Autumn is in full swing, although it doesn’t always feel like it in Louisiana. During the summer, you probably spent money on things like vacations, swimsuits and extra treats for the kids. During back-to-school time, you probably spent a lot on new clothes for the kids, school supplies, and you may be making tuition payments again. Let the changing of the season inspire a little change in your spending habits and transform your money-management practices. Here are some valuable tips to help you shave off of some autumn expenses.
Fine-Tune Utility Costs
Although the cold does not come as early to Louisiana as it does to other parts of the US, autumn is still a great time to scrutinize your utility costs. Consider taking advantage of a billing program that evens out your payments throughout the year, if your utility company offers that service. That way you will avoid winter-time (and summer-time) spikes.
Take Care of Preventive Home Maintenance
Tackle those home repairs you have been ignoring. Roof repairs and gutter cleaning might be an expense, but they’ll prevent water damage that comes with heavy rain or wind. You should also be sure to check your insulation and window seals to ensure efficient use of energy during the upcoming winter.
Negotiate Monthly Expenses
Look at your bills and consider making calls to some of the companies billing you. Ask for ways to reduce costs with them. These companies want to keep you as a customer and may be willing to work with you to keep you as a customer. It never hurts to get quotes from other companies on things like auto and homeowner’s insurance. The fall is open enrollment season for many health insurance plans as well. Look over your policies to make sure you have the best coverage, at the most cost-efficient rate.
Review Your Subscriptions
Make a list of your subscription services and how much they cost. Are you using the subscriptions enough to justify that cost? Are there opportunities to find lower cost alternatives? If you are not using the service or product enough to justify the cost, eliminate the service. Subscription services add up―reviewing annually keeps them in check.
Choose Low-Cost or Free Entertainment
If you’re a football fan, consider hosting a potluck for the game or find places to watch that offer free apps and other specials. Also, don’t spend full price on game tickets, concerts or other events. Instead, check for Groupons and other local ticket deals on sporting and concert venues.
Cut Back on Clothes Shopping
It is fun to shop for clothes, but you probably already have what you need. When you do go shopping, look for pieces that complement your existing wardrobe. Discount clothing retailers and websites can be great places to find expensive items for less.
Save for the Holidays
One of the largest expenses, as autumn turns into winter, is holiday spending. La Cap’s Christmas Club savings account is a great way to save for holiday expenses over time, and in small chunks. Then, on Nov 1st, the amount that you have saved over the year is deposited into your regular savings account. The best time to open a Christmas Club account is in January. If you direct deposit a set amount into your Christmas Club account each month, you’ll be set for a great holiday shopping season. If you didn’t start saving for the holidays early in the year, make the beginning of October your new holiday saving start date. Try to set aside a specific amount each pay period, so that holiday spending won’t be such a shock.
Of course, we recommend that you establish a pattern of saving all year. Get in the habit of paying yourself first, before you budget other items. Before you know it, your savings will add up to a sizeable sum. Think of the freedoms you can enjoy once you have saved enough to make a large purchase, or weather a rainy day!
Hopefully, these tips will make your holiday happy, but saving money and budgeting can be helpful for year-round. La Cap can help you build those habits. Our partnership with KOFE provides a wealth of financial education resources. On KOFE’s website (link here) you can find budgeting tools, calculators, and much, much more. Please take advantage of these valuable resources, as well as La Cap’s online and mobile banking platforms in order to stay on the right track this Fall.