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As the summer months draw to a close, you may have welcomed the break from the scorching heat, or are at least excited for all the activities that come along with fall. Debt is something that most U.S. consumers are burdened with, cumulatively totaling at $13.86 trillion. A changing season is a great time to reevaluate your spending habits and learn some new money management tips along the way.

Make a realistic budget for yourself

While it is easy to imagine yourself with immaculate spending habits where nothing unnecessary is purchased, this simply might be unrealistic. Don't worry, that is okay because trying to work up to your ideal budget is much more sustainable than shocking your financial situation with habits you are not used to.

Start with creating a budget that seems reasonable. This helps you gain confidence in yourself while solidifying some of the most important spending habits as part of this goal. For example, if you are spending 50% of your income on lifestyle purchases like clothes and makeup, try decreasing this by 5% each month until you reach your ideal lifestyle budget.

Don't impulse buy

Retail therapy is a short term fix to the blues, but could end up causing more stress in the long run. If you have a difficult time avoiding impulse buying, you are not alone. The average shopper spent at least $183 in unplanned purchases in 2020, which the same poll by Slickdeals reported was up from several months prior.

In order to avoid wasting money on things that you don't really need, it can be helpful to bring a list with you when you go shopping. Stick to the checklist, and try your best not to wander into other, more enticing aisles of the store. If you are an online shopper, try unsubscribing from emails that may tempt you back to browsing your most frequented online retailers. Buying a few fall necessities is okay, but consider whether you really need another windbreaker or pair of gloves before adding them to your cart.

Keep an eye on your credit card spending

In order to stay out of debt, it's important to monitor the purchases you make with your credit card. While they can help you build credit and gain rewards, they can also lead to dangerous debt. A good rule of thumb is to never buy anything with your credit card that you could not afford without it.

Nobody wants to be in debt, especially when you may be saving up for a special autumn vacation or for the upcoming holidays. Reach out to The Federal Savings Bank for financial advice or help getting your fall budget in order.

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