With the festive season behind us, your attention should turn to those New Year's resolutions you made to get both your personal and financial affairs in order.
Once again you are asking why you spent so much in such a short space of time. Your belt buckle is bursting and your finances are a mess.
Though the release of the consumer price figures last week might turn the tide of interest rates in the interim, financial experts say you need to plan especially carefully to ensure that you don't find yourself in a position where you are unable to meet your monthly commitments.
Stick to the following tips from the world's leading payment brand, Visa International, and other financial institutions and you will make sure that this year is a financial success.
l Start by assessing your needs. Ask yourself why you want what you think you want? How would things be different if you had it?
Take a step back and evaluate your current financial situation. Take a broad look at the way things are now. Decide what you want versus what you need.
l Make a plan - whether it's opening a household budget account jointly with your partner or setting goals that you can work towards. Ask yourself where you want to be in five, 10 and 20 years from now.
Once you have this in mind, you can then imagine the action you need to take to achieve those goals.
l Chart it - draw a chart that shows rough guidelines on how much of your income you want to allocate towards different household expenses. For instance, 30percent of your income should be allocated to your housing, 18percent to transportation, 15percent to food and so on.
It should be understood that these should be general guidelines and might differ depending on lifestyle, location and income.
l Calculate your total monthly expenditure by reviewing your credit-card statements, receipts and invoices and create a list of your expenses for the month.
l To create a budget, start by listing all of your sources of income for an average month. Make sure you list the after-tax figures.
l Get your budget starting point from your income then subtract your total expenses from that. If the total comes to less than zero it's time to trim your variable expenses such as entertainment.
l Make an appointment with your bank manager. If the festive season spending has left your credit situation under pressure, banks have a range of innovative products that can alleviate your financial commitments.
l Get into the habit of using a debit card instead of cash. Not only is drawing cash time consuming, but you also run the risk of having it stolen.
In addition, paying with your debit card is more convenient and it also makes it easier to keep track of what you're spending.
l Monitor your credit card spend - credit cards are a great way of paying for something you want and you have 55 days to pay it back. The important thing is to manage your spending and not go overboard. You can always adjust your credit limit to your payback ability.
l Finally, pay yourself and enjoy your money - try to invest in something that will give you a good return. When you've reached your goal or your policy matures, do something amazing with it.