The battle is fought throughout the whole year and won in December. Most of you will agree with me that those who have failed to plan their finances thoroughly during the festive season are exposed in January, when the costs of starting the year are most looming.

Yes, you have heard about drawing up a budget and living within your means. The real question is do you actually stick to your prepared budget?

Most people prepare budgets as a comfort to cushion their Conscience and never really stay committed to the document stating how their expenditures are to be executed. Many fall into the trap of festive season sales and are lured into offers such as “buy now and pay later”.

Here is how you can influence your pocket to triumph on the twelfth month.

  • Plan to do it early

You do not need to be wealthy to start planning, work with what you have now. You should try to keep all your fixed costs as low as possible by educating yourself about these traps. Make sure your regular bills are always paid in advance. Another way to a smooth January is to buy all your Christmas gifts early in the year and just keep them safe somewhere till the festive season. You can structure your budget in such a way that you buy one or two gifts per month if you are a sharing person. Allow discipline to take its cause each time you get a bonus, make it a point that you save at least 60% of it if you are not paying your rent or bond in advance.

  • Get over the unnecessary purchases and the pressure of living beyond your means.

According to Richard Templar on his best seller “The rules of wealth” most people are lazy to be wealthy, they may say they want to be but they do not act. So they end up being pressured to live beyond their means, committing themselves to debt and a life of living from pay cheque to pay cheque. This is normally caused by the pressures of wanting to fit in to other people’s standards of living. Yes, not everyone wants to be the next Bill Gates, but everyone can live comfortably by outlaying their finances wisely in December. New cars are not only bought in December, they can be planned for and bought at a time when your budget has extra room to accommodate such an expense. I am not against new purchases in December; I’m just pointing out that spending should be planned for. Spending should always be for a purpose, and that purpose should not be to respond to the demands of your desire to shop none-stop.

  • The winning starts in the head

You need to decide to be disciplined, truth is you have probably heard all the thoughts I have discussed in this article. Think positively and remember that you are meant to manage money; money can only start to manage you when you are not taking up responsibility to manage it. Deliberate on future investments that will help you enjoy a better January, do your research on the internet and see which investment option will work for you, opt for ones that will allow you to access the dividends in January just to help you take care of all beginning of the year hassles. Watch the impulsive spending thoughts walk away, and decide to take charge of your financial wellness. Planning should not end in the head, put it down on paper, and meditate on it until you act on it. Your decision and state of mind is the first step to make budgeting a way of life.

Just about  a week ago I was listening to a conversation between two economists, and I couldn’t help but pick up that their conversation was only centred around the need for South Africans to start understanding the value of saving.

Financial wellness, early in the year is possible, if you have messed up this year, there is hope for you next year. Pick up that writing pad and do the number crunching and get ready to experience better days…Because financial wellness can be a way of life.