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The festive season is done and dusted, we have seen the New Year in and January is here. For many, this is the time to set goals and New Year resolutions. Many are focusing on losing weight especially after indulging during the festive season. For some, January seems to be the longest financial month ever. December salary is usually paid 2 weeks earlier than usual and if you don’t have a plan or set budget, you usually find yourself spending unnecessarily during the festive season. People tend to forget to hold back on spending and set aside finances needed for January expenses. We are usually left with empty bank accounts, more debt and pay day seems ages away. Most of us avoid our credit card statements and phone calls from unknown numbers who we presume are debt collectors. While getting to the root cause of our January financial problems will help us set future goals that will help us plan better in future. It often takes a lot of effort, self-discipline and hard work in order for one to achieve their financial goals.

January is a time to review your holiday spending. It is the time to check where you went wrong, this will help you set a clearer holiday spending budget. Assess what you did right or what you did wrong. Make a plan for 2017 financial goals. Set smart financial goals that are specific, realistic and attainable. You have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the change in your behaviour towards money. Stop feeling depressed about money, stop being a slave to debt, take control of your finances and never let money control you by following the following steps.

1. Take stock of your December spending, figure out where you went wrong. Did you spend what you had budgeted for or where you caught up in last minute spending on gifts and unplanned holidays? Taking stock of your holiday spending will help set clear financial future goals.

2. Stop using credit cards to make January a better month, always use cash and learn to live within your means. If you cannot buy it on cash you probably cannot afford it.

3. Set up a budget for the year. January is a great time to set goals that reflect how much you hope to spend, save and invest this year.

4. Keep track of all your expenses. Spending without clear financial planning always leads to living beyond your financial means. Rank your needs and prioritise your expenses.

5. Cut down on wants and focus on needs. Rent a movie instead of going to the cinema where you will end up paying for extra items like snacks. Drive a car that you can afford. Rent a place that is not more than 30% of your salary. Opt to cook healthy meals at home than eating take away.

6. Pay off all debt that has the highest interest rate or pay off the debt that has the least balances. This gives some sort of accomplishment and might even lead to behavioural changes towards the way we view our finances.

7. Let your family, your spouse or your children know about your financial goals that way everyone can take part and not expect money to be spent unnecessarily.

If you are already drowning in debt keep calm don’t panic, get some financial help. Our NCR registered and qualified Debt Counsellors will assist you with the debt review process which is specially designed to help individuals struggling to service their debts. We renegotiate all your outstanding credit agreements with your credit providers thereby reducing your monthly debt repayments to levels that you can afford and successfully help you get out of debt without having to take on further debt.

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