Updated: December 1, 2023
The best time to think of a New Year’s resolution is in December because you’ll have time to find one that’s meaningful and achievable.
Too often, people simply go to the default goal of “I’ll start saving money” for the new year, which isn’t exactly bad, but it’s too vague to be actionable.
What I mean is, how exactly are you planning to save money?
Are you suddenly going to watch your every spending and avoid buying non-essential things? That’s going to take a lot of willpower. And anything that requires a lot of willpower becomes unsustainable quickly.
This is why those who resolve to simply “start saving money” for the New Year eventually break their resolution by the end of January.
If you want your financial resolution to “start saving money” to stick, then you need to have a more practical and actionable goal. One that’s concrete, specific, and easy to follow – but whose end result is eventually creating that surplus cash in your bank account.
And that’s why you need time to think about your New Year’s resolution — so you can find one that suits your lifestyle and environment.
To help you, here are three financial resolutions to choose from. You can do just one or all of them. Or you can use them as inspiration to come up with your own financial resolution for the New Year.
1. I’ll set up an automatic savings and/or investment plan.
If you don’t like making an effort to save, then just make it automatic. Set up a system that automatically debits a fixed amount from your salary account into a separate savings or investment account.
Start with your own bank and ask if they offer an auto-save or auto-invest service. Moreover, ask your HR if the accounting or finance department of your company offers this service.
For savings, the ones I know are BPI Save Up and Landbank Auto Save. For those who want to auto-invest, there’s the BPI Regular Subscription Plan, BDO Easy Investment Plan, PNB Auto Invest Plan, and many others.
I like this “resolution” because all the effort is just in the beginning. Once you’re done setting it up, then you can just sit back and relax for the rest of the year as your savings automatically builds and grows.
2. I’ll always use cash for unnecessary expenses.
This is a good resolution for those who want to stop impulse buying.
Commit to never using your credit card, debit card, or even your digital wallet when buying or spending on something that’s not important. Everything must be paid with cash from your wallet.
Eating at a restaurant with friends? Pay in cash.
Saw something you like online? Choose cash-on-delivery.
Buying health supplements? If it’s not doctor-prescribed, then it’s non-essential. Pay with cash.
Our psychological aversion to loss makes it painful to see ourselves paying (and losing) cash, something that we don’t experience when electronically paying for stuff. So hopefully, following this resolution will make you spend less on unnecessary things.
Now, you might be thinking – can you just find an ATM and withdraw money? Yes, of course. But finding an ATM to get cash requires effort that you’ll often choose to just skip the purchase.
Lastly, if you’re finding it hard to follow this resolution, then try to leave all your cards at home when going out and maintain a zero balance in your digital wallet. Just bring enough cash for what you’re planning to do outside.
For emergencies, which rarely happen, you can just message or call your family or a friend for help.
3. I’ll do and complete the PISO Challenge.
This saving strategy only has two steps. Step 1 is to get a piggy bank. And step 2 is to save one peso (P1.00) every day for 90 days.
If this sounds silly, then I encourage you to listen to the podcast episode to understand the psychology behind it, which is something I learned from a book by Stephen Guise entitled, “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results”.
In recent years, other money-saving challenges have also become popular and you can definitely try those as well if you want something more challenging. Namely, there’s the 52-Week Challenge, the P10,750 Ipon Challenge, and the P50 Challenge.
But if you’re looking for a saving challenge that’s super-easy to complete, then try my PISO Challenge. But make sure to listen to the podcast to fully understand why this works and what you should do after completing the 90-day requirement.
When doing a New Year’s resolution, it’s important to have a plan, to have concrete and actionable steps to follow.
These steps should fit your lifestyle and environment. Don’t make big changes all at once. And it’s recommended to do things that don’t need a lot of willpower so as to increase the chances of making a permanent change in your behavior and habits.
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