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How to Set Financial Goals on an Impossible Budget.


How to set financial goals on an impossible budget.

The cost of living in South Africa is quite scary, to say the very least. What was a salary or an earning that once made you smile as an individual; is now a salary that makes you frown with all the expenditures one may have. It would be easier to point out that these expenditures aren't necessary however, most of them are very much crucial for our survival. Where there is a will, there is a way. My way is setting financial goals with your budget.

In this article, I share some insight on how to set financial goals on an impossible budget.


To kick things off, we should define what financial goals are.

Financial goals are financial needs that you, as an individual would like to achieve in the future. These achievements can be things like saving for stationery, saving for a family event that you have been planning for ages, such as a wedding/unveiling of tombstones, or even other events that are very much significant to you. These events can be short-term financial goals. Long-term goals can include saving for your children’s education or even saving for your retirement. The truth is, to save for financial goals, you need to stick to a budget. A budget is a way that can assist you to reach your goals and live a better life.

What is a budget?

Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your money. This spending plan is called a budget. Creating this spending plan allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money to do the things you need to do or would like to do. (

With the cost of living rising in South Africa, salaries remain the same. This issue then puts pressure on the budget. Where am I going with this? Now is the perfect time more than ever to develop good money habits. To do this, you may have to review your bad money habits.

A list of possible bad money habits includes:

  • Using airtime advance frequently.
  • Buying clothes on credit.
  • Gambling with hopes to make a quick buck.
  • Borrowing money from loan sharks.

Just to emphasis how bad it is to borrow money from loan sharks; loan sharks charge 30% - 40% of the amount you took. So essentially, you are losing money when you borrow it. I feel it's not worth it however I do understand that many South Africans are faced with difficult situations that need money.

A list of good money habits that assist you in not spending money you don’t have include:

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  • Using airtime advance only in case of an emergency.
  • Lay-bye clothes instead of buying them on credit.
  • Purchase clothes during the sale season.

Sticking to a budget is not easy and requires discipline. Discipline requires you to be strict and honest with yourself. Letting go of unhealthy financial habits creates an opportunity to save money and be able to achieve some of those financial goals that you have set for yourself.


You should set financial goals with your budget and give it three months using various healthy money habits. Cut down on that coke or takeaways each week and watch how easy it becomes to manage money.

One method I recommend when starting your budgeting journey is applying the 50/30/20 rule.

Broken down further, 50% of your income is for your needs. Your needs could be your bills that must be paid; this can be your car installment, bond installment, and loans if you borrowed from the bank.

30% is for your wants. Wants may include entertainment or purchasing items that have always been on your wish list. These items can include the latest sports watch you have been itching to purchase.

20% is your savings. Your savings can be a contribution towards your investments, retirement savings, or emergency savings account.

There are many ways you can use to start your budgeting journey. If you do your research, you will find there are apps for budgeting. To mention a few, you can use Fudget: Budget Planner Tracker, Mint (iPhone), 22Seven, and more.

Don't feel the pressure when thinking about how to budget and using your budget to set your financial goals. Do your research and take baby steps.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Zanele Mokoatle

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