If you had zero discipline in 2018, don’t worry – it’s already time to hit reset on those New Year resolutions. New year new you, right? Just try not to let those goals end up in the graveyard of forgotten dreams this 2019.
In addition to doing morning runs and dropping the 5kg you gained over Christmas, save a spot on your 2019 to-do list for some financial “housekeeping”. That’s right – it’s time to check your accounts and weed out those money-sucking culprits in your life.
5 New Year’s Resolutions For Better Finances This 2019
Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions that will do wonders in helping you save, yet aren’t too difficult to keep.
1. Go through your credit card bills
Recurring bills are a nasty thing if left unchecked, but the good news is that it’ll only take a few minutes to go through it and save money each month.
On the first few days of the New Year, collect all your recurring bills from 2018. And not just the monthly ones like phone bills – include annual ones like insurance too.
Now, figure out if you’re able to reduce the amount you pay for each of the bills. Perhaps you can even eliminate some of the costs altogether.
One area where many people can comfortably save cost is phone bills. Are you utilising all those minutes allocated to you? Would you benefit from a more data-heavy plan? When does your contract end?
The telco scene is super competitive, and there’s pretty much a mobile plan for every lifestyle. Research your options and who knows, you might find downgrading your plan or switching to a new telco cheaper.
Another costly recurring expense is home loan repayments. Take a few minutes to see how much money you could save by refinancing your home loan with a bank that’s offering a more attractive interest rate (ahem, you should use the MoneySmart’s mortgage refinancing wizard to compare!).
2. Spring clean your room regularly & sell your stuff on Carousell
Gone are the days of tedious eBay processes – with popular peer-to-peer selling platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Carousell and Gumtree, selling your old belongings have never been easier.
The only thing that’s stopping us from cashing in on our junk is… our laziness.
So this 2019, aim to set aside a weekend every quarter to spring clean your room and take photos of the stuff lying around. It might take you a few hours, but once everything is online you just have to sit back and wait for the offers to roll in.
You’ll not only be eliminating clutter and getting rid of those horrible clothing items you’re embarrassed to admit you own, but also earning yourself a bit of spare cash.
3. Update your career goals
Most of us go through work day after work day in a daze, with barely a second to breathe and reflect on why we’re working so damn hard in the first place.
Has it been 3 years in your dead-end job already?
Take some time during the end-of-year holidays to reflect on where your career is headed, and where you want to be in the future. There is no use toiling away without a clear career strategy.
Set out your career aspirations and think about how you plan to get there. Put everything down on paper so you can refer to it for motivation or when faced with tough career decisions.
Have no idea what you want out of your career? Then make it your mission to figure out what your goals are in 2019. Read as much as you can, talk to others in your industry and collect information on the various career paths open to you.
Lucky for you, MoneySmart has a ton of helpful career-related articles in case you need more inspiration, tips and tricks.
4. Upgrade yourself with a Skills Future course
On a related note, the employment landscape is shifting, and according to The Straits Times, 2019 is the year of analytical and data-driven jobs.
It seems that the demand will be for data scientists, product manager, user experience (UX) designers, and digital roles, especially cyber security-related. If you’re not already savvy with these technologies, why not pad up your resume by taking a course on it?
Boosting your employability is a great New Year’s resolution to have. So good that the government supports it – take advantage of the SkillsFuture credits and take a “free” course to upgrade your skills.
If there is a specific course you’d like to take but it’s not SkillsFuture-eligible, you can always put in a request with your boss. If it’s truly relevant and can help in your productivity, there’s no reason why the company wouldn’t want to sponsor you.
Additionally, if you’re feeling a little too comfortable with your day-to-day tasks, you should speak to your boss about expanding your portfolio. Try taking on new tasks and trying new things to broaden your skillset.
Even if you’re not looking to job-hop so quickly, these new skills may come in handy next time.
4. Review your investment portfolio & insurance plans
In case you didn’t realise, retirement in Singapore isn’t all that cushy – not unless you’re a crazy rich Asian who’s heir to a ridiculous fortune anyway. So what then?
Well, sound financial planning is key to helping you achieve long-term financial goals like, uh, not having to work till you die.
Sorry to say, your work isn’t done even if you’ve painstakingly put together an investment portfolio and bought all the right insurance products. For optimal results (read: ka-ching!), you’ll need to review your investment and insurance plans regularly to ensure they’re still serving you well so you can make changes if needed.
In general, your investment needs change over time according to your age and risk appetite. So while you might have put most of your moolah into growth stocks when you were younger, you might want to shift your cash to blue chips when you’re older and more risk-averse.
It’s also a good idea to review your insurance plans from time to time, or reassess your insurance needs.
For instance, you might not have bothered to buy life insurance when you were younger, but if you recently started a family, that’s definitely something you’ll want to consider.
Also, the vast majority of people sign up for medical insurance plans without actually reading the policy. If you last time bodoh and don’t actually know what you’re currently paying for, commit to reviewing your existing plans and shopping around for a better policy.
You can do so using MoneySmart’s health insurance wizard, but don’t forget to go for a check-up to ensure you have no pre-existing conditions first.
What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2019? Share them with us in the comments!