Money Moves for Fall 2023

By Victoria Sado

This summer, women had fun using our financial power. For better or for worse, we went viral for it (hi, girl math). But more importantly, women showed the world just how much financial power we have — enough to basically keep our country out of a recession

There’s more fun to be had this fall (bring on pumpkin spice everything). But can we keep flexing — and enjoying — that financial power with student loan payments resuming and the holidays creeping up? By making smart money moves, absolutely

Money Moves for Fall 2023

Revisit your core values.

Have you peeped your fall calendar lately? A lot’s coming up. There's Halloween parties and Thanksgiving feasts, charitable giving and Black Friday deals, quarterly and end-of-year tax planning, winter holiday gift lists, and travel plans. (It’s a lot.) To prevent overspending, overcommitting, and overwhelm (lol), reassess your core values. When you’re clear on the motivations that drive your decisions — financial and otherwise —you, not the pressures of the season, will control your money moves. With your values as your guide, your choices should feel easier and more satisfying, too.

To get started, ask yourself, “What are my highest priorities?” You could use the Ellevest Core Values Worksheet (free for Ellevest clients) for help exploring what matters most to you, or you could freestyle it by making a list of your top three or five. There’s no wrong answer. Think: achievement, adventure, balance, connection, family, feminism, growth, integrity, responsibility, service … whatever motivates you.

Now that you’ve identified your top values, align them with your money goals for the season. What you’re left with is your own guide to practicing intentional spending and, on the flip side, a framework for making financial trade-offs that are meaningful to you. If decisions start to feel tough, you can remind yourself: It’s not a sacrifice; it’s honoring your values.

Make your own student loan repayment plan. 

At this point, interest has started to accrue on federal student loans. The next big date to circle in red is October 1, when student loan payments officially resume. Feel as set up as possible for that first bill (in three years 😫) by making a student loan repayment plan right now.

  • Confirm what your monthly payment will be with your student loan servicer.

  • If you’re not eligible to enroll in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, see if you qualify for lower monthly payments through the SAVE Repayment Plan, by enrolling in automatic payments, loan refinancing, or loan consolidation.

  • Create a budget that considers your student loan repayment and your investing goals.

This last point for your student loan money moves is important. Don’t feel the pressure to throw every penny you have at this particular debt. Really. Here’s our best advice for how to pay off student loans so that, as much as possible, you — and Future You — can live life on your terms. 

Now, if you can’t afford to pay student loans on October 1, don’t panic. You have some options, including the new “on ramp” to repayment, which allows borrowers to avoid the worst consequences of missing their billing dates between October 1, 2023 and September 30, 2024. During this grace period, interest will still accrue. So only use this option if you need it.

Don’t have student loan payments due? There are still money moves to make. Consider upping your payments to your emergency fund or F*ck-You Fund.

Save for holiday expenses in a sinking fund.

One of our favorite money moves — in general and for holiday budgeting — is to save for non-monthly expenses in a sinking fund. It’s a pool of money that’s gradually saved for known future expenses, so you don’t have to come up with a big chunk of change all at once when you, say, book a ticket home for the holidays or double your Giving Tuesday donations. 

The process is simple: Make a list of your future expenses, then figure out how much to set aside for them each month (or each week, since the holidays are creeping up). Besides travel and gifting, consider budgeting for the less obvious expenses that’ll get you through the notoriously stressful season.

Say flights freak you out. Do you need to budget for a seat upgrade to feel more at ease? The weather might be awful. Do you need to budget for that glitter jumpsuit and cozy gear? Family time can be tough. Do you need to budget for mental health support — a new journal, an extra therapy session, a yoga class pass? Staying away from home sucks. Do you need to budget for creature comforts — a travel blender for your morning smoothie or slippers for bedtime? These expenses are valid if they truly support your well-being. Plus, the more you plan ahead, the more in control you’ll feel.

Splurge moment: fall flavors.

It doesn’t matter if your vice is caramel, cranberry, apple, or, yeah, pumpkin. Fall flavors are back in everything, everywhere, all at once — another example of women using their spending power to boost business (in this case, igniting a nearly billion-dollar “pumpkin spice” industry). That’s what 20 years of buying the f’ing PS latte gets you, economy. Fall splurge moment advice: Continue for yourself and the greater good.

Want guidance for making the money moves that fit your goals? Book a complimentary 15-minute call with an Ellevest financial planner and start making progress right away.


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Victoria Sado

Victoria Sado is a CFP® Professional at Ellevest. She works with Ellevest clients to help them take financial control and make a plan to hit their money goals.