Social Encore: New year, new resolutions
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
For some odd reason, I wasn’t able to come up with resolutions before 2014 started. I did, however, give some thought as to what I could do better this year. Here’s my list.
More Physical Activity
Trying to maintain a good work and life balance can be challenging at times. Many of us spend more than 40 hours a week at the office. We live in Hawaii and have such beautiful surroundings, but it’s easy for local residents to forget we live in what many consider a destination vacation spot.
Since I go to the gym at least once a week, I thought maybe I should try something different once a month. Maybe a new workout routine, a new hiking route or a new physical activity, like trying out a new yoga school. This will allow me to broaden my horizons when it comes to my physical fitness while keeping my body healthy.
If setting a fitness goal is something you want to try in 2014, Jacqueline Raltiff, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said to be “S.M.A.R.T.” about it — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Or hire a trainer for a month to get you on track, or get family members involved and make it a family affair to get healthy together. I’ve found it helps when you have a support system.
So far this year, I have also been able to experience two hiking trails, and of course I did it with family and friends. The quality time we were able to spend with each other helped us catch up on life while being able to enjoy Hawaii’s wonderful views.
According to a the University of Scranton study, spending less and saving more is the third most common resolution. Living in Hawaii, we know living in paradise can get expensive. I’m blessed to have a great job that I love, but I do have bills like everyone else and saving money while handling my financial responsibilities can be quite a challenge.
Before I was 18 years old, I was lucky to get schooled by my uncle about money. I’ve found it common for people at a young age to look for ways to make money — but not ways to save it. Last month, I paid a visit to my financial advisor and took the initiative to look at my investments. I learned where I am financially and what I would need to do to reach my financial goals.
If you’re thinking about hiring a financial professional to help with your bills, debt, and your own personal goals goals, people at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawaii can help.
Another thing that could help is setting a budget. I’ve set monthly budgets for myself and to help, I downloaded an app on my iPhone. Mint is a secure application that connects with your bank accounts, credit cards and even your student loans; you’re able to input cash transactions as well. The app provides a more visual way to see exactly where your money is going.
If most of your money is going to groceries, you might want to start thinking of ways to adjust your spending. The app also suggests ways to save. If it notices that you are paying a higher than average rate on car insurance, it will suggest shopping around for another car insurance carrier. I swear, this app is great!
For me, working downtown means expensive lunches. I’ve seen some friends spend nearly $50 a week on lunch alone. To save money, I’ve made a strong effort to bring home lunches. This serves a dual purpose, because it allows me to be control of how things are cooked – meaning healthier meals – but it also saves money. Some may think meal prepping takes a lot of work, but just think about the money you will save in the long run. There are tons of great websites to help provide inspiration and cooking tips.
There are so many different ways to save money. I know a few people who are trying the 52-week money saving challenge, where they save money in increments.
I thought I would take a step further and put away $50 a week instead. If you do the math, 52 x $50 = $2,600. Consider it an emergency fund, or maybe use the cash to buy a new laptop at the end of the year. If you could have one thing at the end of the year, what would it be? Think about it and plan to save for it so it can be yours. Pinch your pennies in ways that will save you a couple of dollars here and there because in the end, you’ll be able to save a lot of money in the long run.
Travel to New Places
I love traveling. There are many places I have visited, and I really love it. Traveling allows me to experience the world around us. I jokingly tell people I work hard so I can pay off my bills and just travel, but I’m really telling the truth. Sometimes I fantasize about quitting my job so all I do is travel.
Many people say they will be able to travel when they have more time or when they have the money. If you have a goal and set up your life to help you reach that goal, the easier the process will seem. This year, I want to spend less and save more, so I can travel to new places.
Traveling is really something that you pay for, yet the experience gives back so much more than you could ever imagine.
I’ve been out of college for several years, yet I know I will be a student forever. I’m constantly looking for things to learn and having that curiosity helps me see many things differently than others. It also allows me to see how our world, industry and islands are progressing.
No one can never be too old be learn something new. Educating yourself and being up to par on what is going on in the world helps you stay relevant. This year, I plan on finding ways to release my creative juices, which could mean taking an art class. I also know I need to start going to more professional conferences and workshops.
Going to the library can also help you grow emotionally, mentally and maybe spiritually. Watching movies helps, too! I keep telling myself I need to watch more documentaries. There are so many things to learn about, I possibly can’t fit them all into this year, but admitting and wanting to learn is something that I hope that everyone tries to do more of. When you are looking for ways to learn, you are looking for ways to grow. I believe that helps us become better people and improves our quality of life.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.