3 Financial Advisers Dish: How to Whip Your Budget Into Shape for Fall

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road to autumnAfter a summer spent likely throwing a bit too much financial caution to the wind—all those al fresco dinners out!—chances are your budget may be in need of some TLC.

What’s that, you say? Autumn is eons away? Well, we’re here to tell you that fall is filled with a surprising number of financial doozies—so it’s best to start reviewing that budget now.

When it comes to fall-specific expenses, you may already be counting on shelling out money for back-to-school shopping, college tuition and maybe even an uptick in your utility bills.

But did you also account for the extra babysitting you may need, thanks to parent-teacher conferences; the higher gas bills you’ll probably foot for road-tripping older kids to college, or the added cost of prepping your car for the winter?

Oh. Right.

Pop-up expenses like these are exactly why planning ahead—and considering adjusting your spending now—is so important. Fortunately, our one-number strategy for budgeting makes this task pretty simple.

Here’s how it works: Divide your take-home pay into three categories—fixed expenses (like rent or your cell phone bill), financial goals (say, building up your emergency fund, paying off debt or saving for a vacation) and non-monthly expenses (think: school tuition or quarterly tax payments). Once you’ve allotted a portion of your paycheck to each of these priorities, you’re left with a single amount, known as your flex-spending number, that you’re free to spend as you like—totally guilt-free.

Now that you have the basics down, it’s time to work on fitting autumn’s most common expenses into your budget framework. And what better way to do this than to tap financial advisers across the country for their own budget-minded tips for fall.

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