People urged to get their financial ducks in a row

This is the time of year when people make their New Year’s resolutions by setting new goals but they should not forget to also include financial resolutions.

Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB, says facing up to one’s financial situation is not the easiest of tasks, especially when things are not looking good.

“Having come out of the festive season, it’s possible that some may have misspent their hard-earned money on festivities.

“The beginning of the new year is an opportune time to look back at financial mistakes committed in the past and chart a way for a new start.

“Getting your finances in order takes a lot of commitment and dedication, it’s not a once off process, and it may require facing some hard truths about your spending habits.”

To help improve your financial position, she says, you need to track your spending and ask yourself a few questions:

* Do you have financial goals? This is important because you need to set these goals so that you can put a timeline on them. The important thing is to commit to your goals. If you set a goal, you have to follow through.

* Do you give into pressure from society? This is one of the reasons why people never seem to have a grip on their finances. The trick is to understand your financial aspirations and work towards them and never try to copy other people’s lifestyles.

* How can I avoid wastage? It’s often difficult to stop wasteful spending because it becomes a habit. The best way to spot wasteful spending is to have a budget and stick to it. Do you have savings? It is never too late to start saving and if you haven’t started, you should start immediately. It is better to have a few savings here and there, than none at all.

“Looking at your finances is something that should be done on an ongoing basis and not only at the beginning of the year,” says Ms Sibiya.

“The start of a new year is, however, a good time to look back and see what you can improve upon financially.”