Spring is finally here! We made it through Winter and it's finally time to enjoy some warmer weather. For many of us that also includes some deep cleaning. We begin to clean out our closets, ridding ourselves of those things that we no longer want, need or fit. Just as each year is divided by changes in season , we experience similar changes that can be characterized as seasons. In order to prepare ourselves for the new season, it is important to rid ourselves of the things that weigh us down and prevent us from reaching success.
Approaching our budget, savings and spending the same way we approach our Spring cleaning can help us assess where we need to make changes in order to accomplish any financial goals that we have set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. (If you haven't set any goals yet, it's not too late. Do it now!) Review your spending to see if it matches expectations that you have for your savings goals. If it doesn't, don't beat yourself up, but make some immediate changes.
Keep in mind that one of the primarily principles of financial success is planning. We are currently in the season of "tidying", so there's no better time to see what habits can be "thrown away", what can be kept, what needs to be down-sized in preparation for the next season. Summer! That's right, it's not too early to start thinking about what you need to do to prepare yourself for Summer. Think about it, Summer can really do some damage to our pockets if we don't plan properly. Here's a list of things that I think we should all be preparing for right now:
1) Summer Vacation - Yes! I don't know anyone who isn't looking forward to some time away from work. Visiting family, hanging out with friends, road trips and stay-cations. The reality is though, if we don't plan ahead we can get in trouble financially. Start planning your trips now if you haven't. Trim some of your current spending and expenses to save for your Summer fun.
2) Summer Food - Mmmmmm--Who doesn't like a cookout? Think about it though, barbecuing with friends and family can cause major damage to the budget. So start trimming your food expenses now to save for those great family gatherings. Add an entry in your budget now, titled "Gook-out Savings) and start throwing a few dollars into it now. Also, keep in mind the kids will be home from school and we know how much they can eat, so develop a plan to be able to account for that future increase in the food budget once school is out.
3) Summer Clothes and Shoes - I know I'm not the only one who likes to add a few new items to my wardrobe during the Summer. Take some time to plan ahead and give yourself an allotment for those items for yourself and your family. Planning ahead helps prevent those random trips to the mall which can be budget busters.
4) Summer Camp and Activities - If you have kids you know that keeping them occupied during the Summer can not only be exhausting but expensive. Start researching camps now to see which work best for your budget. Start trimming your current entertainment expenses to make room for those Summer activities like swimming, Sandcastles, Kennywood, etc.
If you struggle finding places to trim your budget always start with your current food expenses. There is always room to cut back on ordering in, eating out, buying lunches, etc. You'll be surprised how much we spend on food. (or maybe not, lol)
If you need help working on a solid budget or savings plan, contact me, I would be happy to meet with you one-on-one to get you started. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My hope is that you will continue to join us in our discussions and that something you read may help you as you prepare for a new, prosperous season.