While fall brings to mind things like cozy sweaters, colorful foliage and pumpkin patches, it's also a great time to revisit your financial goals and ensure you're on track before the year's end.
Here are some ways to help you “fall" into good money habits this autumn:
Review your budget:
The lull between the busy summer season and the holidays is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and review your monthly budget and spending habits. For example, during the summer, you might have spent a little extra on things like travel, weddings, eating out and new clothes.
As you revisit your budget for the fall, using an online budgeting tool like Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) Money Management can help make life a little easier. Money Management syncs with all your financial accounts, whether at WPCU or another financial institution, allowing you to create interactive budgets and stay on track with your spending. Find it under the “Money Management" tab in WPCU's Mobile or Online Banking.
Set up automatic savings:
Perhaps the best money habit you can practice this fall is to make saving automatic. One way to do this is to set up an automatic, recurring transfer from your checking to your savings account each month or after each payday. You can easily schedule these transfers through WPCU's Mobile or Online Banking.
Check your credit report:
It's smart to check your credit report for any mistakes and inaccuracies at least once a year. You can get free copies of your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) once every 12 months by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. If you notice any incorrect information or discrepancies, contact the credit bureaus immediately and file a dispute.
Reevaluate service providers:
When was the last time you compared insurance plans? What about your internet and cable packages or cellphone contract? Many times, we sign up with a single provider and stay with them for a long time, even if the service no longer fits our budget or needs. Take some time this fall to comparison shop and see if you can find better deals on the services you use each month. If you find a better plan from a competitor, call your current provider and negotiate. Some service providers will price-match to avoid losing a loyal customer.
Prepare for the holidays:
Creating your holiday budget now will help you determine how much you need to save for things like gifts, travel, food and entertainment. Getting a head start on the holidays will also allow you to space out your spending. When you spread out purchases over several months, you can avoid creating credit card debt and enjoy a more stress-free holiday season.
Watch out for scams:
Unfortunately, the upcoming holiday season is also a prime time for scams. Be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls or text messages that appear to be coming from legitimate sources and request your personal or financial information. Remember, WPCU will never contact you through email, phone or text asking you to provide personal account information or update/validate your credentials. Pay close attention to your credit card and account statements to detect fraud during the busy holiday shopping season. If you notice any unauthorized charges, even small ones, contact your financial institution right away.
This fall, Save Better, Borrow Smarter and Learn a Lot!
WPCU is here to make life a little easier for you this fall! Whether you're readjusting your budget after summer spending or gearing up for holidays, count on us to provide the tools, support and resources you need to Save Better, Borrow Smarter and Learn a Lot!
Want more money-saving tips? Check out WPCU's online Education Center to learn the basics of smart money management. We also offer a number of educational workshops, seminars, webinars and events throughout the year. View our full event calendar to see what's coming up next.