First, Happy new year! Wishing you all the blessings for this season and beyond.

One peculiar thing about the new year is the need to make new plans, especially in the area of finances. This is very important to do as a woman, irrespective of whatever field you currently are.

Financial planning is an ongoing process that would help you make sound decisions about your money.

It is very easy to not plan. To just spend the money as it comes into our hands. However, when situations come along and there is a need to meet an unidentified or unforeseen financial need, we are usually left stranded. This is what having a financial plan helps to avoid.

However, the hardest thing about making a financial plan sometimes is just getting started.  This step-by-step guide will help you in developing a realistic financial plan.

The process is surprisingly very easy. The first thing to do is:


1. Access your Current Financial Situation:

This means to look at what you have currently and separate your assets from your liabilities. By liabilities, we mean debts.

According to Arese Ugwu, author of the Smart Money Woman, it is extremely important to face your debts head on. In fact, that's the first step to actually settling them.

Pick up a pen and paper and start writing. Who do you owe? How much do you owe? What do you need to do to get the debts settled?, etc. At this point of your planning, things become clearer and you might begin to see that there just might be certain dispensable things at your possession that you can sell off to settle your debts.

Having separated your debts, you are left with what you actually have to spend. The next thing to do is to:


2. Create a Budget:

Once you have an idea of what you have to spend in a month, you can begin to organize your recorded expenses into a workable budget.

According to answer article published by the Bank of America, your budget should outline how your expenses measure up to your income so you can plan your spending and limit overspending.

In addition to your monthly expenses however , it is important to factor in expenses that occur regularly but not every month, such as car maintenance, hair maintenance, etc.

After this is done, the next thing to do is:


3. Set a goal.

At this point, you are probably just rolling your eyes because didn’t you set goals last year?

Yes, you did.

Research, however, shows that one of the reasons people do not meet their goals is because they failed to set it the SMART way.

The word SMART is an acronym that stands for the following:

S- Specific

M- Measurable

A- Actionable

R- Realistic

T- Time-bound

With this in mind, when you are setting your goals, don't just say I want to have saved by the end of the January. Instead, make your goal as specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound as going to save 5000 every week and have 20000 in savings by the end of January.

That way, your goals become more achievable.

We hope this article helped. Happy new year again.