When I was a kid, my elders told me that putting coins in a bag and shaking them attracted money and good fortune for the year ahead.
Of course, we can’t always rely on traditions and luck to bring us the resources we need. As much as you must create your own wealth, you also need to have a master plan to control your finances. With discipline and a bit of ingenuity, you can achieve your financial goals while also having enough to spend on items you want.
Here are some ideas for spending, shopping, and saving kick off 2017.
Organize your clothes and other items using the popular KonMari method.
Declutter, then sell pre-loved items.
Most people have a lot of unused clothes, bags, toys, or gadgets just lying around the house. One of the things you can do to welcome the New Year right is to organize your home
. A method for decluttering that has gained popularity recently is the KonMari method by Japanese lifestyle expert Marie Kondo. It involves asking yourself if the item in question “sparks joy.” If it does not , you acknowledge first the service that the item has brought by saying “thank you” to it before letting it go.
After figuring out which items you will keep and which ones to discard, you can sell your pre-loved items
online or at a local bazaar. Nowadays there are websites like OLX or apps like Carousell which lets ordinary people like you and me sell their stuff for some extra cash. You can then use the cash earned from selling your old things to buy new ones, or better yet save it for a rainy day.
While I have yet to try the KonMari method at home, in the past, I have donated old clothes to a local orphanage or to fire victims. While there may not be profit involved, being able to help people in need, no matter how small, gives you a natural high that earning money cannot give—that, plus letting you realize that you don’t really need to accumulate so much stuff in your closet or at your home as a whole.
Save up on electronics by buying older phone models.
Choose to buy affordable electronics. With new models coming out every year or so, spending a fortune on a mobile phone is not a smart move. The initial high of having a cool new gadget wears off after sometime. Similarly, the value of electronics decreases over time as more recent models are released.
If you don’t mind not having the latest and greatest in smartphone technology
, you can save some extra cash by buying older phone models. This year for instance, Apple released new iPhone 7 models in September, causing prices for older models to drop come Christmas season well into the New Year. You can also watch out for the releases of new affordable smartphones as the New Year sets in. Nokia is set to offer the Nokia C9 which will retail between US$170 to US$220 (around PhP8,500 to PhP11,000).
For PhP5,000, you can have a mutual fund administered by a fund manager tasked to grow your investment.
Invest in mutual funds or the stock market. If you are saving up for the future, especially for retirement, having an investment plan is a good thing to consider. Fortunately, you don’t need a boatload of cash to start investing. Banks and insurance companies now offer mutual fund programs that let you buy shares in the stock market for as low as PhP5,000. For the same amount, you can also trade stocks directly through online trading companies such as COL Financial.
Take note though that mutual fund investments usually yield returns after three or five years, so you must be in it for the long haul. On the other hand, you need to have stock trading know-how to be able invest stocks directly, unlike mutual fund programs which are professionally managed for investors by fund managers.
When choosing mutual fund programs, check the historical performance of the fund on the website of the bank or insurance company. It also doesn’t hurt to get basic financial education by reading blogs or attending free workshops offered by such firms.
Studies show that people are happier when spending on experiences, like traveling.
Plan your travels early. Studies show that people tend to be happier when they spend on experiences rather than on material things.
You can still start collecting travel memories locally or internationally on a budget by planning your travels wisely
. Local airline companies usually offer discounted airfare all year round, especially during holidays, so check their website from time to time for seat sales. Windowseat.ph also publishes airline promotions for thrifty travelers.
If you plan to travel abroad, Asian destinations are usually the most affordable to go to from the Philippines. Air Asia, for example, have low fares starting at PhP1,399 for a one-way trip from Cebu to Singapore, while newcomer low-cost carrier Vanilla Air offers one-way flights from Cebu to Tokyo for PhP2,888. You can even fly for free if you accumulate enough points through airline loyalty programs which let you earn points for the flights you’ve taken or for making purchases made at their partner establishments.
For example, I have accumulated about 13,000 points from work-related international trips from 2010 and 2013. A day before my points were about to expire, I used these to buy tickets back to my hometown to surprise my father for his birthday this 2016.
Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday.
Take good care of your health. People usually usher in the New Year coming up with fitness goals and other resolutions for staying healthy. As the old adage goes, health is wealth. Taking care of your body pays off as you have more energy and vitality to accomplish tasks and run errands.
This year, make sure to achieve your goals by aiming to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. It can be as simple as doing brisk walking or running around your neighborhood, or going to the gym to work with a trainer
to craft a custom workout to achieve your desired results. For discounted workout passes, check out the offers at dealgrocer.com. Here, you can buy a one-week pass for bikram yoga and Zumba classes for PhP500 or even one month of jazz and hip-hop classes at PhP1,000.
However, know that a gym membership is not necessary to be fit. There are a whole lot of body weight exercises you can do at home
, such as push-ups, planks, and lunges. The only equipment you need are rubber shoes and a yoga or exercise mat.
This 2017, don’t leave your fate to luck or superstition. Welcome the New Year and end it with a high note by making smart money moves to set your finances in good shape.
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