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Forget January. September is a great time of the year to make new resolutions. It feels as clean as the New Year, but without the gloomy and sober atmosphere of midwinter. It is full of promise and clarity and action. It’s time to wrap up what’s important. In France it’s normal to spend the whole of August on vacationthe beginning of September is known as La Rentre: A re-starting point to reflect and organize yourself for the next year.
Of course, September and January have one negative factor. It’s a dull hangover from spending the previous month as if you had an immortal liver and a bank account. The end of summer is a time of freedom and freedom from rules, pressures and emails. There are trips, shopping sales, lobster rolls to eat and martinis to drink. I hope you enjoy doing it all. But nothing hinders relaxation more than knowing that you will have to pay the price later.
Luckily, September is the perfect time for a fresh start. I spoke to several financial experts about what they do each fall and how they pull themselves out of the post-holiday money doldrums.
1. Inventory the next three months, including who you want to spend time with.
“I always try to loosen up my funds more during the summer,” he says. Jasmine Ramirez, New Jersey-based financial therapist. “September comes and I ask myself, ‘Okay, how am I going to get my life back on track after spending all this extra money, so I can finish the year well and meet my bill?’ Masu.”
This includes planning your vacation now. “It may sound silly, but thinking ahead can help you avoid repeating the same cycle of guilt and debt in December,” she says. “That way, you don’t have to start January exhausted and dig yourself up again, and you’ll be in a better position for the rest of the year.”
To do so, Ramirez doesn’t just look at the calendar for the next few months. She also considers her individual people in her own life. “Write down all the loved ones you want to visit, celebrate with, or get presents from during the holidays, and determine a spending range for each,” she says. “That way, you know how much money you need to set aside and you don’t feel overwhelmed.”
This list exercise doesn’t just help you plan ahead. It can also be turned to when you need a reminder of a relationship that you value and want to focus on. When you have a clear picture of your most important expenses, it’s much easier to cut out small, unnecessary expenses.
2. Wait to buy a new one.
Since it’s September, there are lots of cute autumn items! But it’s still 94 degrees today and I’m wearing running pants. This is the weirdest season to dress. The stores recommend soft sweaters and tight-fitting coats, but the truth is, you won’t need them for a while. “I don’t usually buy anything for myself or my children in September,” says the show’s host Farnoush Trabi. so money Podcast and Upcoming Book Author healthy panic. “I could keep wearing my summer clothes until October, and by then I knew all the fall styles were on sale.” given enough time to do so.
3. Imagine you had an extra $5,000. what do you do with it?
Instead of setting goals that need to be cut, think about how much you want to spend more It takes money. “This is a good thought experiment to try with a friend or loved one,” he says. Megan McCoy, Professor of Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University. “Think of yourself as a small windfall. and what kind of rewards will you give?”
And after talking about it, think about how your life will be different after that money is gone. “You may feel less stressed and tired. Maybe you’ll have more memories with your loved ones. Or maybe the situation will be much the same,” says McCoy. This exercise will help you more clearly identify your priorities. If the money really makes you less stressed, it might motivate you to make a plan to save. Alternatively, if you find yourself spending money on things like travel, you can brainstorm more affordable ways to see new places and people. “Even though he knows that the extra $5,000 won’t change his real life much, it makes him appreciate where he is,” says McCoy.
4. Break your goal into bite-size pieces.
All of us can become obsessed with goal setting and envision ourselves debt-free, sleek, and thrifty. But before that, remember the difference between goals and aspirations, says McCoy. The latter are big and lofty and often require sheer motivation and self-control, which few can sustain. To actually reach your goal, you need to break it down into small, easy steps.
“These steps are things you can do right now,” adds McCoy. It should also be reproducible. “Examples could be opening a savings account and automating recurring transfers, downloading spending trackers, checking accounts daily, and promising not to eat out on Tuesdays.” she says “Fall is a great time to think about both your bigger aspirations and the smaller actions you can take to get there.”
5. Form a team.
Most people have the best intentions when it comes to their finances, but feel overwhelmed when it comes to executing their plans. “Most people will go cook dinner if they’re going to make an important financial decision or prepare dinner,” he says. Elana Finesmith, California-based Certified Financial Planner and Financial Therapist. “The reality is that most people get very excited when it comes to money.”
To get through this, pick a few people you can talk to. This doesn’t mean you have to hire an accountant or financial advisor (although you can hire one if you deem it necessary). Rather, start by arguing with a few trusted friends, loved ones, or family members who know at least a little more about money than you do and can act as accountable partners and financial mentors. You can call these people when you want them to explain your medical bills, taxes, 401(K) plans, or just spout about how much an airline ticket costs right now.
6. If you feel overwhelmed by financial decisions or conversations, walk away for 20 minutes.
In my personal experience, financial decisions can also be confusing. Most banking and investment websites are difficult to navigate and full of jargon. Dealing with paperwork and accounting records makes my eyeballs dry and drop. It’s hard to keep up when you have so many other things to do.
It may sound counterintuitive, but the trick to getting past the tedious and uncomfortable parts of financial planning is knowing when to leave and when to come back. “It takes him at least 20 minutes for that stress reaction to stop, whether it’s caused by someone else or by his own frustration,” Finesmith says. “Instead of giving up completely, put an unpleasant task or conversation on hold for an hour and then come back. Go for tea, clip your toenails, watch a YouTube video, whatever. And , when time has passed and you have calmed down, you will be ready to re-address the problem.”
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