If the lazy days of summer took a toll on your finances, you need a plan for turning things around. Here are some ways to get back on track with your budget when you’ve been blown off course:
Here are some ways to get back on track with your budget when you’ve been blown off course:
Say goodbye to overspending
The first step to getting your budget back on track after a binge of summer splurging is to pump the brakes on spending. At least temporarily.Finance expert Holly Weidman of Mrs. Savvy Saver, a personal finance blog focused on budgeting and saving, says the key to kicking your summer overspending habits is finding a way to make cutting back fun. Yep, you heard right… fun.
If eating out has been a sore spot in your summer budget, for example, she suggests challenging yourself and your family to only eat what’s in the house for a week. You’ll rein in your spending by focusing on your own kitchen and clean out the pantry while you’re at it. Bonus: You may find some new creative meals and enjoy cooking at home.
Finding ways to stay entertained at home is another way to curb your spending impulses and get back on track with your budget.
“Plan an in-house game night and forgo going out,” Weidman says, and consider inviting friends over to join in so you don’t feel like you’re missing out.
Get back to basics with budgeting
During the summer months, new spending categories may creep into your budget. You might need new beach gear to hit the sand. Updating your outdoor furniture or grill may be a priority. Or you may be spending on pricey convenience foods if a busy schedule has you running all over the place. That can be problematic if you’re not making time for regular check-ins to see where your money is going.
“Not being able to adjust our budget on-the-go, in real time, is our greatest downfall,” Weidman says. “If your budget is written down at home, in a drawer or in a planner, it’s essentially an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem.”
She says that what often happens is people get caught up in doing fun things over the summer and pay less attention to what they’re spending. That can spell trouble if they’re not keeping an eye on their credit card balances or monitoring what’s going in and out of their bank accounts as closely as they normally would. As summer winds down, they may be surprised at just how much they’ve spent. Weidman recommends using a budgeting or spending app to get back on track with your budget.
“This way, you can carry your budget with you at all times,” she says.
Budgeting apps that sync with your checking account or credit cards can record purchases automatically. You can group your purchases into categories to see at a glance which summer expenditures might be dragging you down. Having that information conveniently at hand can help you get your budget back on track.
Add up the debt damage
Swiping your credit card to cover summer travel or picking up the tab for dinner and drinks with friends at your favorite rooftop hangout can easily add up. Totaling up your balances at the end of summer may be a bit painful, but it’s an important step in getting your budget back on track.
Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website, says t https://www.nan.ng/entertainment/ hat if you’re juggling multiple debts, you need a plan of attack for handling them in order to get your budget back on track.
His recommendation? Use the snowball method to relieve the heat you may be feeling from summer credit card debt.
That means choosing one card to pay extra toward, while paying the minimum balances on everything else. Once you pay off the first debt, you apply that card’s payment to the next card on the list, continuing to snowball payments until you pay off all of your cards.
“The snowball method takes advantage of the psychological power of motivation,” Tran says. “The sense of accomplishment from paying off a credit card will give you an incentive to keep going.”
But which card should you tackle first if you’re getting your budget back on track?
When you have credit card debt on multiple cards, focus on paying off the card with the smallest balance first, Tran says. That way, you may be able to get rid of a debt fairly quickly to maintain your momentum.