Most of us set financial goals in January, and then many of us, including myself, often forget about them within a few months. That’s why I thought I would reflect back and do my mid-year review of my financial goals to see if I am on track. In January, I wrote a column on my goals and another one on my budget; I just re-read them with a bit of trepidation, since I couldn’t quite remember what I had said.
The good news first: my mid-year financial review shows that I have kept up with some of my goals: I have been adding an extra 10% to my bond every month and I am using cash as much as possible. Using cash is a really powerful way to seriously think about your money – you draw R1 500 and a few days later your wallet is empty again- which makes you really think! And finally, we are living within our means (no using the credit card), if we can’t afford it we don’t buy it. So that’s all good.
But, my mid-year financial review also shows that I am failing in two areas, and these are both on a more ‘psychological’ side. Anyone who reads my column will know that I am trying to think about our relationship with money, consider consumerism and how to be a conscious consumer, and support my children to develop a healthy attitude to money.
Sadly, the two areas where I feel I am not doing as well in this mid-year financial review are precisely on this front. I committed to writing down everything we spend and to talk about it with my kids so that we think about where our money goes. Yes, I am writing it down, but we are not having the conversation. Like many people, it is a simple maths game, but we are not exploring the numbers and reflecting on out spending. Secondly, our fun envelope has slipped; when we first started it in the middle of last year we were really disciplined about all fun expenses coming out of that, but here too we have slipped.
So my challenge for the rest of the year is to continue adding the extra 10% to the bond and living within our means. But, more importantly, I need to course-correct where we have slipped, which means that on a regular basis I will sit with my kids and review what we have written down on our “expenditure list” and talk about what we do with our money. We’ll also assess the financial choices we are making and we will make the fun envelope real again!