It’s hard to believe summer is nearing an end and it’s time to get ready for the next season. September welcomes autumn with cooler weather and new routines. It is a busy time of year. That’s where planning ahead can make a big difference on your budget.
What’s for Dinner?
This is a busy time of year for families. School is back in session along with extra circular activities which can make eating out an appealing option. This can easily blow your budget but with careful planning you can avoid the take out trap. Plan a week’s worth of easy meals that you can make ahead or utilize the crock pot. This will also offer your family a more nutritious dinner.
Another price we pay for convenience is prepackaged snacks. While they are easy to grab and go, they also make your budget quickly go. By purchasing snacks in bulk and dividing them into portion size packaging yourself, you can quickly see the savings. You can even turn this into a fun job for the kiddos, after they wash their hands of course! Instead of using disposable baggies, try using reusable containers. This is another way to save but also keeps snacks from crumbling under pressure.
This is a sensitive topic for a lot of people, myself included…coffee! We all know it’s much cheaper to brew our own at home and not the expensive K-cup version, but the good, old-fashioned coffee pot. If you don’t have one, make the investment to get one with a timer. Then at the end of the month, treat yourself to a free coffee on September 29th when most chains will be giving away a free cup for National Coffee Day!
With fall being so busy, it’s a good time to reevaluate your television usage. Maybe you can downgrade your cable or satellite plan or even switch to a streaming service. There are so many affordable alternatives and most do not require a contract. If you’re an avid sports fan and can’t part with your sports package, set a reminder on your calendar to cancel the service after your favorite season is over.
Can You Hear Me Now?
While you are reviewing your child’s homework, it’s also a good time to review your cell phone plan. Compare your data usage from the past several months; you may be able to downgrade and save some cash. If you are nearing the end of your contract and thinking of upgrading to a new phone, consider purchasing one outright. This can save you around $20 to $30 on your monthly bill. If you do need to replace your phone, try a used or refurbished phone which usually costs less than half the price of a new phone and often comes with a 30 day warranty.
Now you have some homework that will cost you some time but hopefully save you some serious cash. It’s all about planning ahead and reviewing the past to have a healthier financial future.