Reviewing my financial goals

Donna Willan Money cents

It’s May and we are already a third of the way through the year, time for some reflection on my financial goals – am I on track? First a confession, I didn’t really articulate my goals in January, so let me do so now! First I will try to keep them SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). Here are my SMART goals: 1) to pay an extra 10% into my bond most months 2) reconsider my children’s existing education policy, 3) end each month without credit card debt, 4) spend less than I earn and 5) save R6000 for a year-end holiday.

Wow, I am on track with some of them. Yes, I have reconsidered my children’s education policy (see blog a few weeks ago). Secondly, I put an extra 10% into my bond in three out of four months – I’m happy with that. Note to self: always do this on payday once it’s been transferred to the bond, it’s not there so we can’t spend it. Thirdly, have I spent less then I earn? This is working in some areas and not others. My children and I are very good with our “Fun Money” envelope (again discussed in a column a month or so back), all fun activities are paid for in cash from the envelope, we put our budgeted money in the envelope on payday, and we only spend that. One month we had R260 left at the end of the month – we went to the food market and had a ball! We have not overspent once – well done to us!

But…where am I not on track? No holiday savings yet – oh dear! And my spend still exceeds my income and budget on some months – linked again to the unexpected events, R1400 for new tyres, R1700 vet bill; each month there has been at least one of these ‘curve balls’ which has meant every month has ended slightly in debt on the credit card. This is a disaster, if I continue like this for the next 8 months by December I will have a significant debt on my credit card (definitely no year-end holiday!). I need to be much more conscientious, it has become clear that every month throws an unexpected/un-budgeted curve ball – usually between R1500-R2500 – so I need to cut other expenses and have a contingency fund to ‘mop’ it up. So that seems to be the big goal for the next two thirds of the year.

As I write this I am worrying about my pool which is slowly turning green (again!) and I am wondering about the maths of pool maintenance – is it cheaper to get a pool company to maintain it, given my amateur skills here? My next column will reflect on this idea of outsourcing in order to save.

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