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What first comes to mind when you think of October? Pumpkin Spice lattes, colorful Autumn leaves, or glowing Jack-O-Lanterns, perhaps?

The fall doesn’t typically drum up images of a financial nature but October has been dubbed National Financial Planning Month. And, with the holiday shopping season right around the bend, there is no better time than right now to make your personal finances a priority.

To take full advantage of this month’s designation, follow these financial planning suggestions to improve your wealth.

Leaves are Falling, Your Personal Finances are Calling

Set financial goals for yourself or your business. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If you haven’t already done so, create a budget.
  • Save $____ by October 2023. Fill in that blank. Don’t let the math get in the way of your planning. Try this savings goal calculator to make these calculations as easy as pumpkin pie.
  • Up your 401K contribution. Your future self will thank you when retirement is closer at hand.
  • Start putting money aside for an emergency fund with the end goal being a savings of five months of income.
  • Set up automatic savings. You’ll be surprised how quickly this can add up to a nice lump sum.

Educate yourself.

The more you know about personal finances, the better off you will be.

Stop incurring unnecessary late fees/charges.

Pay bills on time and if those Amount Due dates get away from you repeatedly, set reminders on your phone or calendar to stay ahead of them.

Control credit card spending by taking one of these approaches

  • Use freely if you’re certain you will be able to pay them off monthly and avoid interest build-up.
  • Use them only when there is a benefit in doing so like accumulating frequent flyer miles or to build credit; then, be sure to pay them off monthly.
  • If you’ve already experienced credit card debt or the temptation to overspend is too great, stop using them entirely.

Review your spending habits.

Learn the difference between wants and needs. It is so easy to overspend by not having a clear line between the two. Even those pumpkin spice lattes add up. When making purchases ask yourself, do I need this?

If you have a spouse or partner, make sure you plan together.

Financial planning, goal setting, and changes in your budget won’t work if you aren’t on the same page. This is especially important if you have a lot of debt.  One may want to commit to paying off debt and making sacrifices as needed.  If the other partner isn’t in agreement, it will never work. You need to compromise as a couple and come up with a plan you will both follow.

Find a trusted advisor.

There are experts out there navigating financial waters every day that could apply their knowledge to your financial well-being. Find the right fit for you or your business. Cash flow improvement, forecasting, budget development, and financial analysis are just a handful of services that Ciaccia CPA offers.

While we’re thankful to have a month dedicated to planning personal finances, it’s a practice that should be done regularly. If you have yet to put this recurring ‘meeting-with-your-money’ date on your calendar, make that your first personal finances planning task this October.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn