There’s no doubt now that we are in a real cost of living crisis. Costs for everything are going up; utilities, mortgages, food… the list goes on.

However, some people still want to try and sensibly prepare for the future. The media are constantly speculating on whether interest rates are going up, by how much and when, and it’s really tricky to try and get a handle on the economic situation.

One way I’ve tried to manage it is to make short, medium and long term financial goals. I’m very much working towards trying to retire before the state pension age, and have a investment nest-egg to tide me over between my working years, and pension. I’m also really unsure whether it’s worth trying to overpay on my mortgage vs saving etc. I’ve tried playing around with various online calculators  to give me a bit of an idea about how much I should be saving every month. This is at least helping me to focus on how much I should be saving/investing, and whether this matches up with what I can afford. I’m very much focused on the longer term when it comes to investing, so what I don’t want to do is get over ambitious with my investing, and then not be able to access it if I need it.

Other options would be a spreadsheet, or old fashioned pen and paper and a good knowledge of economics!

For me, I’m trying to still keep my budget fairly strict to still be allowing for some long term savings and investments, even though I’m finding everything is squeezed. It is tricky, but I personally think it’s worth cutting one or two luxuries for the sake of maintaining a long term back-up plan.

I guess ultimately it’s all a real balance – between optimism and realism and planning and calculating. I know we don’t have a crystal ball for when it comes to financial planning, but I still like to think that some planning is better than none.