So, your spending actuals don’t tie up exactly with your spending plan for the year so far. But it’s not too late. With six months to go, there’s enough time to finish the year financially strong.
It is easy to feel disappointed in yourself for not sticking to the financial goals you had set at the beginning of 2022, and the habits you had decided to follow. Disappointment is not necessarily a bad emotion, as long as you use it as motivation to do better.
Here are five things you can do to make sure you end the year in a better financial position than where you started it.
1. Bring your debt under control
Reducing your debt, and getting rid of bad debt, is one of the best things you can do for your financial health:
- Start by getting a clear picture of your debt situation.
- If you are in arrears on any of your accounts, get up to date as soon as possible or try to make a payment arrangement with the credit provider.
- Decide on one or two debts to pay off quickly so that you can increase your payments on larger and more expensive debts.
- Look into debt consolidation as a way to settle several debts and be left with only one, often lower, monthly payment.
2. Start thinking about January 2023
It sounds crazy to think about next year when this year is only halfway through – but it’s not. Life doesn’t end on 31 December, so your financial planning shouldn’t stop on that date either. The reason many of us struggle in January, is because we only start thinking about January’s expenses on the 1st. Planning for January now already, will help guide your spending for the rest of this year. Imagine having no money worries when the new year starts – it is possible!
3. Firm up on your December holiday plans – and savings
Now that you have reminded yourself of what you need to keep in mind, and how much you need to set aside, for January, turn your attention to this year’s holiday plans. For example:
- Are you doing the same as always – festive season with the family or holiday at the beach – or do you want to try something different? Either way, you need to budget and plan. Even if it is the same plan as in the past, fuel is much more expensive than last year, so you have will have to save more and plan better to have the same holiday.
- What changes will influence your spending? For example, do you have to buy an extra gift or two because a family member had gotten married or someone had a baby?
- Are you hosting guests instead of going away? Even if everybody contributes to meals, people staying will increase your water and electricity bill, so be sure to plan for that.
4. Work your expense tracking
Pull out your expense tracking spreadsheets for the first six months of the year and see what you can learn from them. Are there any trends to take note of, for example, you had to replace school necessities three times already because your child keeps losing stuff. Maybe it’s time to agree that anything he loses at school will be replaced using his allowance money. That will plug a hole in your money bucket and teach your child to be more responsible.
4. Have those money conversations
There are many things you can do on your own to improve your financial situation, but if you are part of a household or a family, many other actions require all of you working together. And for this to happen, you have to talk about what you want to achieve and how you will go about it. As you think about the next six months (and the new year), also identify the money conversations that will be necessary to improve your household’s financial position. Then call the other members of your household or family together and start talking. You will be amazed at what can be achieved.
Your financial situation is dynamic and changes all the time. Just because you made a few mistakes in the first half of the year, doesn’t mean you can’t run up great successes in the second half. It’s never too late!