Opinion

5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Singaporean Should Make For 2016

Joanne Poh

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So, did you manage to keep any of the New Year’s resolutions you made at the end of last year? If your year went anything like ours did, your resolution to lose 10 kilos resulted in your losing 10 bucks at mahjong instead. Well, you can relax now, because 2015 is almost over and it’s time to make a whole new set of resolutions for 2016.

 

1. Master at least three dishes in the kitchen

We’ve already found out that Singapore is second only to the USA in terms of the proportion of diabetics in the population, unhealthy diets and eating out to much clearly being the culprits. And most of you actually want to eat at home, if only you didn’t have diarrhoea-inducing cooking skills.

If you take half an hour just to slice a tomato and are incapable of cooking anything without the YouTube tutorial playing on your phone at the same time, this New Year’s resolution will seriously contribute to your ability to eat at home more often.

Instead of promising to become a MasterChef finalist by the end of 2016, just commit to mastering three dishes in the kitchen. It’s that simple. It may take a couple of tries, but once you have three solid dishes under your belt, making them becomes a no-brainer and you’ll finally be able to eat at home without having to spend two hours on Google.

 

2. Cut out one recurring monthly cost

It’s one thing to blow all your money on a shopping spree on stuff you can see with your own eyes—you know very well the reason you’re now broke, so go self-flagellate now.

But recurring monthly costs, usually for subscriptions you’ve already forgotten about, are much more insidious. They siphon your money even without your realising it. This year, cut out one recurring monthly cost.

Chances are you’ll find one subscription you’ve totally forgotten about and can comfortably get rid of with minimal suffering. Maybe you can axe that gym membership you subscribed to when you made your new year resolutions for 2015. Other possibilities include subscriptions to trashy magazines and cable TV channels.

 

3. Buy one item second-hand instead of new

Singaporeans are already forced to buy new cars thanks to the COE system, but you’d think there was a 10 year certificate on virtually everything else, because it’s almost taboo to use anything that looks old or shabby. People replace their smartphones every one or two years, and we use Chinese New Year as an excuse to update our wardrobes.

We’re not saying you need to start shopping at the Salvation Army. But to save yourself a bit of cash, commit to buying just one item second-hand instead of new this coming year.

Perhaps you want to learn to play the guitar for the first time. Get a used one on Carousell instead of buying brand new so you don’t lose as much money when you discover you’re tone deaf.

 

4. Do not incur any bad debt

This resolution is a lot easier to keep than the one you made last year about attaining the physique of Brad Pitt / Angelina Jolie. All you have to do is avoid incurring any bad debt all year, so you don’t join the ranks of the 85,352 Singaporeans with unsecured debt.

Note that debt that’s incurred because it will pay off later, like for your education or to purchase a home, is good debt.

Bad debt, on the other hand, is money that is spent on depreciating assets or stuff that’s going to be worth less somewhere down the road. That includes any credit card bills you can’t pay, cash advances or personal loans to cover your shopping sprees and car loans.

Save your shopping sprees for 2017, or never.

 

5. Invest part of your bonus

Bonus time in Singapore is even more hotly anticipated than Christmas, but before you spend your entire bonus on gold rims for your car, make the New Year’s resolution to invest at least part of your bonus.

You might have long argued that you didn’t have enough money to invest, but now that your boss is basically giving you a chunk of money that’s not part of your salary, stop making excuses.

In 2015, SGX started allowing people to buy shares in small lot sizes of 100 shares—just 10% of the previous minimum share lot.

If you’re tempted to blow your bonus on clothes again, think of what you did with last year’s bonus… and never make the same mistake again. Not sure where to start? Follow us on Facebook as we continue to share some basics on how to grow your money in the year ahead.

What are your new year’s resolutions for 2016? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.