January – Preparing to Plan
While the start of the year may seem like a good time to jump into acting on your resolutions, it’s more prudent to get a better understanding of your spending habits. Think about it—will your resolutions be successful if you take steps without understanding what made your previous year successful (or unsuccessful)?
Look at your payslips and note your take-home pay and deductibles. Bring up your bank statements and other relevant documents to get a better grasp of how much and how you’ve spent your money. This helps you identify any spending habits you might want to break or build. From here on, it is vital to keep tabs on your cash flow and savings so you’ll have a point of reference to work with.
February – Setting Realistic Goals
After taking a review of your year, the next step is to set goals for your finances. Most people often say, “I want to get rich” or “I want to save more,” which, while well-intentioned, can work against you for being too general.
Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding, and Trackable, such as “I want to double my contributions to my investment plan” or “I want to get insurance coverage for myself.”
Having insurance coverage and a savings plan are essentials for working professionals, and if you don’t already have these, you should work towards getting them. After setting goals, it’s time to crunch the numbers and put together a plan to achieve them, as well as other milestones and timeframes.
March – Addressing Recurring Expenses
A crucial part of achieving your financial goals for the year is efficiently setting aside money for recurring expenses like monthly utility bills, mortgage payments, and the like. You’re more likely to find yourself in a pinch if you execute a financial plan without taking these expenses into account.
Create a schedule for the due dates on your bills and payments, as well as the amount you need to settle them. Having separate spaces to store this money—whether envelopes or bank accounts—will help you stay on track and manage your budget. If you can manage, you can set your bills to auto-debit to your accounts to minimize the hassle of lining up to pay them off.
April – Resolving Financial Obligations
With tax season coming around, it’s a good month to settle all your financial obligations like taxes. If you have incurred any debt or liabilities from the previous year, now’s a good time to start paying them.
Tackling the large amounts first may finish the job quicker, but paying off small amounts can be easier and more motivating, depending on your plan of action. Do your research on which taxes can be filed online for fast and hassle-free transactions. This is also a good time to examine your investments and trim away those that are no longer profitable.
May – Taking a Spending Break
After resolving your financial obligations, it’s time to relax and take a break. As this is also the final wave of the summer, don’t forget to enjoy, too—just make sure that it doesn’t lead you astray from your financial goals. Opt out of unplanned or sudden trips and resist the urge to check summer sales.
Spend quality time with your loved ones at little to no cost by playing board games at home, exploring your neighborhood, or taking day trips to nearby local parks or museums.
June – Checking In on Your Goals
Mid-year is the ideal time to check your progress on your goals from earlier this year, as well as your overall financial health. This is to make sure you’re on track with your goals or address any possible problems that are keeping you from achieving them. Take note of the obstacles and changes you made for future reference and evaluation.
July – Evaluating Your Insurance Coverage
Insurance is a must for working professionals, especially if you’re the breadwinner of the family. Luckily, getting life insurance in the Philippines isn’t a problem, as there are many kinds of plans that will suit your needs.
If you have an existing insurance plan, re-evaluate your benefits for the premium you’re paying. If you feel like your current coverage isn’t a good fit, contact your provider to explore your options for upgrade. If you don’t have a plan yet, do some research on what is available to you and your budget.
August – Updating Your Savings Plan
Having a savings account helps you get into the habit of setting aside money for future needs and wants. If you feel like you want to do more than let your money sit and wait, a long-term savings plan can solve that problem. Take time to look for good investment options that allow your savings to earn, therefore growing your assets.
Some insurance providers offer investment options bundled together with life insurance coverage, allowing your money to grow while providing you protection.
September – Budgeting for the Holidays
For Filipinos, the holiday season starts in September. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with preparations for Christmas parties, gift-giving, and gatherings, but managing your time, effort, and money can save you from additional worries.
Set a concrete budget for planned expenses, such as gifts for loved ones, groceries or food for parties, and the like. Make sure to add a little more for unexpected activities, such as a surprise exchange gift activity at the office. Keep track of all your spending to ensure that your budget is followed.
October – Catching Up to Your Goals
As you enter the final quarter of the year, it’s time for another check-in with your financial goals. Are there any items that are behind schedule? This is the time to make more adjustments and changes to ensure you reach your goals by the end of the year. Make sure to update any records for your cash flow and other relevant savings and investments to keep your tracking accurate.
November – Finding Ways to Declutter
Christmas is fast approaching, and that will mean gift-giving and gift-receiving left and right. One of the ways you can keep on-track financially is by decluttering.
Find something interesting or more suited for a friend or a loved one? Consider gifting it to them, saving you the effort and expense of getting them a brand-new item. Items that are still in excellent condition—clothes, accessories, books, you name it—can be sold online for a little extra money. You can also look into local organizations that work with the poor and other groups in need to donate.
Decluttering will help you take note of what you already have, allowing you to save money instead of spending and even give you the chance to be charitable and make someone’s Christmas more joyous.
December – Evaluating Your Results
Finally, it’s time to evaluate the fruits of your hard work throughout the year. Aside from noting goals that were or weren’t achieved, assess the milestones you’ve set and the plan you’ve built up. What were the things that worked? What were the things you had to change or adjust? Were there any unexpected incidents that set you back?
These insights may be useful when you begin preparations for the next year. Additionally, this is a time to pat yourself on the back for making it to the end of the year and encourage yourself to continue on your financial journey.
Wrapping it Up
All in all, if you stick to the plan and follow these tasks, your New Year’s resolutions are sure to pay off, both literally and figuratively! Don’t fret if you’ve missed some of your goals, as this financial calendar is meant to help you build the habit of staying on top of your financial health. Share this with a family member or friend who may need help in reaching their goals.
To get a head start on a better and financially stable year, talk to a Bancassurance Sales Executive at any BPI branch for insurance and investment options.