Start 2014 with a big bang!
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.