It’s that time of the year again—a fresh start considering the previous year that has challenged everyone in one way or another. This is the time of the year when most people are motivated to come up with their very own list of resolutions and take action. However, resolutions are easier said than done and can be very challenging to achieve once the momentum is lost.
And when it comes to managing finances, resolutions can only do so much. So, instead of writing down a long (and sometimes intimidating) list of financial resolutions this year, why not focus on building new financial habits that would help you achieve financial freedom?
- Set meaningful financial goals and put them into writing
Knowing your money is going toward something you really want to achieve makes all the difference. Contrary to what a lot of people think, financial goals don’t need to be big-time. You can start with small objectives such as paying off all your debts, and just grow them along the way into the likes of saving up for your first property.
Determining how much money or resources are needed and whether these goals are for short-, mid- or long-term would also make your financial goals more measurable and attainable. Upon setting your goals, just simply get into the habit of writing them down and updating or reviewing your progress at least once a month.
- Create a budget and use it to guide your spending
Creating a budget can help you feel more in control of your finances. Being able to see the numbers in black and white can give a valuable perspective on where your money usually goes (and where it doesn’t) as well as how you can manage it better moving forward. In essence, your budget prevents you from spending money on things that are not important so that you have money to spend on the things that you do find important.
Like your goals, make sure you review your budget every month to identify certain areas which might need some adjustments or improvements.
- Build your emergency fund by depositing to it monthly
With the uncertainties of this time, having an emergency fund has never been more important. An emergency fund is money you set aside in case of emergency situations such as unemployment, sudden hospitalization, and accidents. Ideally, this should be 3-6 months of your monthly expenses.
A good habit that would help you build your emergency fund without hurting your wallet is by committing to monthly deposits of around 10-20% of your monthly salary. But regardless of the amount that you deposit, what’s important is being consistent in your monthly emergency fund deposits and developing the habit of saving.
- Pay your bills and debt on time (or earlier)
Being consistent with your monthly payments can be quite a struggle. There are times when it’s difficult to pay off debt and dues due to several unforeseen circumstances, and sometimes, the deadlines just happened to slip your mind. However, a simple trick to lessen the burden of paying a huge amount of debt is to pay early or twice per month, if possible. Frequent payments on top of your minimum monthly dues also suggests that you’re a responsible borrower. Some banks and financial institutions even reward good payers with certain perks.
But if you’re struggling to pay on time due to the inconvenience and time-consuming nature of going to payment centers, then you might want to consider paying online instead. With the various fintech apps available right now, payments for loans, credit cards, and bills have become easier, faster, and more secure than ever.
An example of this is the My Home Credit app, which provides customers with an existing Home Credit account or loan online payment options where they can conveniently settle their loans and credit card bills at the comfort of their homes. The app also allows Home Credit Card users to settle their bills payments for water, electricity, internet, cable, and many more with no additional convenience fees. Those who need to buy load online can also get 5% off through the app.
- Use money-saving apps when shopping or going out
In rare occasions when you would like to treat yourself by shopping or having a nice dinner with family and friends, it’s still important to keep your spending in check. Sure, it’s unavoidable that there will be days when you just want to go out and not worry about how much money you’re spending. However, not everyone has this luxury, and oftentimes, this develops into a bad financial habit in the long run.
A simple tip to lessen your expenses when shopping and eating out is to utilize money-saving apps that will provide you with major discounts. Apps like the My Home Credit app, which has a loyalty program called Smile, can give you up to 50% discounts at Home Credit partner stores. By preparing your budget ahead of time and choosing to buy or dine at stores that offer discounts, you can still practice being mindful of your spending when going out.