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Finance for Parents

Your Fall Money Check-In: 5 To-Dos

By Allison KadeSep 1, 2019

‘Tis the season of #2 pencils and three-ring binders, kid-sized mittens and pumpkin spice lattes. 

As you get back in the swing of the daily grind, we’ve got some money to-dos to keep your financial life chugging along smoothly. 

1. Go Back to School (You Too)

Learning isn’t just for grade schoolers. Let yourself be inspired by the back-to-school season, too. Find a night while the kids are doing homework, and join in with a little homework, yourself. 

Pick a few financial concepts that you wish you knew more about, and read up. Maybe it’s time to investigate retirement investing a little more thoroughly. Or maybe it’s time to finally understand how life insurance works. (When you’re ready, Fabric lets you apply for term life insurance online in around 10 minutes.)

2. Budget Now for the Holidays

OK, it’s early yet. But studies have shown that more than half of Americans actually dread the holiday season because of the spending. Americans have been known to take on more than $1,000 in holiday debt, and some people take more than a year to pay off their holiday debts.

So get ahead of it all by coming up with a budget now. List the people you want to buy gifts for, and give yourself a max amount that you’re willing to spend on each. Total it up, compare it to your savings, and if you don’t already have enough cash to cover the expense, then figure out how much you need. Divide that by the number of weeks you have till gift time, and make it your weekly savings goal.

If you're already struggling with debt, consider consolidating your credit cards now and getting organized before the holiday craziness hits.

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3. Make a Feel-Good Game Plan

Not only does giving time and money to charity teach your kids about generosity and the value of a dollar—it also comes with all those warm-and-fuzzies. 

The holidays are a good excuse to do something generous, though ideally your actions now can form a habit that you’ll keep up throughout the year. Whether you’re helping your kids decide where to donate their allowance money or volunteering at a soup kitchen together, take the chance to remember that money isn’t just about saving. It’s also about doing good.

4. Make Sure There’s No Fraud on Your Account

Close to half of identity theft (43 percent) occurs around the holiday season, which is a peak time for fraud. In addition to being vigilant and not clicking on suspicious-looking emails, it’s a good reminder that we should be checking our credit regularly.

You can use a company like Credit Karma to look up your credit score, which is a numerical reflection of how your credit is doing. And you can go to Annualcreditreport.com for your free once-a-year credit report, if you haven’t already gotten it. Law dictates that you should be able to get your credit report from each of the three major agencies once a year for free, so beware of lookalike sites that seem to offer these free services but secretly end up charging you.

If your credit score suddenly plummets without explanation, or if you see suspicious activity on your accounts, investigate it further and remember that you can report fraud to the credit bureaus so it shouldn’t permanently hurt your credit rating.

5. Think About the Future

While you’re spending time with friends and family, take a beat to think about your future. (The new year will be here before you know it…) Consider your big-picture goals, like college savings for your kids. Are you on track? Play around with a college savings calculator to see how you stack up.

As the temperature drops and the mood gets jolly, here’s to doing a few quick tasks to help your family now, and in the future.


Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.


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Written by

Allison Kade

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