Step into the new year with a concrete budget

Written by SumeetVaid | SumeetVaid | Updated: Dec 31 2013, 17:02pm hrs
PlanningHere are some financial guidelines that can help you to keep your personal finances on a steady path.
The new year is a good time to discipline the monetary aspect of our life in order to improve the health of our finances. Here are some financial guidelines that can help you to discipline your money and keep your personal finances on a steady path.

Budget is the key

Budget indeed is the first and foremost step of any kind of financial planning. A well-thought out budget, set at the beginning of a New Year, can help you evade many financial glitches. It not only gives a broad framework of the expenditures that are likely to come up, but also gives you a clear picture of your financial limit, which in turn can curb you from going over-board with splurging.

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Plastic money dilemma

Beyond any doubt, credit cards have made it convenient for shopping. taken convenience to another level. However, if a credit card is not used judiciously, it can ruin your finances and can easily lead you to a debt trap.

The chances of falling into a trap of this nature can be reduced substantially by keeping a track of all the transactions. Maintain a record/log of all for your cards transactions to keep a tab on your credit liability.

Non-recurring expenditure

While making a financial plan for the next year, do not miss out on non-recurring expenditures. For many of us, only medical emergencies account for this type of expenditure. However, something like vacations should also feature in your financial plan since taking out a lump sum amount at one go can leave a dent on your personal finance. By estimating the amount you need for such an expense, create a monthly fund for such expenses.

Hand-to-mouth lifestyle

Irrespective of whether you earn R50,000 a month or R5,00,000 a day, if you barely maintained any gap between your income and expenditure then this new year should be a wake call for you to address this alarming situation. Living from one pay cheque to another is like living on tenterhooks. One unforeseen expenditure can land you in a financial mess. If you find yourself facing the heat of such a lifestyle, then this year, work on either to increase your income or reduce your expenditure.

Conscious saving

If all this while you have been saving only whatever was left in your account at the end of every month then dont be surprised to see minimal savings. It is important to put in conscious efforts in savings and the best approach is to set aside the amount intended to be saved right at the start of the month. Auto debit towards a mutual fund or opening a recurring account can be quite handy.

Need-based spending

Dont fall prey to the shopping bug. To keep your finances in good shape, inculcate a need-based spending approach. Buying stuff just because your friend has bought it can have a very damaging effect on your pocket. Remember, we all are different and so are our needs. What others have got may or may not work for you and your financial limits.

We all have heard this countless times that money is not everything in life. However, we cannot deny that it is a vital tool to get many things in our life to make it more comfortable. So, with the proper money-managed life step forward in to the new year.

The writer is founder and CEO of Freedom Financial Planners. Views expressed are personal