Finance
From starting a ‘no-buy’ month to using a money management app, here’s how you can keep your financial goals in 2019.

Here’s a fun fact: The second Friday of January is known as ‘Quitter’s Day.’ Research by the team behind the fitness app, Strava, has shown that on this day, the majority of the app’s 31.5 million respondents gave up on their resolutions. As we near the third Friday of January, take a moment to think about the status of your resolutions. Are you still avoiding sugar? Still going to the gym? Still on track to save more money than you ever have before?

Failing a resolution is not about willpower as much as it is about poor planning, unrealistic expectations and not being specific. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Tackle your money goals for 2019 with these five resolutions.

Resolution 1: Go on a No-Buy for a month

A No-Buy month is when you simply don’t buy. No shopping (except for groceries and provisions), no eating out and no movies. Wear the clothes you have, read the books that are aging in your shelf, pack lunch from home (delete those food delivery apps!) and make the most of your TV/movie subscriptions. Going on a no-buy teaches you two important things – how to live with what you have and how quickly ‘small’ things add up. I can personally attest to how much more conscious you become of what you buy when you embark on this exercise. Try it once every three months. You’ll be amazed at the money that you save by the end of it.

Resolution 2: Set a fixed monthly savings goal

This is a great way to save for a dream purchase – whether it’s a holiday or a house or jewellery or a luxury item that you aren’t able to afford. Start with how much your dream item will cost (if you’re thinking about a house or car, your starting point will be the down payment. Aim for 30% of the total) and divide by 12. If that sounds too ambitious, don’t fret – you can always save over two to three years or tweak the amount to suit your situation. Once you’ve arrived at a number that you’re comfortable with and allows for spending, create a net-banking instruction to auto debit the amount the day after you get your salary to a recurring deposit account. This will ensure that your spending only happens after saving. It’ll be hard at first, but when you reach your goal, it’ll be worth it.

Resolution 3: Do Your Research

2019 is a momentous year for India as the ruling party will face elections in June. The political environment of a country has a deep impact on the way its markets function. Therefore, chances are that there might be instability as the elections approach and after the results are out. If you’re new to investing, now is not the time to dive in. Instead, take this time to read about how the markets work and about the type of investments that will best suit your goals. If you’re already investing, review their performance. If your goal is for the long term (say, 15 to 20 years), then you won’t have to necessarily rejig since the longer time period irons out any kinks in value. However, it is good to check on your investments at least every six to 12 months.

Resolution 4: Use A Money Management App

Make money management a habit by using personal finance apps to track your spending and your saving. Apps like DollarBird, DailyBudget and Fudget are free to use and will give you a visual representation of how much you’re spending and how much you’re saving. Tracking your money is a lot like tracking your calories. It’s only when you embark on the exercise do you realise how much you’re unnecessarily spending! Knowing that you’re going to be adding a negative figure into your budget will also deter you from spending, or at the very least, make you think twice.   

Resolution 5: It’s Never Too Late and It’s OK to Fail (Sometimes)

It doesn’t matter if you start at the third week of January or even the third week of March – it’s never too late or too early to get started on a good habit. It’s equally important to remember that failure is not a reason to quit. It’s OK to falter from time to time, as long as your pick yourself back up. If you fail on a resolution, don’t write off the rest of the year. Ask yourself why it happened and modify your resolution if you have to – but make yourself promise not to quit this year.

This is a monthly column on finance. Write to us with your queries at rupeerani@thenewsminute.com.