Reassess your debt plan
Debt can often hold you back from your other financial goals, such as increasing your savings, so it’s important to check how your repayments are going. Go through all your debit orders and check how much debt you’ve managed to pay off. If you haven’t made a significant dent in the amount you owe, check where you may be overspending and try to put that money towards reducing debt instead. If you’re struggling with figuring out how to cut back, consider seeing a debt counsellor, who will be able to help you with a plan that fits your pocket.
Check in on your financial goals
From growing your savings and paying off your debt to investing and increasing your retirement contributions, review all your financial goals for 2020. Assess your long-, short- and mid-term goals to see how you’ve progressed. If you haven’t been doing too well, have a look at your money management to see if you can tweak your spending, savings and investments to hit your short-term goals. Also, check your monthly budget to see if you can cut back on any unnecessary spending. The next step is to make the changes that will ensure you reach your 2020 goals.
Sort through your old stuff
Go through every room in your house and start decluttering. If you haven’t been getting regular use out of an item, get rid of it. Separate the items into three piles: sell, donate and throw away. If an item is still in good condition, you could make some money by selling it on Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or via social media. Some items that people are likely to buy include used electronics, toys and clothes. You could also consider donating an item in good condition to a charity organisation of your choice. Keep your donation receipts, in case you decide to claim back tax on your annual donations. If an item is not in a state suitable for use by anyone, throw it away.
Get your paperwork in order
Save the trees and get rid of paper clutter in your house by digitising your financial documents. Scan all your important documents and keep them safe in folders on your personal devices, and remember to create backups by storing the documents on hard drives or in the cloud with services like Dropbox. If there are original documents that you need to keep, file the hard copies away and put them in a fireproof safe. Shred any financial or personal documents before throwing them away to prevent identity theft.
Shave off unnecessary expenses
List all your current monthly and yearly subscriptions. If you aren’t sure about all of them, check your bank statements to make sure you haven’t missed anything. The subscriptions could include gym memberships, video and music streaming, antivirus software, unused apps with subscriptions, and more. Once you have your list, decide on which ones to cancel. If you don’t use a subscription multiple times a week or it doesn’t benefit you in any way, cancel it – you’ll save money. Next, assess your medical aid, and car and life insurance. If you are barely using your current medical aid plan, for example, consider other, more affordable options.
Change up your spending habits
Budgeting is the best tool to help you reach your annual goals – if you stick to it. Take a look at your bank statements to see what unnecessary things you’ve been spending money on and list them. These could include takeaways, online impulse buying and outings you haven’t budgeted for. Allocate to yourself a small portion of your budget for splurges like these. Use apps such as Mint and Wally to track your spending habits and to set up your budget. If you like to do things old school, have a dedicated notebook and track your expenses daily to review at the end of the month and see if any adjustments need to be made if you exceed your budget. Restructure your budget according to how you’ve been doing with your financial goals.