The seasons may change but one thing always stays the same: the opportunity to begin saving money! Now that fall is here, you can use the cooler weather to refresh your sense of physical, emotional and financial well-being by doing these things this month:
1. Re-evaluate your budget
Before you start plotting the holidays, make sure you’re on top of your everyday budget. Track exactly how much you’re earning and spending with the new Online Banking personal finance manager “Trends”, where you can customize the different categories of your budget and figure out, for example, exactly how much you can afford to spend on gifts. If your life has changed in any way (you’ve gotten a raise, are planning to get married or had a child, anything that can change your relationship with money), adjust your budget to reflect that.
2. Protect yourself online
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Use this time as a reminder to update your online passwords. At a minimum, you should be changing your passwords every year to prevent identity theft. And make sure you have different passwords for each site. The Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily life, and identity thieves know this. Check out these resources to protect you and your family.
3. Enjoy the cheap fall foods
Nothing says comfort foods like pumpkin spice, but don’t forget the ingredients of the season like apples, squash, and root veggies which are plentiful in autumn. Visit the local orchards, farmer’s markets and fall festivals for the freshest supplies and check out our pinterest board for great recipes.
4. Best time to buy a car
If you’ve been eyeing this year’s models or were thinking about refinancing your current vehicle to lower your payment, this is the perfect month to get the best deals and save money. Dealerships start receiving next year’s product around this time and are looking to unload to make room. Financial institutions know this pattern and start advertising lower rates! Make sure you check out the highlights from our Car Buying Negotiations seminar, get pre-approved to lock in an awesome rate, and drive home with your new wheels!
5. Start planning next summer
Wait what? You heard us! If you started saving $10-25 a week right now, you’d have $390-$975 by the time summer rolled around. Open a Vacation Savings Account and set up automatic transfers so you don’t even miss the cash. Then earn interest while you plan for warmer weather to come back!
6. Apply for Financial Aid early!
You no longer have to wait until the new year to file for FAFSA! Starting October 1, you can file your application with the previous year’s tax return. This is an unprecedented change to how we have applied to college in the past. Read about the changes here and reach out to your credit union if you have questions.