Your month-to-month financial plan

January:         Understand your expenses
Collate 2013’s bank statements, and familiarize yourself with your expenditure. Chances are, you spent more than you planned. Now, with the help of your family, set a realistic budget for the year ahead.
February:       Kick start your savings
If you have received a tax refund, invest this capital into a retirement annuity and take advantage of the tax breaks the retirement annuity affords you. Do this before the end of February!
March:           Target your debt
Start clearing your debt by targeting the smallest debt first. As you pay off your credit cards, cut them up and live on cash. It sounds like a drastic measure, but studies have shown that people tend to spend 25% less when they use cash as opposed to cards.
Build up an emergency fund
Have an emergency fund. You’ll never get out of debt if you have to use a credit card every time you face an emergency. You should aim to have 3 months’ worth of household expenses in an emergency fund.
May:               Re-assess your insurance 
Ensure you are adequately covered, and with the help of your broker, make sure your assets are correctly valued.
June:               Start an education fund
It’s never too early to start saving for your child’s education. Saving via unit trusts is well worth considering. They’re flexible, accessible, cost effective, and transparent.
July:                Check your progress
Print out your bank statements and review your cash flow. Analyze what you have spent vs your budget.
August:           Spring clean your investments         
Review your investment portfolio and make sure it adheres to your risk profile and financial goals. Make sure your money is working for you!
September:     Invest in yourself 
Assess your health. A healthier you could save significant medical costs and possibly secure cheaper life cover.
October:         Update your will
Do you have one? If so, how long ago did you review it? Ensure your will is current, and that it evolves with your changing circumstances.
November:     Review your medical aid, GAP, and insurance cover
It is time to review your medical aid and GAP cover contributions. What benefits and cover are you likely to need? If you are to embark on a year-end holiday, are you sufficiently covered for death or disability?
December:      Stay away from your emergency fund
Avoid the urge to use your emergency fund to pay for the luxuries associated with Christmas. You’ve worked hard to build it up. Negotiate a Christmas truce with the adults in your family, and avoid unnecessary expenditure.
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