Beat post-festive period blues with smart planning

2014-01-08 00:00

THINKING about money when you have just come out of a very expensive month is always a challenge but hopefully this will provide some motivation:

1. Beat the January blues.

That first week or two back at work are always tough, so take some time planning your next holiday — it will give you something to look forward to. Part of that plan is working out how much you can afford and how you are going to save for it. You will enjoy the holiday a lot more if it is already paid for.

2. Be ready for Christmas 2014.

Most of us are dreading the bills that are already arriving, a reminder that our festive season budget was well and truly blown.

Make it a New Year’s resolution not to get into debt next festive season and start putting some cash away. It can be as simple as taking a jar and writing “XMAS 2014” on it to collect all your coins over the year. If you include R2 coins you will be surprised how much you will collect in a year.

My husband banks with FNB and used their “Bank your change” saving account. Every time he made a purchase it was rounded up to the nearest R5 and the “change” was paid into the savings account.

For example if he spent R63, an amount of R65 was debited and the R2 paid into the savings account. He saved R1 900 in a year and used it to pay for our Christmas.

3. Bankrupt the debt collectors.

Debt is such a waste of money; make a resolution to get out of debt and rather than paying interest to the bank, use it to start saving.

Get on top of your debt so that you don’t end up being farmed by debt collectors where they turn you into an annuity income for life! The only way to get out of debt it to plan your finances. Start a budget and cut back.

4. Stay married.

Money is the number one reason marriages break up. Surveys show that people are more comfortable talking about sex than money, but money problems bring far more marital stress.

Sit down with your spouse and look at your finances and be honest about what you can afford. Also set goals and dreams to aspire towards, if you get buy-in you will achieve your goals together. Avoid financial ruin and your marriage will last.

5. Grow wealth not stuff.

We tend to fill our homes with lots of useless stuff. Open your wardrobe and look at all the items of clothing you have bought and worn once, or not at all. Look in your garage at all the gadgets you bought and never use.

These items are wealth destroyers.

Your first step is to clear out; have a garage sale and use that money to settle those credit cards you used to buy the stuff in the first place.

Secondly start becoming more discriminating about what you buy. Have a budget and shop with purpose. Impulse buying is a real budget killer.

If you see something you were not planning on buying, sleep on it. In most cases the next day you will realise you don’t really need it. Remember that whatever you spend today reduces your ability to grow long-term wealth.

Make one financial resolution this year. Even if it is just waiting a day before you buy something, or cutting up your store cards — those small steps will make a big difference.

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