For our family, this month has been a big one. We picked September 1st as our start date of stepping up on being healthy, tightening up our budget, and enjoying our newly expanded little family as we venture out of our newborn-induced hibernation.
Even though we’re almost three-quarters of the way through the year, now is a great time to re-calibrate a lot of things, especially the budget. With Finn’s arrival, we’ve definitely veered off of our normal budget with extra take-out, last minute baby buys, and possibly a few extra toys to spoil the new big brother with!
I’ve compiled five great benchmarks you can use to check in on your financial life:
However you track your monthly spending, now is a good time to go back over the last few months and see how you’ve been stacking up. If you are consistently dipping into your savings account, then it may be time to reassess your spending plan. If you need to trim back, check here for some ideas on how to cut back on monthly expenses.
Whatever your savings goals are, anywhere from a few months to a few years, you need to check in on your progress. If, like us, you’ve been cutting into your savings for some surprise expenses, it’s a good time to make up some ground before the holidays. And if you didn’t make any savings goals for this year? Good news, 2015 is just around the corner and it’s a great time to start any savings plan or our 52 Week Challenge.
Net worth is a great way to see how you are doing financially from year to year. Personally, I think it’s sufficient to do this every 6 months to a year. Some people prefer to do it more often, which is not bad, but you are more likely to see significant growth if you wait a bit longer before calculating.
We all know the holidays can be a budget buster! Because of this, our family has a yearly holiday budget that we start saving for in January. If you haven’t started saving money for your holiday plans, we have an easy-to-use holiday budget spreadsheet you can download.
Investment accounts, which can include anything from a 401k to a 529 Plan, need to be assessed every few months, if not more often. It’s very easy to assume your investments are on autopilot, especially if they require a separate log in than your normal online banking. Pulling up this information gives you a chance to look over how your investments are doing and see if any re-balancing is needed.
If you find that any part of your financial plan hasn’t been working, now is a great time to get back on schedule. Don’t stress over the parts that didn’t work, just move forward and make a plan for the rest of the year. It is better to do it now than wait!