Budgeting by Season

by Mike on December 10, 2018

Budgeting by Season

If you’ve never made a budget before, the prospect can seem daunting. It’s easy to procrastinate on what may feel like an overwhelming project. First, you have to gather up your pay stubs, financial statements, bills and receipts. Then you have to sit down and log the information so you can keep track. It’s all too tempting to say, Well, maybe next weekend I’ll finally get around to it

But budgeting doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it have to take up a large chunk of your time every week. The key is breaking it down into more manageable pieces. For example, instead of trying to budget and hit every single financial goal at once, you can break this larger task down by season.

 Fall: Assess Your Savings Situation

The fall is a great time to budget with a focus on savings. It’s a great time to check in and assess where you stand in terms of your savings account, emergency fund and retirement account. Have you been hitting your goals? Can you devote a larger percentage of your income to beefing up these important accounts? Have you experienced any hurdles making saving difficult this year?

Many experts recommend setting aside at least 20 percent of your paycheck for the sole purpose of saving. Of course, depending on your exact financial situation, you may be able to increase this, or need to decrease it.

The most important takeaway for this season is that you know how much you’re saving, where it’s going and whether you can tweak your budget to funnel more money into building a safety net.


Winter: Avoid Holiday Overspending

Winter is traditionally a season of family, friends, food, gifts and travel. This can be fun, and great for the soul. However, all these activities also come with a price tag—one that can easily increase your credit card debt or dip into your savings if you’re not careful.

Luckily, consumers don’t have to come up with extra hundreds or thousands of dollars to make it through the winter in good financial shape. There are many ways to tighten up your budget and even generate extra money without giving up holiday cheer. Here are a few tips from debt relief expert Andrew Housser for saving $100 per week during the holidays:

  • Reduce entertainment costs by replacing costly cable with inexpensive subscription services.
  • Cancel any unused memberships or subscriptions you’ve racked up over the year.
  • Make meals at home rather than heading out to a restaurant.
  • Sell hobby supplies and unused items (like clothing or electronics) you have sitting around your home.
  • Limit nonessentials like alcohol, to-go coffee, cigarettes and more.

In conclusion, winter is a great time to “tighten your belt” and make sure you stay on the right track so you can start the next year off strong.

 Spring: A Great Time to “Clean Up” Your Budget

Spring cleaning is a rite of passage; it’s the best way to freshen up your home after a long winter. Well, turns out it’s time to blow the dust off your budget, too. Use this season to reassess your budgeting strategy as a whole. What’s working? What needs some alteration? How can you revamp your goals for the coming year to more closely align with your financial reality?

 Summer: Plan Ahead for Trips and Recreation

Like winter, summer makes it easy to slip into a pattern of overspending. The key here is planning for extra entertainment- and vacation-related expenses. This way, you can build up a cushion ahead of time—making your travels all the more fun because you don’t have to feel guilty that you may be wreaking havoc on your budget.


Budgeting by season makes it simpler to stay up-to-date on your finances without having to tackle everything at once.

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