Once September show’s its face its only a matter of time before the holiday season starts. As joyous as it might be to spend time with your friends and family members, it can also get pretty costly (especially if you’re the host). If you want to get ahead of the holiday frustration it is a good idea to start evaluating your spending and getting your house and other expenses in order. Below are five ideas to get you started.
1. Reevaluate Your Budget
The first thing you want to do is take an assessment of your budget. Have you been staying on track? Are there areas you could be doing better in? Not sure where to start evaluating? Here are some of the most common areas where people are overspending or paying way too much.
· Utilities – one of the most costly expenses in the home are the utilities. During the fall and winter months you can expect that your energy costs are going to rise as you’ll be utilizing your heat and lights. One way to cut energy costs would be to shop around for a new service provider. Now that deregulation on the energy market is in full effect for US and Canadian residents, you have the power to choose who you’d like to receive services from. Reputable sites such as http://albertaenergyproviders.com can give you an idea of which gas and electric providers are in your area and what their rates are.
· Eating Out – It can be nice to treat yourself from time to time but when you’re eating lunch and/or dinner out more than once per week you’re really overdoing it. Families can spend thousands of dollars each year without even realizing it. If your eating expenses seem to have risen over the summer, you should probably cut back some by creating your own meals.
· Entertainment – Hanging out with your family is a must, but it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to spend quality time with the ones you love. Cut back on the expensive family time and look for other ways to spend time and save money either at home or by attending free things in your area.
2. Consider Switching Health Insurance Providers
The fall generally marks open enrollment time for those who receive health insurance through their employers. While you may very well be satisfied with the insurance plan that you have, you might not realize exactly how much you’re spending on it each year. Talk with other health insurance providers available through your employer to see who has the best rates. You might find that your doctor also accepts the new insurance you’re considering.
3. Get Your Car Serviced
If you haven’t done so, now is a good time to have your car serviced. By having a certified mechanic check out and complete any maintenance to your vehicle, you prevent the high costs of having to pay for repairs. Routine services like changing fluids and filters, having the tires rotated, and even getting a tune-up are generally affordable and can be completed the same day so you won’t have to pay for a rental car.
4. Have Your Roof Looked at
With the unpredictability of the fall weather you want to make sure that the integrity of your home is intact. Your roof is one of the most overlooked areas of the home when it comes to service and maintenance. Have a roofer come to your home to inspect the roof for any damage and to complete any necessary maintenance such as fixing tiles or cleaning out the gutters. This will save you from costly roof and foundation repairs.
5. Build a Stockpile
When it comes to household expenses the grocery bill can get out of hand pretty quickly. There is also the fact that the fall and winter months bring about a lot of storms which cause prices to go through the roof. Rather than have to pay more than necessary for your groceries each month, start building a stockpile so that you have the things you use most often available to you. Clipping coupons and watching out for sales can help you build your stockpile a lot faster.
Don’t let the expense of the fall and winter creep up on you without being financially prepared. Of course we can’t be prepared for everything that might be thrown our way, but by taking care of the things that we can, we save ourselves a lot of time and money. Hopefully this list will prove beneficial in your household as you prepare for the holiday season ahead.