With many of us resuming normal social activities, this summer has flown by faster than ever. But there’s still plenty of time left to take advantage of the lazier days of summer to check in on your finances. Here are five ways to improve your finances in August.

  1. CHECK YOUR SOCIAL SPENDING

    Social events are officially back, with postponed events like weddings, family reunions and travel filling up calendars. While we’re all happy to see friends and family, you may find yourself needing to make some tweaks to keep your household budget in check.

    Make sure that you’re spending on the things that matter to you today, as opposed to earlier in the pandemic. Is your meal subscription service going to waste now that you’re dining out more? Have you been letting your at-home workout subscriptions lapse in favor of exercising outdoors? Small swaps like these ensure your money is working for where you are right now.

    And if there is a trip or other big event on the horizon, start setting aside some money for it now so that you won’t have to worry about it upending your budget later. That way you can enjoy it with as little financial stress as possible.

  2. REFRESH YOUR BUDGET

    As you reevaluate your spending habits, you might find that your monthly budget is also due for a revamp. One guideline to consider: Designate 60 percent of your take-home pay for essential expenses, 20 percent for financial goals and 20 percent for discretionary spending. A budget not only helps you know exactly where your money is going, but it’s also an important element of financial planning.

  3. PLAN FOR FUTURE EDUCATION

    With just a few more weeks of summer, you might already be thinking ahead to fall, which for many people means one thing: school.

    If you have children and want to send them to an institute of higher learning someday, you’ll need to have a savings plan in place. While a 529 plan is the most well-known way to save for college, there are a few other alternatives you may want to consider Or, if you’re thinking of going back to school yourself, be sure to weigh all factors, like whether the financial impact is worth it.

  4. GET READY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

    With back to school on everyone’s mind, you might already have your shopping list ready to go. If that’s the case, beat the late-summer rush and take advantage of the nearest state’s tax-free weekends that are occurring throughout the month.

    For college students, back to school often starts earlier in the month, so if you’re the parent of an incoming freshman, use what’s left of summer to get your family financially prepared — this college-prep checklist will ensure both you and your child are ready before heading to campus.

  5. HAVE A FINANCIAL CHECK IN WITH YOUR PARENTS

    We often talk about having money chats with your significant other or your children. While those are important conversations to have, you might also feel the need to have one with the older folks in your life. If you have aging parents, you might want to discuss things like managing their finances or the costs of long-term care. While it may not be easy to broach these topics initially, doing so can give you peace of mind.

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