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Spend Only on the Things that are Important to You

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In today`s challenging economic environment, people from all walks of life are suffering from financial predicaments that also affect their spending.

Rising Inflation, decrease in value of the Ringgit, increase in prices of goods & services, petrol and cost of living in general, is drastically reducing purchasing power and adding on to the woes.

According to the statistics from the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, one in three adults in Malaysia, either consciously or unconsciously, suffer from mental health problems.

Financial constraints and stress, as well as family and career problems, are among the key factors which contribute to the rise in mental health problems.

So, what is the solution for this predicament? It’s none other than financial wellness

Financial wellness focusses on knowing how to plan, save and invest your money so that you can successfully work toward achieving your financial goals. It’s not about how big is the pay check; rather, it`s very much dependent on one`s right financial habits or behaviour.

Achieving true financial wellness is more than outward prosperity and has less to do with dollar signs than it does with how money affects your life and your relationships.

Therefore, to achieve financial wellness, individuals must equip themselves with the right financial habits and knowledge.

5 steps to achieve financial wellness

So, the 5 important steps to achieve financial wellness as described in Figure 1 are as follows:

Step 1: Be a Conscious Spender to Save Money

Step 2: Be prepared for Rainy Days

Step 3: Minimise your leakages by Managing Debts

Step 4: Be Control of Your Money via a Budget

Step 5: Consistent Accumulation & Investing of Money

In the first instalment of this financial wellness article, we will focus on the first step, which is Be a Conscious Spender.

Conscious Spending

spend

Step 1 pretty much implies that you decide exactly where you’re going to spend your money, after you have paid yourself of course. At this stage, you’re also actively choosing to spend on some things and not on others.

According to American personal finance advisor and entrepreneur, Ramit Sethi, who is also the author of the 2009 New York Times Bestseller on personal finance, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, “The heart of frugality is choosing to spend on the things that are important to you while cutting back ruthlessly on the things that aren’t.”

So, conscious spending is very important since it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind.

In a nutshell, it depends on the ability to control one`s money by becoming a conscious spender and focus on needs, then wants, and subsequently cultivate consistent saving habits.

As you start to practice conscious spending, your financial behaviours or habits improves, which is really the key to achieve financial wellness.

To put conscious spending in action, you have to learn to ask yourself the questions below before you make a purchase:

  • Will I use this?
  • Can I get this cheaper?
  • Can I wait to buy this?
  • Why am I buying this?
  • Is there something else I’d rather spend the money on?

Conclusion

Financial behaviours or habits are formed in individuals over time; it cannot happen overnight. However, once you get it going, it would become very difficult to shrug it off.

About the author

Raju Periasamy is a Certified Member of the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM) and a Licensed Financial Planner with Phillip Wealth Planners Sdn. Bhd.  He can be contacted at rajuperi@gmail.com

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