We all know about the importance of setting and striving for specific goals in our lives, but frequently it's harder to do than we thought. We all know the basic tenets of budgeting and saving, but putting them into effective practice can sometimes come to nothing. We talk to Grace, who is striving to meet her savings goal to buy a home for her family. She discusses the obstacles she faces and hears from two experts on how'stay on track and achieve your goals without losing sight of what matters.
37, oncology nurse, mother of two, saving for a house
At the moment, my main financial focus is saving for a home. My husband and I have been renting for seven years with our two small children and we're ready to be able to hang some family photos without wondering what the landlord might say.
We're both employed and split our incomes between our rent, a mortgage on an investment property, bills and childcare. Whatever is left at the end of the month is put towards our deposit fund. I do have a credit card, but I've had to reign in my use of it to eliminate unnecessary spending, or at least attempt to!
My knowledge of where our money goes every month is a little hazy. We have individual accounts and a joint account and between all the little expenses and then larger chunks such as an annual holiday (a necessity with two little ones!) or motor tax, it feels like our accounts just drain before we know it.
With renting, while we like our current place and its location, I can always hear the tone of surprise in peoples? voices when they discover our young family is still in rented accommodation. We're in a position where we can wait for our perfect home but there is certainly a pressure in Ireland to put your earnings in bricks and mortar, even after the recession.
The other thing is that I worry about planning too far ahead. As an oncology nurse I experience the worst moments in people's lives every day and I have seen plans crumble under the weight of life's realities. I am bubbly by nature and really like to live in the moment and embrace everything but I sometimes wonder if it holds me back from making such a big commitment to a home.
The Experts Advice...
Sinead Ryan and Shalini Sinha. Photo: Al Higgins
Sinead Ryan, Personal Finance Expert says?
It's great that you're already in the habit of saving and are aware of the danger of a credit card. Lets start with the simple changes you can make to get a clearer picture of your finances. First of all, be more active in your savings and put whatever money you can away at the beginning of the month, rather than waiting until the end. Why not swap your multiple current accounts for a few savings accounts instead? That way, as your income comes in you'll have a better idea where everything is going, as well as save yourself a few hundred euros on banking fees every year. Savings accounts are free to set up and many people find it easier to save when they name them by their different purposes (house, holiday, or rainy day fund) and consistent savings are exactly what a bank looks for when it comes to applying for a mortgage.
If renting suits you, don't feel like you need buy right away. Renting can give you a number of freedoms that owning your home can't and why shouldn't you wait for your ideal home, it's your earnings and your family.
Shalini Sinha, Life Coach says?
Remember to take time for yourself. Any position in which you're a carer, whether it be a mum or nurse, can be overwhelming and sometimes isolating. Meet friends, go for coffee, take a half hour out of every day to read, there's no guilt in taking some me-time. You need to look after yourself before you can expect to look after others.
It's completely understandable that you might be somewhat shy about planning ahead but you need to be prepared for what might come, even if it does include a few curveballs! Planning ahead helps focus the mind and helps to remove stresses you might be unwittingly holding on to.
To find out more about setting up a savings account with the savings specialists, RaboDirect visit RaboDirect.ie or call 1850 882 244
*Based on a survey of 570 Image Publication's digital subscribers.
Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A trading as RaboDirect, is licenced by the Dutch Central Bank in the Netherlands and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Terms and conditions apply. RaboDirect is part of the Rabobank Group?