It's already here: the beginning of the end — of summer, that is. Whether you’re still operating in vacation mode, getting ready to send the kids back to school or gearing up for a job hunt, schedule time to check in on your finances. You can start by following these five tips for the month.
1. Make a Plan to Keep Labor Day Travel Costs in Check
Deadline: Friday, August 4
If you planned a trip for Labor Day weekend, you may have already paid for the big costs, like flights or hotel rooms. But, there's still a lot that can add up during a trip, like what you spend on meals or sightseeing excursions. So start making a budget for how much you can comfortably spend now so you don't wreak havoc on your September budget. Also, make a plan now for who will cover you before your PTO starts so you won't be tempted to check work email. Not only will it make for a more enjoyable trip, but you'll also be more likely to remember it!
2. Gear Up for Hiring Season
Deadline: Wednesday, August 9
Whether you're ending an internship, finishing up a seasonal position or are simply ready to move on to the next step of your career, block off some time to get your resume and work portfolio up to speed. Take a look at these nine resume mistakes to avoid (hint: sending out the exact same resume for different positions is a big no-no). Don’t forget the importance of networking, either – a recent study shows 60% of respondents credit their new job to former coworkers, bosses and clients.
3. Strategize Your Back-to-School Shopping
Deadline: Tuesday, August 15
August signals the kickoff to back-to-school season, which means school shopping is in full swing. To help your dollar stretch even further, take advantage of the sales-tax holidays happening across the country this month. Many states will be waiving the sales tax on purchases of clothes, school supplies, computers, books and more. Check out the complete rundown to see which states are offering this break and when.
4. Assess Your Summer Spending
Deadline: Thursday, August 24
It's easy to lose track of your spending in the summer, when the outdoors beckon and weekend getaways become more common. So take the time to see where your money actually went — and how much of it. Went a little overboard or lost sight of some of your financial goals? Take note of these slip-ups so you won't make the same ones come next summer. As for now, start creating a plan for how you can even out those losses as you enter the final quarter of the year. Our 4-week guide to setting (and sticking to) a budget can be a good place to start.
5. Check In on Your Retirement Savings
Deadline: Wednesday, August 30
Knowing how much you're putting into retirement savings now can help set yourself up for financial success in the future. Do a quick check-up on your contributions to make sure you're on track for your retirement goals. And if you don’t already have a plan in motion, take a look at our beginner’s guide for setting up a retirement account. Does the word "401(k)" automatically make your head spin? Then these definitions of common retirement terms can help put your mind at ease.