If you feel like the last month has flown by, you are not alone. Lots of us intend to start the new year with good new habits, strategies, plans, new products, to help us feel in control of the new year. Especially after a year as out of control as 2020. Actually, it’s often not until January that we even have time to pause and prepare for the day to day reality of a new year. So what can you do now to feel in control of 2021?
I know its easy these days to use your phone/tablet for everything, including your calendar, and if you are fully set up, committed and its working for you – great. Skip this section. If you are half using your phone calendar, then forgetting to look at it, needing other people in the house to look at their device to see the calendar you might consider a paper calendar or year planner. I love the tactile part of writing in a physical planner (and the joy of ticking off tasks), plus it helps me put down my phone more often. This year I’m truing out the Goal Digger planner by Mi Goals.
Yes, it might seem old fashioned, but there is a reason they work. Stuck to the wall or fridge in a place of prominence, everyone in your household can add their activities, or check their activities at a glance. Better yet, at the beginning of the year you can take the opportunity to add in all the Birthday’s/anniversaries and other yearly events you celebrate. The process of adding them every year is a great opportunity to take stock of whose Birthday is when and start planning for the perfect gift for milestone celebrations. For more ideas on planning the perfect gifts for everyone, have a read here.
As you are putting in ages and dates for Birthdays consider adding a gift idea, or what you think you might do to celebrate that event. Consider whether it will involve travel, costs, time to make a gift or a budget to buy one.
Think about the other obligations you might have this year, when you might need to take leave or where the kids might be for school holidays.
While you are planning, you might like to take a moment to think about whether you have any specific goals this year, anything you need to factor into your time or money plans.
We talked about Christmas budgeting in November, and the same principle of sharing the load over the year can be relevant to all forms of events, and even costs. If you are planning a holiday, a large gift, renovation or other large purchase, the beginning of the year can be a great opportunity for a financial stocktake. (Again, link Christmas budgeting)
What are your biggest costs? Your total income? Your non negotiable expenses (including the ones that you don’t need but won’t enjoy life without!)?
Can you split some of your biggest costs so they are taken out as a percentage each pay? If your provider doesn’t offer that, can you set up a sub account online with your bank and put aside a percentage of the bill each pay? Many banks allow multiple sub accounts, meaning you can have one for bills, one for saving, one for Christmas and one for other gifts if you like. Just take a moment at the beginning of the year to really work out what works for you in 2021.
Maybe this all sounds like a lot, but it truly doesn’t need to take long. The simple act of sitting down to think about these things can take an hour or two if that’s all you have, and I’m pretty confident in saying it will save you much more than that over the course of the year. If that’s not enough to convince you to try planning, maybe do it with your favourite beverage and a slice of cake… Or bribe yourself with a pair of earrings if you finish.