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New Year, New Financial Goals!

December was a difficult month for many who tried to meet the demands of the festive season while having to stick to a budget. The price of Christmas presents, social occasions and big family celebrations can easily lead to overspending and coming out short in January and February.

Carol Yang

December was a difficult month for many who tried to meet the demands of the festive season while having to stick to a budget. The price of Christmas presents, social occasions and big family celebrations can easily lead to overspending and coming out short in January and February. The responsibility of saving in the New Year often falls firmly on the shoulders of the woman in the house who finds herself cutting out the ‘nice to haves’ or tailoring the skirts and blazers to fit the kids for another term. Instead of falling into the trap of excessive overspending in December 2016, start now by setting concrete financial goals for the upcoming year and planning a workable monthly budget. Here are three easy steps to follow when setting out your goals:

 

  1. Acknowledge what you value.
    The American National Endowment for Financial Education has suggested that understanding your financial values is a key element to maintaining financial goals. Your financial decisions are not made in seclusion. For example, if having a nice home with designer furniture is important, then this will inevitably effect where a woman spends her money. The same can be said of women who take pride in their appearance and therefore spend a good portion of their hard earned income on clothing, at salons or even on personal trainers and dieticians
  2. Get your priorities straight.
    Once you have established what is important to you, weigh these values up against each other and list them in order of importance. Although having one’s hair done every two weeks might seem important, paying off debts or monthly utility bills needs to take priority over a cut and blow. Things of lesser importance on the list should be allocated less money in the budget and these are the areas where you can try to cut costs. For example, try doing your own nails every alternate month; get a clever personal dresser to help you mix and match your working
    wardrobe with basic staple items; or invite your friends over for some wine and a movie instead of dining out and going to the cinema.
  3. Be realistic.
    Accept that there are things that will require time to save up for. If your dream is to travel to the French Riviera, don’t do drastic things like borrow money to make this dream come true. Rather be diligent about putting aside money each month and give yourself a realistic estimate on how long it will take to get there.

A budget is nothing more than a spreadsheet if you don’t stick to the plan – it’s not going to work if you don’t abide by it. To overcome those momentary temptations, try to provide for the occasional treat in your expenses so that you can reward your diligence and sacrifice rather than busting it!
If you are interested in learning more about budgeting and financial planning, our first workshop of 2016 will kick off in the Gold Coast March 18th – read more about it here!

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