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Fall Money Cleanse

November 24, 2023

A Financial Detox Could Help You Get Your Finances In Shape

If summer is a season of spontaneity and indulgence, then fall offers a counterpoint: It's a chance to get back on schedule and back on budget.

We tend to spend more money in the summer months with school out of session, longer days, and vacations. Fall is the perfect time to reset. Giving yourself a "money cleanse" offers a chance to carefully go over your spending and financial habits so you can make any necessary changes to end the year strong. With inflation and economic uncertainty in the background, that's no easy task, but putting in the extra effort now can pay off.

Black woman, budget and home finance on laptop for money planning.

Here's a step-by-step guide to a fall financial cleanse that could help get your budget on track for the rest of the year:

Start With A Look Back

The first step to a fall financial cleanse is to look backward, starting with your New Year's goals. It’s essential to check the progress toward resolutions set in in the previous year so you can make any needed adjustments. 

Then, initiate a "financial audit," which means tracking all your spending over the last couple of months by looking through credit card and bank statements. From there, you can see what unexpected expenses popped up and why saving has been hard. Inflation makes it extremely challenging, and you might find your budget didn't work even if you did everything right because some things are out of your control.

Giving yourself the chance to make small changes going forward without dwelling on previous missteps is recommended if you’ve had them. Knowing where our money goes is a huge shift and can help us change our habits.

Try A Budget

If you don't yet follow a budget to help you track your spending, then fall is a great time to give one a try. 

Considering a zero-based budget will mean every dollar is accounted for, including money set aside for savings and any debt payments. This type of budget forces you to confront spending decisions and to get clarity about financial priorities because you comb through every bit of spending.

Establish A New Morning Habit

Start each day with a quick “money minute.” Even one minute a day can help set the tone and change your perspective on spending.

Prioritize Paying Off Debt

With rising interest rates, this fall is also a great time to aggressively pay off high-interest or variable-rate debt, such as credit card debt. It’s recommended to start by either paying off the debts with the highest interest rates (Avalanche Method) or by tackling the debts with a higher balance first (Snowball Method). Whatever method you choose, paying these types of debts can save you money overall and positively effect your credit score.

Check Your Tax Situation

Karla Dennis, an enrolled tax agent and founder of Karla Dennis and Associates, states that a money cleanse should also include a tax checkup.

To avoid the fate of a surprise tax bill, Karla suggests using the IRS' tax withholding estimator tool. You can enter your personal information and get an estimate of how much to withhold so you can make any necessary adjustments for the remaining months of the year. If you were recently married, received a pay increase, or started earning extra money through a side hustle, then estimating your withholding is especially important because you might be at a higher risk of withholding too little.

Make Space For Fun

Budgeting, debt, and taxes aren't exactly terms that people associate with fun. That's why it's so important to also build indulgence into your budget because doing so can actually help keep you on track. Instead of feeling guilty about splurging, setting aside a bit of money every month for this purpose will allow you to stay within your spending goals. Giving yourself permission to enjoy life can deflate the extra stress that comes with maintaining finances.

Live Smarter

If you’re feeling the stress of holiday spending this year, First Source has a low-interest rate Holiday Loan to help you avoid the extra cost of shopping with high-interest credit cards. You can speak to one of our friendly Financial Service Representatives by calling 315-735-8571 or by scheduling an appointment today.

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If you would like to schedule our Community Educator for a seminar or workshop for any Financial Friday educational topic, please email your request to

This article has been adapted from a column in NerdWallet written by Kimberly Palmer.

Posted in: FinancialFriday

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