Let's face it.  Even if you don't have kids, the concept of "back-to-school" hits all of us.  The idea of summer for everyone is a time to be a little more carefree than the rest of the year. 

Vacations are planned.  Offices close up a bit earlier, and more often.  All in all, the thrill of summertime stays with us from the time we used to actually have summers off.  As we manage our lives a little better and manage our finances a lot better, the idea of "going back to school" takes on a new meaning. 

To me, "back-to-school" means leaving the carefree summer days behind and preparing for the things that are a bit more stressful - the holidays, the winter blues, and this year...the wedding!  It is a reality check, and a good time for all of us to take a minute to reflect on where we are and where we want to be as far as our financial plans go.  Before we know it, a new year will be upon us; we will have to decide what worked and what didn't with our 2010 budget, and figure out how to adjust and stay on track for 2011.  It's never too early to start to plan. You know how I hate surprises, so back-to-school is a time for me to make sure I am back on track if I have wavered a bit.

It can be a little overwhelming to go from summer to fall.  I found this article that will help to keep me motivated with some fun ideas for how to make the transition a little easier.  One of my favorite tips?  Remember when I blogged about shopping in the off-season?  Well, if you listened, then in a couple of weeks you will be changing out your wardrobe and finding some little lost treasures that you picked up at the end of the last fall/winter season.  Those surprises I love!  Plus, now's a good time to grab up some clearance items for your summer needs for next year - even I can't resist 75% off. 

Don't let the back-to-school blues get to you.  Find some fun things to do in the fall and start to prepare for 2011 - it will be here before we know it and the best part is that we will be one year closer to being debt free.

Katie Simmons

Katie is a participant in the CareOne Debt Management Plan. Katie is a contributing writer for the Single & settling in blog. Katie's story is not unique.  She lived beyond her means and it caught up to her!  Over 2 years ago she made the decision that no one could get her out of the mess she created with her debt, but her.  Since then, she has embarked on an adventure of learning how to take care of herself without credit cards in her life and how hard it can be to be single and in debt.  She is experiencing every challenge and every success while working her hardest to be debt free. Compensated CareOne Blogger.