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October is National Financial Planning Month

by staff

October is National Financial Planning Month, and a great way to celebrate is by reassessing your finances and making small changes that can potentially improve your financial situation.

Many people struggle with financial matters, and if that’s you, know that you’re not alone. The good news is that there are steps you can take to better your finances.

Now is the perfect time to review your finances and take action for better financial success. Check out these six steps designed to help improve your finances:

1. Check your spending and set a budget

Take a look at your credit card and bank statements and tally up your spending. If you find that you’re overspending in some budget categories, try adjusting your spending to free up money for debt payoff or savings goals. It’s also a smart idea to take some time to create a budget. Setting and following a budget can help you avoid overspending each month. Budgeting doesn’t have to be a struggle, and even beginners can successfully set a budget.

2. Reduce bills and expenses where possible

You may be paying for unnecessary bills or expenses. Perhaps you’re paying for a product or service that you’re not using or buying lunch every day instead of brown bagging it.

Improve your bottom line by treating yourself to take out once a week. As you examine your spending habits, look for areas to cut back. Even small changes can add up over time.

3. Stop paying unnecessary fees

Fees add up, and they eat into your hard-earned money. Whether it’s bank service fees, ATM fees, overdraft fees or late fees, now is the time to explore reducing or even eliminating them. Here are some ways to possibly cut down on these pesky fees:

• Switch to a free checking account

• Schedule bill payments in advance at the start of every month

Taking advantage of banking and bill pay options that don’t hit you with frequent charges can allow you to wave goodbye to these silly fees for good. And that could free up a little more of your hard-earned cash.

4. Prioritize debt payoff

If you have a lot of debt, it may feel impossible to get ahead financially. The longer debt accumulates, the bigger it gets, and interest charges can add up fast. If you’re in debt, the team at Atled Financial recommends prioritizing debt payoff. Unsure where to begin? Give us a call.

5. Set up automatic savings

Many households have no emergency fund. Without this type of savings, going through a challenging life situation can be even more stressful. Don’t forget that using a credit card to pay for unexpected expenses can result in even more debt.

Try starting an emergency fund and contribute a bit each month, even if it’s a few dollars to get started. For example, setting aside $25.00 per week will add up over time. That’s $1,300.00 saved after a year. Whether you can afford a little less or a little more, ultimately, it will accumulate.

It’s also a good idea to open a separate savings account to store your emergency savings so you’re less likely to touch it. You’ll also know exactly what those funds are earmarked for.

Setting up automatic savings is also a good practice. When savings are automated, it eliminates forgetting and making excuses. Arrange for funds to come out of your bank account weekly or monthly and go right into your savings account.

6. Review your insurance policies

Whether you have rental, vehicle, or home insurance policies, review them consistently. You may need to make adjustments to your coverage if you experience life changes (marriage, divorce, childbirth) and to make sure you’re not overpaying. Review your deductibles to make sure they are in line with your current situation. A deductible is the amount the policyholder pays before insurance kicks in. Depending on your financial situation, it may make sense to lower or raise your deductible amounts. Having the right coverage can help policyholders avoid financial stress when the time comes to file a claim.

Be sure to compare rates to make sure you’re paying a fair amount for your policies. Not all insurance companies price their policies the same way, and average insurance rates can change over time.

Atled Financial asks that you celebrate National Financial Planning Month by reassessing your finances, and we are here to help!

Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a free consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email [email protected] and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome

Securities and investment advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc. (WFS) member FINRA/SIPC. WFS is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of WFS. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 3801 Ridge Road. Highland, IN 46322

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