Six fall savings tips

These six tips can help you kick unhealthy spending habits to the curb.

As leaves are changing color and your yard, roof, car and driveway begin to be the recipients of the colorful foliage you may be looking to jump start or reset your financial goals in order to finish the year strong. Like purging your pantry shelves of junk food and restocking with healthy choices before the Holiday cheer is upon us, you may want to get rid of unhealthy spending habits and replace them with money saving strategies.

Whether it is to save for a special purchase, a special trip or just to set aside some extra cash for unexpected mishaps, these 6 tips may help fill the savings jar and help you get a jump on spreading holiday cheer.

  1. Turn off the A/C. Take advantage of cooler temperatures or open the windows and let the air flow through your home. Even if the temperature stays warm, embrace it before it is replaced with the snow and cold. If you are like the many households in the north with a window unit or two, you can get used to the steady hum of the A/C and forget that the meter is spinning. At minimum, turn the setting to “fan” only.
  2. If you live in a neighborhood and have children old enough to use a rake, consider yard work. Fall is a time where people want to clean up their yards and keep the leaves in check. With busy schedules, many are willing to pay a few dollars for their leaves to be raked. Your kids will be able to earn a little extra money and may even learn that it doesn’t grow on trees but can be earned by what falls from them. If you have elderly, veterans, or others that could use encouragement, challenge your children to rake one yard free of charge for every paying job. They can even build this into a marketing plan as they promote their service.
  3. Consider a part-time job. You may have a debt that you are trying to pay down, gifts that you would like to save for or you may just want to have a certain amount set aside for emergencies. Set a goal to save a specific amount and look for a part-time job just for the next few months. With the holiday season just around the corner, many retailers will hire extra help. If you have a specific purpose and you set parameters, you may be able to handle the extra work knowing that it is only until you accomplish your goals. See Michigan State University Extension’s (MSUE) financial and homeownership web pages to learn more about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  4. Use the changing seasons as reminders of your seasons of life. Use a Ball Park Estimate Worksheet to get an idea how much you will need to retire. Do some research, read articles such as “How Much Money Does It Take to Retire.” Review your retirement plans and make changes now to be better prepared for your future.
  5. Stick to your budget and avoid unnecessary purchases. Make this a habit now before you are faced with all the holiday deals that beckon to you. Take an overspending quiz to recognize your overspending habits or find an accountability partner to help you stay on track.
  6. Join a savings challenge. You can join one of the many multi-day, month or year challenges that populate social media. Check out Americasaves.org for some ideas. While you are at it, see your doctor and join a fitness challenge. You may save on future medical expenses.

Making financial changes can be difficult. Sometimes it helps to have help from a professional

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