Although I’m not one for new year resolutions I do like to have a vision for my finances.
As 2017 draws to an end I am mindful I didn’t write the post I had intended to, focusing on how we prepare for the festive holiday. A few years ago I started buying presents through out the year with the aim of having my gifts purchased by September. This allowed me to create the holiday I wanted to and enter the new year without that ‘I’m broke or January blues’ vibe.
One reason I started this was because I used to go away at Christmas but over time I’ve come to realise that this is really an unnecessary expense. Especially if like me you are looking for winter sun, this can be costly. Also most of the airlines have sales in January so I like to be able to book my tickets for the following year and holidays after Christmas and New Year are cheaper and a more welcome way to start the new year abroad, (I’m talking mid January/ February here always look after those pennies).
So what are my financial goals this year? Most pressing is to rebuild my six month contingency plan. What is this you may ask? Before I fell pregnant I knew I wanted to have a child so I started saving for the time that I would be. I really wanted to enjoy my maternity leave and do stuff without having to worry about money.
I dipped in that pot from time to time but the pot was created. Once I was pregnant I became more focused on the reserves as I knew I wanted to travel on maternity leave. I was also anticipating the possibility of redundancy, yes if you are a woman, thinking about starting a family I recommend that you save for this reality. You may think it would never happen to you but of the nearly 54 000 women it happens to every year in the U.K. the reality is that it could happen. I would rather be prepared as opposed to being caught off guard. No matter how prepared you are it is still a crappy feeling, but I will always say look for the silver lining in things.
With that in mind, I worked out how much I needed to survive for up to six months and saved that including a holiday, because self care is important! This contingency is what I have lived on and paid my bills with as I was figuring out how to navigate my ‘extended maternity leave’. With this fund in place the money from the redundancy settlement can be invested without ever being touched. This contingency fund is what I now need to restore and double before the end of 2018 as I explore new goals and work towards being my own boss. That means having enough saved up that I could survive for a year minimum without having to work.
Do remember to start with achievable goals. Mine were initially paying off cards, overdrafts, and my car then progressed to saving enough to book my flight tickets during the sales and so on. It is possible and every packed lunch into work helps and you will slowly start seeing your spending habits and where you can reduce and maximise saving.
That’s my main financial goal for 2018, I would be interested to know what yours are and how you are working towards achieving them?