Here we are in the final quarter of the year! So much turbulence has happened in the past nine months. Don’t anticipate this turbulence to stop anytime soon. We have a Presidential Election in four weeks and the three big (retail) holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas – coming to finish out 2020. However the recession and the pandemic are affecting you and your family, we need to remember that the basics still apply to your personal finances – savings, goals, budgeting, and debt management.

Take Stock

Now is the time to take stock of your overall financial picture. Ensure you have the emergency savings in place. Out of each check, put money aside to cover those unexpected costs, such as tire replacement, heater installation, and new winter clothes. Put three to six months of expenses in an account as well. You never know when you may lose or change a job during these uncertain times. Utilize the various saving options available – regular savings, money market, or certificate of deposit.

Financial Goals

Setting financial goals in 2020 can be very challenging. Start small and increase your goals as our country eventually heals and grows from the events of this year. Plan to save for that weekend getaway, next year’s Christmas gifts, or a home entertainment center. The plan will vary depending on what your immediate and short term needs are for this time in your life. In the next year, you can begin again planning those long term goals – car, home, and children’s college education.

Choose to Budget

With the holidays approaching, it is a good time to plan a budget that includes your gift and event expenses – and then stick to it! Do not blindly shop without a plan. Decide who and what you are buying for and how much you want to spend in total. Check out the deals online and scan store ads. There are so many options of where to spend your dollars. Remember – you do not have to buy and “do” for everyone. With the ongoing pandemic, event options will be limited. However, there are other ways to show your appreciation this holiday season – cards, thank you emails, photos, family letters, and homemade gift certificates. What you give should always come from the heart.

Debt Can Be Tricky

Debt management can be very tricky in 2020. Maintaining cash on hand in your savings is very important in case you lose a job or have a health emergency. We also do not know how the health of our economy will be going into 2021. Utilizing credit cards is an understandable option. Be careful to not run up too much debt that will take a long time to pay back or affect your credit negatively.

Personal Financial Coaching

As you navigate the end of the year, remember the personal finance basics to get you through to a happy and prosperous new year. If you need some personal finance coaching, check out