As the New Year begins and we start to settle back into our normal routine, we find ourselves reflecting on our achievements in 2014, and what we want to achieve in 2015.
We always promise ourselves that “this year is going to be so much better than last year”. Mentally we start to prepare our goals and our dreams for this year. We quickly get swept back into our busy lives and we forget to focus on what we want for 2015.
Goal planning at this time of the year is made even more difficult as we reel from the consequences of our Christmas over-expenditure. We suffer from buyer’s remorse as we look at our bank balances, wondering where we went so wrong and how we are going to survive until the end of January. Be assured, there is hope. Now is the time to put your best foot forward, hold your head up high and follow this New Years Resolutions Plan.
The problem is, just thinking about your goals and dreams is not committing to them. You must make a conscious decision to clearly define what you want to achieve this year. Once you know what your goals are, it is important to write them down.
To keep motivated, keep reading them, perhaps once a month, and keep tabs on your progress.
Goal setting can be intimidating, even scary, but remember this is your private dream, not for public viewing or for anyone’s opinion. Having the courage to dream big or aim high is important, be a better version of yourself this year.
Yearly budget: Plan your spending
It is more important than ever to budget the money you have each month. You cannot afford to spend all of your earnings without planning. If you know where your money must be spent, you will know exactly how much you have left over for the luxuries in life.
Remember to budget for expenses that aren’t monthly payments, such as school fees and don’t forget to keep some money aside for your next vacation, it will help get you out of the post – holiday depression. Make sure you pay your bills first and yourself second.
Prioritise your debts and pay them off quickly
Schedule all your debts in order of the amount of stress each one causes you. As you pay one debt off, use that money to pay off the next one. The quicker you can pay off your debts, the less the interest you have to pay.
Don’t get further into debt
Getting deeper into debt is only going to make your future self-poorer. Who’s going to pay for the loan next month? If you don’t have the money today, what will change next month to allow you to afford the extra loan?
Shop smart: Plan your monthly shopping trips
Write a grocery list! Do a separate list for each week of the month. Stick to your grocery list - do not give in to temptation! Remember, the shops will tempt you to buy things you don’t need.
Remember our 5 shopping secrets:
Take your own shopping bags
Never go shopping whilst you are hungry
Plan your shopping trips and stick to your plan
Be brand aware
Live within your means
There’s no point buying things that you can’t afford. Will Smith recently said: “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like” It is possible to live within your income, it takes discipline. Plan what you spend, and never buy on impulse.
Always have an
By keeping an emergency fund (at least one month’s salary) you’ll no longer have to go into debt when an emergency comes along. Your peace of mind knowing you have a “back-up” plan will alleviate a lot of financial stress from your life.
Pay your bills on time
Your bills don’t pay themselves. If you don’t pay them each month, you’ll have to find double the money in the next month. Some creditors may even charge you interest on late payments.
Share the costs
of social events
Everyone is feeling the blues after the festive season, but this doesn’t mean we don’t want to see our friends and be social. Invite your friends to your house, and task each person to bring a dish of food enough for the group you have invited. This way you can cut costs down to just one plate of food. Entertainment outside of the home is much more expensive.
Protect your assets and your loved one’s
Review all your insurance policies every year in January and make sure they are current, competitive in value, and will cover you for all the possibilities that you need them to.
Always understand your insurance packages that you have in place and how they work. You may ask your insurance broker as many questions as you like, even if you have had the insurance plan for many years.
Keep saving for your future
“Who will pay for me when I am old” is the sobering question we must keep asking ourselves when we debate the importance of saving now for later spending, or spending now and forgetting about the future. What kind of retirement do you visualise for yourself? This can only be achieved through long term savings.
Pay all your bills and debts on time. Live within your means and stick to your budget. You too can enjoy a stress free financial future. Good luck, you can do it!
*Author: Cynthia Tsumake – Financial Wellness Trainer with S.C.I. Training (Pty) Ltd. © S.C.I. Training run BOTA (BQA) accredited financial wellness programmes in Botswana. For help and information contact them on 3180243 or 75114375 or [email protected]
Cynthia Tsumake *