Turn your financial goals to New Year’s resolutions

By Lynda C. Corpuz

Sure, losing ten pounds is a worthy resolution for this year. But you also need to make specific financial goals for 2007. Here are some examples.

Cut back. Gemma Ruiz (not her real name), a contact center agent shares her wallet is always near empty during paydays, what with the lifestyle she had. But starting last year and continuing this year, she lessened her coffee spending from two cups to one, hunted for sensible buys in Greenhills than buying branded clothes, purchased one book a month instead of two, and dined or bar-hopped only once a week. “Now, I always have extra money in my wallet,” she smiles.

Track your spending. One couple used to argue about the wife’s clothes’ purchases and the husband’s DVD collection. This year, they resolved to avoid such fights, by regularly reviewing their expenses, comparing it to the amount budgeted, and identifying problem areas. “Solving money issues, especially for a newlywed couple like us, is hard if we do not know where the money goes,” they say.

Increase your savings. Lyn Moroña, a university media relations staff, used to earn P10,000 monthly and saved P1,000 every payday, but now, she earns more than double. Instead of doubling her expenses, she keeps her costs in control and ups her savings. She says, “I’m saving to enjoy life more.” And traveling, for her, is a way to enjoy life. Last year, she used part of her savings and availed of airfare promos and spent vacations with her family in Iloilo and Bohol. For this year, she plans to visit Hong Kong.

Record your accomplishments. Keep a journal and record every success you can think of as aligned with your financial goals. Sheva Rosero, an internal media relations officer for a beverage company, started to bring her own lunch to work four times a week and dined out with officemates only on Fridays in an effort to save more. This way, she also discovers the chef in her through the sumptuous bento lunch preparations she makes, which she documents through entries and pictures in her blog.

Dream, believe, and survive. No, you don’t have join the annual TV celebrity search that has this catchphrase. But to turn your dreams into reality, write down your goals, whether short-term or long-term, and track your progress. Assign specific dates and regularly review them to keep yourself motivated. If you have a hard time keeping up, don’t be hard on yourself. Just modify them a bit. Mutya Lorenzo, (not her real name), formerly a communications officer for a government unit, dreamt to own a condo by 24, but that did not happen. But by 2008, when she turns 28, she’ll be ready to transfer to her own place.

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