The summer is winding down, the kids are heading back to school, and things are a bit quieter around the house. Now would be a good time to take a look at your budget for the rest of the year. Don’t panic – I’m not asking you to retool your entire category structure at this moment. I just want you to take a look at your budget and note any future events between now and the end of the year that may require a tweak or two. Here are a few things to look over before the kids come home from school.
One of the largest concentrations of holidays crops up between September and December. Halloween, Thanksgiving, the Christmas season, and New Year’s can put an enormous dent in your budget in the form of costumes, candy, decorations, and gifts. To minimize the out-of-pocket costs sit down with your spouse to determine how much you agree to spend on these holidays. When it comes to Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah, get together with the kids and ask them to write down a list of wanted gifts. Use their choices to map out a budget plan.
Regular readers to this blog may have heeded our advice and started planning for expenses in the new school year when the old one ended. Those who didn’t look at that article may want to consider budgeting money for items that didn’t come up during the initial school supply planning. These include class pictures, class trips, after-school activities, sporting events and equipment, and the occasional hot lunch.
Perhaps your one of those families that foregos the summer holiday in lieu of a winter trip to a warm destination. Should this be the case, your vacation budget needs to be well underway right now, if not completely done. Make sure nothing has changed in the cost of flight, accommodations, dining, or entertainment for your destination. This includes changes to extra luggage fees from the airlines or a weather event that may have temporarily closed the place you intended to stay.
With the end of summer comes falling leaves, chilly winds, and accumulating snow. Make sure your budget is ready to handle the weatherproofing of both your vehicle and your residence. Check your vehicle to see if it needs new tires to avoid slipping on ice or snow. In addition, have the mechanic check to see if your heating system needs a tune up.
At your residence you want to make sure the gutters are clear of any leaves or debris so the fall rains and winter snows don’t clog it all up. You also want to check the window or doors for any drafts and seal them with caulk or weather stripping. A chimney sweep should be hired to clean your fireplace and check its lining, thus lowering heating costs while keeping your home warm.