Here's How to Keep Your Finances Warm this Winter
Preparing for the winter takes more than just dusting out your sweaters, blankets and heaters from the cupboard. You may need to prep your finances as well, especially if you are slowly rebounding from a tough financial year. Millennials, like every other generation, were hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic. If you are one of the countless millennials looking to warm your finances, it's time to start now.
Let's look at how you can squeeze your budget to usher in the winter season warmly and set aside more towards savings and investments.
A few instances that could impact your finances
1. Turn off heating devices
Cutting down electricity bills is a constant struggle, especially in our climate. The winter is a welcome time to lower heating and electricity bills and switch off the air conditioning. All these and other lifestyle changes can also lead to additional savings during the winter. If you are going to be homebound this winter, you are typically going to stay indoors. When not in use, consider unplugging heaters, air conditioners, and other electrical devices to save energy. Look for low cost, no-cost electricity-saving tips to help you save money and energy throughout the year, and not just during winter.
2. Update your budget
Your monthly obligations may include household bills, fixed expenses, loans and more. Perhaps these could change or shift in the coming season. There may be more expenses with regards to gift-giving or getting ready for holiday travel. Regardless of what the winter holds, now can be an excellent time to re-evaluate your budget and find ways to accommodate your winter lifestyle. Take the time to modify your current spending categories and get ready for winter spending. Perhaps you may want to use budgeting software or a mobile app to re-evaluate your spending in advance of the upcoming winter. Any extra income you make, either through a bonus or a second income, can go towards a new financial goal for the future. You may want to keep aside some money from the surplus for gift giving or purchase new household items. When updating your budget, remember to keep it flexible and accommodate your upcoming expenditures.
Additional Read: The Five Rules of Investing in Equities
3. Begin investing for the holidays
With festive occasions around the corner, it means the season of gift-giving is around. Don't allow your wallet to take a hit this winter while shopping for festivities. Start saving or investing in advance in an ultrashort term fund or keep aside savings in a liquid fund specifically to be used for the holidays. It can be intimidating to prepare for the holiday season, especially if you are on a low budget. Hence, look into your money situation and find out how you can allocate more cash towards gifts, decorations, celebrations or a holiday plan around the corner. Prepare a checklist of everyone you plan to gift and how much you plan to earmark to their gifts. Look into your budget to determine your current expenses and place a timeline for the beginning and end of gift-giving this winter. In the spirit and joy of buying presents, it can be easy to overspend. Hence, staying true to your budget can help you avoid overspending.
4. Tweak your expenses
Winter calls for more time at home unless you've planned a winter trip or vacation. Staying snug at home could tempt you to make online purchases, dine out more frequently and shop more often. If you have planned for expenses, pay from the money you've set aside rather than obtaining credit. Then there's shopping for new attire that also requires extra cash in your budget. All these and more can dent your wallet. Anticipate your expenses in advance to see what they currently look like. Find ways to keep aside money each month or at any interval comfortable to you to keep in an emergency fund. This fund can come to your rescue when finances look bleak, and you are suddenly left without an income—tweaking your expenses and making room for emergency fund savings may be a lifesaver someday.
5. Plan your taxes now
If you're worried about filing taxes in the next financial year, now can be an excellent time to make room for financial planning. Get ready for taxes by planning your investments in advance. For instance, you can start searching for the right ELSS fund to invest in through a Systematic Investment Plan [SIP] and spread out your investments. Also, remember to gather all your tax documents and receipts to avoid missing a beat next year during the upcoming tax season. You could also research and look for a tax professional or easy-to-use tax software to help you plan your filings early and work on your financial planning. Understand your tax liabilities and get ahead of the game by getting an early start this winter.
Additional Read: 5 Thumb Rules of Investing in the Market
Winter is a welcome respite from the tropical heat. But shorter days, crisper air, and changing tree leaves all point to winter being around the corner. To stay financially comfortable and safe in the upcoming season and future months, take a proactive step to control your finances today. Embark on a personal financial literacy drive and get acquainted with how to make your money work for you. Suppose you're worried about your finances or need an expert opinion on how to achieve your future goals. In that case, it can be a good idea to get in touch with a financial advisor and gain access to expert recommendations customized to your finances.