15 Must Do Fall Finance Tips
Three months ago you worked on your Mid Year Checkup. How time flies! Another quarter later, and it’s time to prepare your finances for fall. Here’s 15 more tips to get your finances in shape:
1. File your taxes. What? Didn’t we do that back in April? Not so if you got an extension. Your return is due on Wednesday, October 15. If you are self employed there’s still time to save on taxes.
2. Prepare your home for winter. 29 tips to get you started and a few to lower your heating bill, too.
3. Use remaining flexible spending account money. Spend it now instead of waiting until the end of the year. It’s one less thing you’ll need to do around the holidays.
4. Increase retirement contributions. We’re all seeing our 401ks take a dip. Why not add some more money while the market is on sale? Increase your savings rate by 1% and it will help offset some of the losses.
5. Dump loser stocks. Make your losses count. As long as the market is down, you might as well lock in some losses for your tax return. You might want to double-check your asset allocation too, after the recent turn in the market.
6. Make your gift giving list. Get a jump start on your holiday shopping. Watch for items on sale, keep an eye on Slickdeals, FatWallet, and Amazon and scoop up the items on your list early. Need ideas? Here are 28 gift ideas that save money for the recipient.
7. Make a budget for the holidays. Enjoy a simple Christmas with a well-planned budget. You’ll save yourself money and stress.
8. Winterize your motors. Take care of any motors that won’t be used… boats, cycles, etc. Look into insurance savings options if the vehicle will not be driven and placed in storage for the winter.
9. Enjoy frugal activities for fall. Leaf peeping, apple orchards, and pumpkin farms are fun, frugal, fall activities for the family.
10. Stock up on fruit sales. Hit the end of summer sales and stock up on anything that will be more expensive over the winter and freeze it. Need to know what to buy? Check out a helpful list of fresh fruits and vegetables by the month.
11. Purge your summer clothes. Donate, eBay, or drop clothes at a consignment shop if you won’t wear them again.
12. Hit the lawn sales. Not actual yard sales, but end of season sales on stuff for your yard: lawn equipment, patio furniture, pool toys, and other summer merchandise on deep discount.
13. Plan for your summer vacation. For next year. Start saving in a sub-account at ING and set up an alert in Travelocity to watch airfare prices.
14. Enroll in flexible spending and dependent care accounts. Any day now, you’ll probably get enrollment materials for 2009 from your employer. Figure out how much you’ll need in your accounts and turn in your deferral forms. In addition, watch for health and dental open enrollments.
15. Plan ahead for the new year. Will you be one of millions to sign up for a gym membership or weight-loss plan in January? See if you can get a cheaper price to sign up now. In addition, the exercise will help you with holiday stress.
A local orchard is open for apple picking. I think we’ll go sometime next weekend and see if we can pick enough to make our own apple butter, apple jelly, and a few other great healthy things to make it through the winter. I would recommend the same instead of going to the store if there are similar opportunities in your area.
Great post! I have been trying various ways to make money without going back to the 9 to 5 and I have done pretty well with consignment shops. The only problem your readers, at least those in the Midwest, might run into is most consignment shops are only currently accepting fall and winter clothes. Keep up the good work!
@ Buck: Those pesky consignment shops! Guess we’ll just take our donations to Goodwill. The important thing is to get them out of the house!
Love the list! Especially the gift giving list and the Christmas budget. Another thing to do in the Fall to save money is to buy summer clothes for next year on clearance!
Solid tips especially the part about winterizing your place, I think energy costs are going to bounce back upward and now’s the perfect time to start preparing for it.
Gotta check DealRocker too. It has over two million product offers from about 2,000 merchants. DealRocker.com offers the best combination of deals and coupons at one place. The deals and free coupons are updated regularly and span a wide range of product categories to address a variety of shopping needs.
It Rocks !!!!
Great List. While pre-planning the holidays may be a good way to start a budget, I suggest a broader approach. Review your budget to determine whether you’re still on track or if you need to make adjustments.
Make a holiday budget & purge summer stuff – I love it! now, if only people followed through 😉
Oh, and i second your “reviewing of” the budget there Bill R!
With regards to #6 I found this article (http://tinyurl.com/6yd799) quite good. It lists 36 popular deal sites, some are better than others but it’s definitely worth while to check it out. 🙂
This is a great article…simple and commonsensical tips that many people take for granted….thanks a lot..and also maybe u can add: pay your credit card balance on time? many get excited about the upcoming holiday that they may disregard or forget to pay on time..so i guess this should be helpful to prevent a bad credit score. what do you think?
Great suggestions! I also suggest, while you’re making your gift list for the holidays, you include gifts you’ll need in the coming year. That way if you find something on clearance or discounted for Black Friday that may be perfect for your kids’ March birthday or your sister’s wedding next summer, you can buy it early and save money on it. I just did that with a fun, clearance ThinkGeek guitar t-shirt, normally $29, on sale for $4. I bought one for my son’s birthday and 3 more for his friends’ birthday parties in the coming year.