Planning your year sounds like a huge chore and I won’t lie to you it does take a little bit of time to do; but what I can also say is since we have been doing it we certainly have less surprises and emergencies that attack our bank account. We can now also certainly say we control our money and know where it is going. Planning your year allows you to see past the month your in, we all have those months where we have 8 birthdays to buy for or the month where school has a trip and new uniform is needed. Planning your year can help reduce some of the pressures that type of month can bring.
If you have a partner it is crucial you sit down with them as you can plan the world but if they have not had an input you will struggle to put your plans in to action.
Book it in
If you don’t book it in, it will never happen! Be realistic are you really going to want to sit and discuss money for 3 hours? If so more power to you but if like me that is not going to happen then book it in over a few days. Again if you have a partner agree the dates together you both need to be there.
You have booked the date in so you know it is happening, now get thinking. What do you want to achieve next year? What do you know is happening next year? Are there things that have worked well this year? What hasn’t worked well? These are all great starting points for conversation around your budget.
You can plan as much or as little as you feel will work for you/your family. If its your first time doing this don’t over whelmed yourself, do areas you feel could really help you this year. Below are a list of items my husband and I talk through which hopefully will help you get started:
- Gifts (excluding Christmas) – Who do you buy for birthdays/mothers day/fathers day? Set limits on presents and don’t for forget things like school party presents.
- Car(s) – Servicing, MOTs, road tax and insurance. How and when will you be paying for them? Do you have an older car that you know is likely to need work in the next service or are you going to be replacing the car in the near future?
- Christmas – We keep this separate to the other gifts. When discussing Christmas we discuss gifts, food, family days out and decorations to name a few.
- When do insurances or utility renewals happen? – Could moving help you save money?
- School – if you have school aged children what do you know they will need through the year?
- Holiday – Are you taking a holiday this year? Make sure you account not only for the cost of the trip but also what you will spend when you are there.
- Large household item – Is your washing machine in need of a replacement?
- Cash envelopes – If you use them are they working? Is there one envelope that is consistently short each month or one that you possibly have over budgeted for?
- What goals do you have for next year? – Getting through the year without debt/ Paying off X of debt/Getting emergency fund to X/Paying off X on the mortgage?
What can you do with these plans to see results?
Do just put your plans away, you will forget about them and when that first birthday party comes around you will kick yourself. So here are a couple of suggestions:
- Create a whole year budget to map out what it could look like. If you notice I did not say ‘will’ look like as this is only a plan and things can always change.
- Use your plans monthly when creating your monthly budget so that you know you are on track.
- Possibly create cash envelopes or saving account pots if they will help to allocate money.
- Discuss what you feel the first step needs to be to get the ball rolling and start working on it.
Plans and life can change. Planning our year has helped us live well on a very small budget but we do recognise that life can also change very quickly. This will help you create a guideline for the year and to help you see beyond the month you are in but it won’t be set in stone.
Disclaimer: This is what we do each year to help us and is not intended as financial advice please read my full disclosure policy here.