If you’ve decided that 2021 is the year to get your finances under control, try this month-by-month plan so that your finances and admin are all up to date by the end of the year.
In January: Update your budget and plan for expenses
Write up a budget. Pull out your bank statements and keep track of your day-to-day spending so you get a handle on where your money is actually going. Plan and save for major expenses such as school tours, a major car service or holidays.
In February: Sort out your taxes
This is a good time to make sure you are optimising your tax deductions. You can top up your retirement annuity and contribute to a tax-free savings account. Find out what expenses you need to keep track of and start getting your supporting documents in order for your tax return.
In March: Review your insurance
Shop around and compare quotations from other insurers but make sure that you know what cover each insurer offers for the premiums you pay. You may find that one insurer offers you cheaper premiums but will charge you a much higher excess when you make a claim. Review your life assurance needs if you have had a child, gotten married, changed jobs, been retrenched, or received a raise.
In April: Review your will
Any life changes such as a marriage, divorce or children will require you to update your will. If you don’t have one, write it up now
In May: Review your budget and create a debt repayment plan
Now is a good time to review the budget you set at the beginning of the year. Are you on track or overspending? What can you cut back on to create some extra cash? Use this to settle your debts sooner or add to savings.
In June: Medical check
How much money is still available in medical funds? Plan your annual preventative check-ups such as dental or your pap smear.
In July: Focus on savings during savings month
Sometimes the hardest part of saving is opening the account! If you do not have a tax-free savings account, commit to opening one now. Do a review of existing investments to ensure they still meet your needs. If your long-term savings are sitting in cash, you need to look at higher-growth investment options.
In August: Think big
In September: Spring clean
Clean your clutter and get your admin filed and sorted. Draw up a list of all your policies, accounts and investments so they are easily available in one place.
In October: Review your medical scheme
Medical scheme increases are released this month and you have the opportunity to select your plan for next year. Compare your medical needs with the benefits you can receive and the premium you are expected to pay for those benefits.
In November: Create a festive season plan
This is the time to plan how you are going to manage the festive-season spend. Start having conversations with your family about expectations and budgets.
In December: Be prepared
Don’t forget that you still have to pay debit orders in December and account for them before you spend any money. Remember it is a long way to your January paycheque and after all the parties are over and the visitors have left, you still need to buy groceries and pay for electricity, among other regular expenses.