Start 2014 with a big bang!

Brides Essence - - Contents - By Si­grid Madonko

This year has started off with a bang with many of us ask­ing our­selves – where has Jan­uary gone? In the past, the year only gets go­ing around the 24th of Jan­uary, but it seems this year was an ex­cep­tion with ev­ery­one head­ing back to work around the 10th of Jan­uary. Back to busi­ness as usual!

Ev­ery De­cem­ber hol­i­day, my hus­band and I rest as much as pos­si­ble and once we feel re­freshed, we tackle the next year. We look at our bud­get, our time man­age­ment, our long- and short-term goals and we re­visit the past year’s suc­cesses, fail­ures and high­lights. It gives us an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect back on the year, and look for­ward to the next year. We dis­cuss what has worked and what we have not suc­ceeded at. We re­visit our bud­get to make sure it re­flects our goals and fam­ily val­ues. We dis­cuss our time man­age­ment to make sure it is in line with these goals and that we are not miss­ing any gaps.

As an en­gaged cou­ple you might have dis­cussed fi­nances in your pre-mar­i­tal coun­selling and thought about bud­get­ing and plan­ning of your fi­nances. Un­for­tu­nately many cou­ples do not dis­cuss their fi­nances, which leads to prob­lems later on in their mar­riage. I would strongly en­cour­age you to dis­cuss fi­nances, bud­get­ing and goal set­ting reg­u­larly.

It is a fun ac­tiv­ity where you dis­cuss your dreams and goals. Your short term goals are those that will hap­pen in the next year, for ex­am­ple sav­ing for a dream hon­ey­moon. Longer term sav­ings are a five or ten year plan, sav­ing up for a de­posit for a home, for ex­am­ple. Once you have dis­cussed and agreed upon your goals, set up your bud­get.

A bud­get is all your in­come less all your ex­penses. Your net in­come (i.e. your take home pay) less all your monthly ex­penses. These in­clude: sav­ing; rent; elec­tric­ity; wa­ter; gro­ceries; petrol and en­ter­tain­ment to name but a few. Af­ter de­duct­ing all your ex­penses from your in­come you want to be left with a pos­i­tive bal­ance. Re­visit your sav­ings to make sure it makes pro­vi­sion for your short and long term goals. If not, re­duce ex­penses else­where to save ad­e­quately. Once you have de­cided upon your goals it be­comes eas­ier to make the sac­ri­fices know­ing what you are sav­ing to­wards.

What are your goals and val­ues as a cou­ple? As a cou­ple start­ing out, it can be lots of fun dis­cussing your goals and dream­ing about your fu­ture to­gether. Set these vi­sions early on in your re­la­tion­ship so you both know what you are build­ing to­wards.

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