme as the country reopens and certain activities resume is the increase in some expenses that dropped during lockdowns. The reduction in expenses has led to many modifications to household budgets that might not be sustainable. Sitting down and thinking about how your fall and winter finances might look will help avoid surprises or shortfalls in cash flow. As social activities and holiday spending increases, anticipating how lifestyle changes will impact spending will help avoid surprises.
- Build that emergency fund back up
It wasn’t uncommon to dip into savings over the last year. For those that have tapped into reserves, it’s important to start a plan to rebuild emergency funds. For households who had to borrow to stay afloat, understanding repayment responsibilities, the time horizon to eliminate that debt and the impact of the interest rates involved is important. In either case, a good goal would be to save three to six months of household income in case of an emergency. This will not happen overnight, and may initially seem like an insurmountable goal, but a savings strategy to put money aside monthly will help you get there!
- Prepare for holiday expenses
The end of summer comes so quickly and, before we know it, we are buying gifts and decorating the house! Planning out holiday expenditures and sticking to a budget will eliminate the new-year new-debt blues. Start as early as possible to prepare for purchases. This will help to avoid last minute spending that comes in over-budget. It’s easy to get swept up with the excitement that the new season brings, but avoiding impulses to spend will help avoid large credit card bills in January.
- Plan for your major purchase and retirement savings
If you found that you stopped putting money away for your long-term goals, you aren’t alone. Many households restricted certain types of spending and put savings on the backburner. Whether it’s was a plan to max out past TFSA contributions, increase voluntary contributions through work, or make a personal RRSP contribution, any of these smart and constructive things that were stopped should be revisited to ensure that big picture financial objectives are not being forgotten.
- Plan something to look forward to
This year has been tough for everyone, and in different ways. While planning for cash-flow, retirement, and major purchases, take the time to plan something to look forward to! This doesn’t need to be an expensive activity or something that requires a large cash outlay – it could be as simple as blocking off time for yourself where you aren’t distracted by your to-do list or any other responsibilities. The boost in mental wellness will pay dividends!
Sara La Gamba, CFP, CLU, CHS, TEP is a Senior Advisor at SPM Financial and SPM Benefits. Her career as an advisor has spanned over 10 years, beginning with Freedom 55 Financial and later at King Financial and Benefits Inc., where she served as President. At SPM Financial, Sara continues to help her clients achieve their financial goals with personalized, professional service.