From The Straits Times    |



“Save more money” is probably your new year’s resolutions list every year. But this year, we’re going to help you attain it.

The key is to come up with very specific, easy-to-satisfy resolutions (transfer $x to a savings account at the beginning of every month) is a lot more effective than inventing a big, vague one you have no idea how to fulfil (like “become a billionaire”).

So here are five simple things you should commit to doing in 2018 that will put you in better financial health.


Cancel credit cards you no longer use

The world of credit cards is a fickle one. One day, your favourite credit card is rewarding you with 8% cashback on everything you could possibly buy. The next day, they’ve revamped their entire benefits programme, slapped on a minimum spending requirement that’s more than you earn in a month, and the card is now even less useful than those coasters you received from your Secret Santa at the office.

If a card no longer serves your purposes, cancel it immediately. You might think there’s no harm in letting it lie innocuously in your wallet. But the longer you let that piece of plastic stick around, the more likely you are to get charged annual fees unknowingly (and even pay them, if you’re paying by Interbank GIRO) or fall prey to credit card fraud.


Search for new credit cards to sign up for


Just as your formerly favourie credit cards may no longer be useful to you, new ones will have been released or modified, and might now be perfect for your current spending habits.

The New Year is a great time to retire those cards you no longer use, and sign up for news ones that are going to be your go-to cards for 2018.

READ MORE: Her World Credit Card Awards 2017: These are our top 10 picks for every lifestyle choice


Check that you’re properly insured

If you’ve already got some form of insurance, you probably bought your policies years ago. In 2018, it’s time to review your insurance policies to see if they’re still serving you well, and to make sure you’re adequately insured based on where you are in life right now.

For instance, as a young working adult, you might already have purchased medical insurance. But if you are now slightly less young, married and expecting your first child, you should definitely be considering life insurance as well.

READ MORE: Don’t have a critical illness plan because you don’t think you need it? Think again


Check if it’s time to refinance your home loan


If it’s been a few years since you signed up for your home loan, it’s likely your interest rate is no longer very competitive. Refinancing your home loan means switching to a loan with a more attractive interest rate, thereby saving you money.

Will 2018 will be the year you should refinance your home loan? 

READ MORE: Loan repayment calculators


Consolidate your bank accounts


Over the years, you might have opened various bank accounts and later abandoned them, leaving a bit of money in each so you wouldn’t have to pay fall-below fees.

This year, it’s time to consolidate all your bank accounts. That means you’ll be withdrawing the cash in all the accounts you no longer wish to keep, closing those accounts and depositing the money in the one(s) you want to continue using.

But which bank account should you be using? For the bulk of your cash savings, it’s a good idea to look for a high interest savings account that rewards you a bit more for storing your cash in there.

If this is not an account you should be withdrawing money from (some high interest savings accounts will reward you more handsomely if you don’t make withdrawals), you’ll want to maintain a second account that offers access to a decent distribution of ATM machines.


This article was originally published on Moneysmart.