Document Viewer
Kimberly Palmer: A fall financial cleanse could get your spending back on track
Sep 11


If summer is a season of spontaneity and indulgence, then fall offers a counterpoint: It's a chance to get back on schedule, and back on budget.

"Summer, with travel and no school, tends to be a really spendy time. The fall is a nice reset," says Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, a certified financial planner and author of "The 30-Day Money Cleanse."

Gerstley says giving yourself a "money cleanse" offers a chance to carefully go over your spending and financial habits so you can make any necessary changes to end the year strong. With inflation and economic uncertainty in the background, that's no easy task, but putting in the extra effort now can pay off.

Here's a step-by-step guide to a fall financial cleanse that could help get your budget on track for the rest of the year:


Nate Hoskin, a CFP and financial assistant at Brightside, a provider of financial wellness to employees, says the first step to a fall financial cleanse is to look backward, starting with your New Year's goals. He suggests checking on progress toward resolutions set in January so you can make any needed adjustments.

Then, Hoskin says, initiate what he calls a "financial audit," which means tracking all of your spending over the last couple of months by poring over credit card and bank statements. From there, you can see what unexpected expenses popped up or why it has been so hard to save. "With inflation, it's extremely challenging, and you might find your budget didn't work even if you did everything right, because some things are out of your control," he adds.

He suggests giving yourself the chance to make small changes going forward without dwelling on previous missteps.

"Knowing where our money is going is a huge shift and can help us change our habits," Gerstley says.


If you don't yet follow a budget to help you track your spending, then the fall is a great time to give one a try, says Ashley Lapato, a financial expert on TikTok who posts as @TheOrganizedWallet and is a spokesperson for the budgeting app YNAB.

"I always think the first step is a zero-based budget," she says, which means every dollar is accounted for, including money set aside for savings and any debt payments.

"It forces you to confront spending decisions and to get really clear about financial priorities," she says, because you comb through every little bit of spending.


Lapato likes to start each day with a quick check of her own budget. For fewer than five minutes every morning, she logs in to her budgeting app or checks her bank account and financial goals.

"Doing this has changed my perspective. It puts me in the right brain space in the morning if I'm looking at bills, goals and things I want to accomplish," she says.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

Join Now for the 50 Plus Newsletter