New Year's Resolution: Money Matters

So you've got your New Year's resolution. We've all heard it more charitable, exercise more, eat healthier food, take more vacations and so on. But when it comes to saving money for a rainy day, our piggy banks resemble more of a skinny coyote rummaging for scraps. I am no financial expert of sorts but I'd like to share with you some tips that I've been following through to help manage my own finances better.

1. Eat out less. This is a difficult one, even for me. I love trying out new places to eat and I get lazy during weekdays that I end up eating out for lunch, plus it's nice to enjoy the camaraderie with co-workers while eating out during lunch breaks but sometimes that takes a silent but deadly beating to your savings. Instead, bring packed meals like salads (I get mine at Trader Joe's) to work and pick out one day of the week to eat out, aside from special occasions.

2. Wait for shops to go on sale. Unless you're eyeing on items that never go on sale like a Louis Vuitton, Hermes or Chanel purse, that thing that you're itching to buy at full price will DEFINITELY go on sale, so be patient. Stores usually need to push items off the shelves by the end of each season (or each month!) so keep a close watch during those times. Better yet, befriend a sales associate/manager to get the latest scoop on markdowns and sales or simply sign-up for their mailing list!

Image by Stuart Miles;
3. Choose Quality OVER Quantity. This is pretty much a supplement to #2. Just because it's ON SALE, it doesn't mean that you should buy it. I know it's cheap, it's 70% off, it's buy one get one free---but are you really going to use it or is it going to end up into the deepest darkest crevices of your closet? One time, I came across such great steals from Prada but the prints were so hideous and the fit wasn't right...but it's still a Prada so I should just buy it, right? Wrong. Remember, there will always be something better every season. If you're having second thoughts, skip it and your wallet will thank you for it.

4. Credit cards can be your friend or your worst nemesis. Pay your balance in full every month--- if you can't do that, it only means that you cannot afford to make these purchases. Your credit card should be something to fall back on in case of emergencies like hospitalizations, travel emergencies, etc. Get a card that fits your lifestyle and rewards you for it. For example, if you're a frequent flier, it's best to opt for a card that offers great rewards on travel purchases such as airline tickets, hotel accommodations, etc.

5. Upgrade your electronics only when you really have to. You don't need to buy the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy or MacBook Air if you just bought one a year ago. How different can the latest one be from the previous model? Does the latest one have an app to (discretely!) scratch your butt for you? If the answer is yes, then I want to know where you got it 'coz I want one, pronto! 

I know these tips seem rather simple but the key to successfully save money is having self-control. You can always say you'll save and never dip your hands into your savings account but something will always come up because, well...that's life. God forbid something catastrophic happens, you better have some financial cushion to break the fall. So before making that purchase, ask yourself: Can I really afford it? And even if I can, will it be a good investment?

If managing your finances is too much for you, scrap this whole article and put your hoochie heels on, 'coz you're about to dig some gold, gold diggah! Just keeeding.


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