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It’s January and the Year of Horse is around the corner. It’s a perfect time to make new year resolutions. In addition to spending more time with your loved ones, and leading a healthier lifestyle, have you added financial goals to your list?

Taking stock of your financial health is as important as your mental and physical wellness as it helps you achieve your life goals. Take the following steps to develop good money management habits and make your money go further:

  • Create a budget: A great place to kick off your new year money resolutions is to create a budget. Once you have done so, you can better understand where your money goes, prioritise your needs and wants, and manage your budget to make ends meet. Start now with our budget planner.
  • Cut back expenses: If you are spending more than you earn, use the budget planner to identify areas to cut back non-essential items. Even if you are living within your means, it’s always a good idea to find ways to reduce expenses, such as eating out, entertainment and shopping.
  • Budget for festive spending: The Chinese New Year is approaching, you can act now to draw up a budget for your CNY spending. First, determine how much you can afford to spend, then look over your list to make sure it does not exceed your planned budget.
  • Make a shopping list: One of many wise spending tips is make a shopping list which you can avoid impulse purchases. Stay focused on the list when you face with an array of mouth-watering and fabulous CNY delicacies and gifts in supermarkets and department stores.
  • Downshift to save money: Also, don’t just look at the packaging and brands, it’s important to compare prices. Sometimes you find branded goods may not necessarily better than the non-branded ones. Less brand-conscious and purchasing only the necessity can help cut cost significantly.
  • Build emergency fund: When you have surplus funds (especially after you have received red packets during CNY), build up an emergency fund of at least three to six months to cover any unexpected crisis or risk in life. No one thinks that they really need to take a step back when everything is good, but it’s always good practice to provide enough financial cushions.
  • Set savings goals: What are your financial goals, going for vacation, buying a house, getting married? Are these goals realistic under your financial position? Take this opportune time to set savings goals for 2014 or even a longer term, for example paying off your debt and credit card bills, the down payment on your new home, or a trip to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Once you have set your goals, you can use our savings goal calculator to work out how much you will need to save regularly and how long it will take to reach your savings goal.
  • Get started with long-term financial planning: If you haven’t done so yet, work out your financial plan with a feasible regular savings and investment target to meet your goals. A holistic financial plan not only involves investing money and building your wealth; but also your credit and tax obligations, everyday spending, planning for wedding, setting up your home, saving for education fund for your children, saving for your retirement, as well as protection for you and your family through buying suitable insurance policies and conducting estate arrangement. Act now.
  • Review financial plan: Like a healthy diet and an exercise plan, a budget and a savings plan are only as good as how well you stick to them. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set up a time to review your personal finances on regular basis, say every week. Also, maintain a checklist to keep track of how you are doing throughout the year, so that you can make any necessary modifications on your financial plan. If needed, you may meet with your financial adviser to review your goals and plans regularly as well.

For more tips and tools to plan and manage your finances, visit our financial planning and money management content sections.

We wish you good health and prosperity in the New Year.