True confession…I have never in my life been so happy for the first day of school.

Don’t get me wrong I love summer and the unscheduled time that we get to spend together as a family BUT holey moley . . . when mid-August rolled around this year I was craving the routine that September brings especially around our money.

Even though our family follows a spending plan I find summer’s many temptations hard to resist.

If your money seems to have disappeared from Canada Day to Labour Day this year here are 5 easy steps to getting back on track in time for the holidays (yup, I said it!)

1. Pump the brakes on overspending

No one likes the fun to end especially when there are still plenty of warm fall days ahead but reining in your overspending now will set you up for the new year.

If outside patios have been your second home this summer why not try eating on your own back deck! Test new recipes and get the kids involved in the fun. Eating meals together at home is a fun and painless way to cut down on your spending.

We start reintroducing Friday Family nights in September. Instead of going out to movies or concerts the cooler nights lend themselves to snuggling on the couch with our favourite old movies and dusting off our board games.

2. Create a spending plan

You knew I was going to throw this in somewhere! Fall is a great time to create a spending plan. For me September is a new year and the perfect time to plan for my business and my personal finances. It allows me to reflect on what I spent during the second most expensive season of the year (summer) and helps me prep for the holidays.

3. Face your debt

If your credit cards got a workout this summer it is time to open your statements and take control of your debt. Totaling your debt at the end of the summer can be painful but it’s a necessary step to getting your money back on track.

I recommend using the snowball method to tackling your summer credit card debt.

That means choosing one card to pay extra toward, while paying the minimum balances on everything else. Once you pay off the first debt, you apply that card’s payment to the next card on the list, continuing to snowball payments until you pay off all of your cards

4. Start saving

Often times we are so focused on daily cash flow and paying off debt that we forget to leave room in our spending plan for savings. I know it may sound counter intuitive to save when you have debt but putting money aside for emergencies or other savings goals actually helps your break the debt cycle. If you have money saved for next summer then this time next year you will be in a totally different mindset about your money.

5. Stop beating yourself up

It is pointless to worry about the money that you spent on summer, it is water under the proverbial bridge. Why not bask in the memories that you made and focus on your spending plan going forward. I find getting myself on track always helps me over come my feelings of spending regret. I choose to spend the money on something that was important to me at the time given the choices that were presented to me. Now I am choosing to move forward.

The greatest thing about life is that tomorrow is always a new day and a new chance to make a fresh start. September to me always feels like a fresh start and a perfect time to make new year resolutions about my money that I am more apt to keep!

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