When festivities are over and it’s time to settle into the new year, the reality of the financial decisions you might have made really start to dawn on you. The impulse or emotional spending you did and the nights out that you hadn’t planned for. While it’s normal to feel bad and maybe a little disappointed in yourself, it’s also important to cut yourself some slack, you’re human! The only thing you can do now is pick yourself up and do better going forward. Here are some strategies to help you re-organize your finances after doing some damage:
Take stock, assess the damage
First you need to look at your statements and identify where your money really went. A lot of times we underestimate how much we spend until we really look at the records. I, for example, was sure that I don’t spend so much on Mpesa transactions since I use the “Buy Goods'' feature which has no costs. I was very surprised to find that I spend up to KES 500 ($5) monthly only on transactions. Get actual numbers of how much you spent on each category so that you can have figures that inform the next steps.
Our Budgeting Tool helps you track and plan your spending
Identify what went wrong and how to fix it
Back to my Mpesa example, I made an assumption without tracking my spend. You could have identified times where you made assumptions or small decisions that made everything go wrong. Could be not having a miscellaneous category in your budget, could be buying too much food that went to waste. Once you’re able to figure out the cracks in your system then you can think about how to fix them next time.
Prioritize your next spending budget
Even in January, there will be major discounts which might make you feel tempted to purchase things you might otherwise not need. Depending on the severity of your situation, you might need to make some adjustments to get back on track. This could look like cutting back on spending to restore your savings, not buying more groceries until you finish your existing stock, or not buying any new clothes for a few months and channel that money towards a different goal.
Plan early for your next holiday
If you found yourself in fix with your finances at the beginning of January, you could benefit from planning for your holidays in advance. We’ve talked about using sinking funds to save for things that need larger sums of money, this way you can go on vacation stress free while your other financial goals are still intact.
Have someone you trust to keep you accountable
Sometimes we all need someone to check us from time to time. If you think it’ll be hard to do all these things on your own, ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable so that you can achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. With enough time and practice, you will develop the muscle to do it on your own.
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