I love summer so much that the arrival of fall usually takes me by surprise — I find myself wearing sandals in late September and wondering why I’m so chilly. Love it or hate it, fall represents a return to reality — back to school, back to busy days at work.
Fall is also a great time to give yourself a quick financial checkup — after a summer of letting things slide and kicking back, it’s the perfect time to revisit your finances and tie up any loose ends.
What does a fall financial checkup involve? Here are five things you should look at:
1. Clean out your wallet: Those annoying receipts and pieces of paper have been fattening up your wallet since summer started. Time to clear them out — toss what you don’t need and put the rest aside for filing.
2. File your receipts and papers: It’s halfway to tax time, so it’s a good idea to file those receipts away so they don’t get lost when April rolls around.
3. Review the fees you’re paying: Are you paying a monthly fee for a credit card? Or big fees when you use your chequing or savings account? Take the time to shop around and see if you can find cheaper financial services elsewhere. When it comes to banking, loyalty doesn’t necessarily pay.
4. Check your credit score: Fall is a good time to do this especially when vacations and just plain laziness can mean late or missed payments on bills (this can take your score down a peg or two).
5. Top up your emergency fund: If you’ve been neglecting your emergency fund over the summer, now’s the time to focus on it. Remember, this is your cushion for unplanned expenses or tough financial times — and with the holidays just around the corner (!) you want to focus on saving before the spending season begins.