Figuring out your finances can be so overwhelming! Even if you’ve made money-related resolutions this year (like reducing your debt or starting to save for retirement or creating an emergency fund or sticking to a budget)…there’s just so MUCH it’s hard to even know where to begin!
Good news! Getting back on track financially doesn’t have to be so stressful.
I’m excited to share this financial roadmap for the whole year! The best part is, you don’t have to tackle the entire year at once. We take each month and break it all down into doable, bite-sized tasks, so you can get your finances on track each month, without feeling frazzled.
Each month is simplified into one major action area. Just 1 reasonable to-do area of focus that will each make a big impact on your financial situation and your stress level.
So join us for a year of financial planning and success! You can begin at any time, so let’s start planning for your year ahead, today.
January: Set Yourself Up for Financial Success!
January is a month of new beginnings and resolutions. It’s the month when we decide to take on new goals and create new positive habits. While there are many goals each of us might set to get our year off to the best possible start, if you’ve decide to tackle your financial goals this year: that’s awesome! Congratulations! You can do this! Set achievable goals for the year.
February: Know your Numbers
I must admit that this step is no fun—but it’s a step in the right direction, I promise. The first step to starting your financial year off right is to do an assessment of where you are financially. Take a look at all of it: the good, the bad and the ugly. Maybe you’re already moving toward your financial goals…or maybe you’re falling behind. Either way, no need to stress. The point of this action item is to assess your current situation so you can best plan for the year ahead.
March: Make a list of Debt
Assess your total debt. How much do you owe, who do you owe and what interest rate are you paying? If you can, call to negotiate any changes in interest rates and ask your credit card companies if they can waive any finance charges or annual fees. Also, inquire about any promotional deals you’ve seen to see if you can benefit.
Look at your mortgage and your loans as well as any outstanding debts. What does your overall financial picture look like?
To get a clear view of everything, write down everything you owe, the amount outstanding, the interest rate, and the due date for each bill or loan. You can download our steps to getting out of debt to help you get started and organised.
April: Review Your Insurance Premiums
Too often, we place our insurance policies in a drawer and forget about them. However, it is important to review our policies on an annual basis. Most insurance policies are reviewed automatically every year, often without us noticing. If you don’t review your insurance, it could lead to your being over insured or under insured. Whether it’s vehicle and home insurance or life insurance of any sort, check them out annually. If there is an annual premium increase, verify that it has taken place.
May: Utilities Review
Gather ALL your utility bills together and take a look at what you’re paying. Check to see if there are any mistakes on your bills. Many of us don’t notice when our water or electricity bill suddenly goes up. Watch for hidden charges, fees or rate increases.
June: December Holiday Plans
Where do want to spend Christmas, if you have an extended holiday in December? How much will the holiday cost you? Some people spend Christmas at their rural homes, how much will travel, groceries and gifts cost you? Do you need money aside? If December is when you venture overseas on holiday, have you made your reservations and bought tickets? If it is too expensive to do this year, you can think about saving for the following year.
July: Savings Month
Savings month is a good time to determine what you can cut out of your budget in order to save money. Are there some monthly expenses you can give up? Do you need to be part of a gym or can you work out at home? Can you give up DSTV and just take advantage of a Netflix subscription to stream movies? Can you renegotiate your family’s mobile phone plan? What are some other monthly expenses you might be willing to forgo in order to put some money aside?
August: Asset Review
The first step in the asset review process is to take an inventory of what you currently have. Assets are a sum total of everything you own. Property, cash and cash equivalents, money market account. Tangible assets include car, boats, motor bike, art, jewelry and the like. These can be sold and converted to cash relatively easily. Some people consider collectables, memorabilia, designer bags, furs, fine china and silver as assets, as they can be sold to discerning audiences.
Take an inventory of your assets and keep the list in a safe place.
September: Evaluate Subscriptions
Thanks to technology and the internet, there are endless ways to spend money. You sign up for a wine club, a paid newspaper subscription, or even a cheese club. Subscriptions are usually set up to charge your account or credit card monthly, and this makes it so easy to forget about them. Evaluate all the subscriptions you have on your bank statement. Do you pay a monthly subscription for the gym? Do you use the gym? We often realise that we are paying too much for subscription services that we can do without. With that in mind, it’s important to check out how much you are spending on subscriptions. If you are spending to much on the gym, try other ways of staying healthy.
October: Manage your Estate, Document your Will
Some people think estate planning is only for wealthy individuals who own several million-dollar properties all over the world. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The most basic definition of estate planning is simple. It is the process of deciding what happens to your assets and affairs when you die or become incapacitated. By this definition, estate planning is for everyone.
November: Medical Aid Review
As you start to plan for the year ahead, think about your medical aid. One thing the pandemic taught us, is to ensure we have enough healthcare funding in place to suit our medical needs. It’s important to annually re-assess the kind of medical cover you will need for the following year. The best advice is to get in touch with a consultant, who will take you through various options available, depending on your needs.
December: Annual Review
A lot of us visit the doctor annual for an annual medical check-up, have you done the same for your finances? What were your Finance goals for the year? How close are you to them? Do you need to save more? Do you need to learn to stick to your budget? Are you constantly finding yourself overspending on unnecessary expenses? Like those gorgeous red shoes…. An annual financial review gives you a chance to evaluate your financial position. It allows you an opportunity to review how you’ve done financially over the past twelve months and make sure you’re still headed in the right direction when it comes to managing your money.
Even if this exercise was stressful (and I know it can be a little stressful!), you’re a step ahead now that you’ve made finance management a part of your annual plan. You’re well on your way to a year of financial success, so keep at it!
If getting a handle on your finances is your goal for the following year, making a budget is a great way to start the year off on the right foot. Since you’ve already gathered all your bills and paperwork together, getting started should be a piece of cake.