GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The summer months are filled with fun getaways, backyard barbecues, outdoor concerts, lazy days at the beach and more. Unfortunately, summer spending often leaves our wallets empty come fall. Greatwater Financial planner Justin Halverson shares four ways to take control of our spending and get back on the track the rest of the year.

Q: HOW CAN WE RECOVER FROM A SUMMER OF OVERSPENDING? 

1. Create a Spending Plan

  • This is a perfect time to stop and see if you are still working within your household budget or overall spending plan.
  • Checking your plan after your summer spending spree will help you see where you spent too much money and where you could potentially cut back.
  • Use a budgeting app or do it the old fashioned way and put pen to paper. I have a budget worksheet on my website, greatwatersfinancial.com to help you get started.
  • You can also try a money exercise like going one week without spending a single cent. Stock your fridge and your gas tank - and then literally spend nothing for 7 days.
  • This will help you identify the difference between buying what you need versus what you want.

2. Prioritize Your Debt

  • The average American planned to spend upwards of $2,000 on summer travel this year. If they used a credit card for those expenses, they could get into trouble if they can’t pay it off.
  • Prioritize paying off your debt. Start with the lowest balance and devote as much of your income as you can to pay off that one card.
  • Once you pay off your smallest balance, move to the next smallest balance.
  • Like a snowball rolling down a hill, you will build momentum to tackle your debts until they are paid in full.

3. Focus on Saving

  • After a summer of spending, it's time to focus on saving!
  • A recent survey found 40% of adults don’t have enough cash to cover an unexpected $400 expense!
  • Whether you put away $10 or $100 each week, start saving now to build your emergency fund.
  • I recommend having enough money saved in cash to cover 3-6 months of living expenses so you don’t have to rely on a credit card in an emergency.

4. Plan for the Future

  • It is never too early to start planning for the future.
  • Whether you are saving in your company-sponsored 401(k) or an IRA, put money aside for retirement. After all, retirement is your ultimate vacation!
  • Creating a spending plan, getting your debt in-check and boosting your savings - These steps will set you up for a solid financial future!

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