It's the middle of December and if you aren't talking about Christmas; you're probably talking about what kind of a year 2015 was and what you hope 2016 will be. No conversation about the new year will be complete without a discussion on new year resolutions.
Whilst 'saving money' is a very common item on most resolution lists - it is often followed by other resolutions that can sneakily undermine it's effectiveness.
We took a look at the most common resolutions that crop up and how these promises are may wreak havoc on your finances if you didn't plan them well enough.
"I Will Go to the Gym More Often"
Tied into the motivation to lose weight and be healthier; the resolution to go to the gym more often is not a bad one in itself. It's just a little bit of a problem if you didn't have a membership in the first place and need to pay for one!
Gym membership costs in KL range from RM160-RM250 per month depending on the package, plan and outlet location. Whilst this doesn't seem like a lot; it adds up over the year. Couple it with parking fees and you've got a good lot of cash trickling out of your pocket - whether or not you actually stick to your resolution.
Fix: Instead of vowing to go to the gym; why not find other ways to exercise for free? Some time back, we did give you a few ideas on how to get fit without breaking the bank, so check that out before you sign up for an expensive gym membership!
There are also smaller gyms peppered around the city in shoplots and apartments. You can even try per-entry payment gyms just in case you end up not using the membership over time. Of course, do a cost comparison. If your per entry plan works out the same as a full membership then you can decide to invest in the latter.
"I Will Eat Healthier"
There are many ways one can opt to eat healthier but not all of them will be easy on the bank account. If it is choosing a sandwich over roti canai for your breakfast - it's not such a big deal but what if you suddenly decided it would only be organic and premium produce only?
Organic produce and premium groceries can cost more than 5x the price of regular grocery items and unless your budget is ready for such a splurge; you could find yourself in a bit of a hock.
Fix: Do eat healthier but if you find organic produce too expensive to form the sole lining of your meal plans - opt to mix it up with non-organic produce too.
It would also help to shop smart and make use of credit card benefits when you buy your essentials. You can get so much more for your money with a little know-how.
"I Will Spend More on Experiences"
It has often been said in many articles on the web that happiness is most often the by product of spending money on experiences as opposed to things. This encourages folk to resolve to spend more on experiences such as travel and going out.
Whilst it's not a bad thing to want to cleave more happiness out of the money you spend - the risk is present that in the zeal to replace shopping with travelling, you end up spending more on the latter than you ever did when you were shopping.
Fix: Avoid the risk of overspending on your vacations and new experiences by having a budget handy. Consider how much you spend on shopping in a year and make sure your new-found love for travel is not overtaking that amount by leaps and bounds.
You can also make use of our many tips on how to save when travelling and use your credit card for airmiles that translate into cheaper trips.
Whilst new experiences are priceless to us - they have a very definite price tag when it comes time to pay up!
"I Will Make More Money"
Now who doesn't want to make more money any time of the year? It's definitely an honourable effort to want to work harder to earn more and we're 100% all for it. If of course, it's being done prudently.
The desire to hit the jackpot can sometimes make people a little less careful about the schemes they get into and where they decide to invest their money. Scams and get-rich-quick schemes abound in Malaysia and if one isn't careful - the will to get more money is going to cost you.
Fix: Invest your time, money and efforts the right way by doing your homework and talking to reputable professionals based on how you'd like to earn more money.
For example, if interested in investing, get in touch with a Bursa Malaysia registered broker and get to know trading norms before jumping in headlong. For new business opportunities, always do your own homework and never commit ALL of your savings if you can help it. Talking to a personal financial advisor will help too.
Practice prudence when looking to make more money and you'll be less likely to cause serious damage to your finances.
Don't Forget the Money Aspect When Making Resolutions
Resolutions are all about helping us live better lives and in turn become better people. But in pursuit of these resolutions - don't forget the attached money element. It always pays to get your finances in order along with everything else.
There are always ways to achieve your goal without putting your financial empire at risk so do plan and execute your resolutions carefully.