It’s that time of the year where all of you are making resolutions for the new year. While you deliberate on the resolutions you want to make, here is my recommendation of six resolutions that you should make for your financial well-being.
Resolution 1: I will stick to the below spending pattern.
You earn to spend and save. A careful division of how you save and spend can be the difference between ‘being prosperous’ and ‘want to be prosperous’. The ideal range for your spending and saving is outlined below. Your income is divided into four categories – savings, EMI, Non-Discretionary Expenses and Discretionary Expenses. Savings include all commitments into income generating avenues like fixed deposits, recurring deposits, mutual funds and so on. Please DO NOT include insurance premium in this as insurance is not useful for savings. EMI includes all installments being paid whether house, car or a mobile phone. Non-discretionary expenses include all those expenses which are mandatory and unavoidable in nature including grocery, medicines, rent, fuel etc. Discretionary expenses are those which are optional, avoidable and usually fueled by desire. These include partying, pampering yourself with a spa session or any other type of indulgence.
The reds in the table indicate the trouble zone while the greens keep you at a comfortable level. A close look at the numbers above will indicate that the total of all reds exceeds 100% (115%) while those of all greens is well below 100% (85%). This simply means that if you are leaning towards reds, you are in trouble as far as your finances are concerned. You might end up delaying credit card payments, defaulting on a few EMI’s, borrowing from friends and family and so on. Simple stuff – keep the total to around 95% and you will be safe!
Resolution 2: I will use my credit cards
One of the first achievement of your working lives is when the bank gives you a FREE credit card. I have seen and heard a lot of people asking others not to use cards as they are a debt trap. Indeed, they are right! But the problem is not in using the credit card, the problem is in lack of judgment while using the card. Combine your usage of card with resolution 1 and you will never face a problem.
Just a few tricks while using the card and you are never in any trouble: First, ensure the total swipe amount of the month is always less than your bank balance. Second, never convert any credit card purchase into EMI. Third, have an auto payment setup for the last date of payment. So just avail all the offers that come your way for using the credit card while ensuring you do not pay any interest to the credit card company.
Resolution 3: I will follow the 30-60 rule
The numbers 30 and 60 do ring some bells in most youngsters these days! Here is my interpretation of these numbers:
30 – I will not change my mobile phone before 30 months
The number of new phone launches these days is more than the number of diapers a baby needs daily! With so many new phones around, I don’t blame you for getting tempted to replace the ‘latest’ phone you bought a year ago with the ‘latest’ one launched today. This is definitely a big trap as your latest phone will again need a replacement a year from now. So, please promise yourself that you will not change your phone for the next 30 months.
60 – I will not change my car or bike before 60 months.
Similar to your temptation to buy a new phone every year is another temptation – change my car or bike every three years. Make a resolution to not change your car or bike for a minimum of 60 months.
Resolution 4: I will be ‘Penny Wise, Pound Wiser’
A lot of you have forgotten a basic teaching which you learnt in primary school – “Little drops of water makes a tiny ocean”. Use this learning in your finances and you will realize the difference it makes in your bank balance. A couple of examples of implementing this.
First, use apps like Little, Nearbuy, Dineout, Paytm and the likes which offer you deals on stuff ranging from salons to food. A lot of times the difference might be just a few rupees which seems insignificant and not worth putting the extra effort to avail the deal. Do not ignore these few rupees.
Second, use digital payment option while purchasing fuel as you get 0.5% cash back presently. It might just be 10 rupees if you buy fuel worth Rs. 2000 but still why leave that too!
Third, start the practice of not utilizing loose change that you get every time you make a cash purchase. For example, let’s say you buy breakfast and it costs you Rs. 36. You give Rs, 100 to the cashier and returns Rs. 64 back. Do not use the Rs. 4 that you received for spending elsewhere. Instead, end of the day get back home and put it in a piggy box. Do this for all such transactions and you will realize that at the end of the month your piggy box has substantial amount in it which can be used either to save or spend!
Resolution 5: I will balance my present and my future
The current generation is about living life to its fullest and believes firmly in YOLO (You Only Live Once!). The previous generation always believed in saving for the future even if it meant curtailing the current desires. Both these beliefs do have merit and I will reserve my opinion on which is better! For all my young friends out there – you are spot on with your belief. But what you do not know is how long will your life be – you live once but don’t know until when.
While it is important to enjoy the current life, it is equally right to plan for the future too. The right kind of savings will ensure both these aspects of your life are taken care of. This is where a careful financial planning will help. Saving is good but right saving is best! All it takes is a little effort from your side to gain this knowledge which I will be extremely happy to share. Leave your details here for your comprehensive financial plan.
Resolution 6: I will stay focused on my first five resolutions
Most resolutions are broken within the first week and very few of them last a full year. Most of my new year resolutions have not lasted beyond the first few days. But, these are resolutions that do not take a lot of effort to keep and the benefits that they bring are enormous. So, whether you quit smoking or not, whether you reduce your weight or not, whether you start gymming or not – ensure you do not break these resolutions. Follow this and I can definitely wish you a ‘prosperous’ new year!!