Selfie : / s?l’f?/ : noun

-       a self-portrait taken by oneself usually with a mobile phone

In this digital day and age, people have taken it to social media to share with their network how they’re doing, where they are, or what they just bought. Admit it. You’ve had at least one or two selfies in your phone.

Check your Facebook and you’ll see what your next door neighbor ate for lunch. Hop on to Twitter and you’ll find your best friend asking her followers to pick which dress she should buy. Scroll on Instagram and you’ll find your college friend’s jump shot with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

But wait, does selfie mean selfish? It doesn’t have to be. Instead, use it as a mirror to reflect on your own actions especially your spending habits.

The usual selfie shot consists of something new. Why else would you take a photo of something you’ve already posted before? But before you take a snapshot of the latest pair of heels you’re eyeing to buy, why not take a selfie kind of assessment first on whether it’s a wise move.

So how do we make a “selfie” assessment of our spending habits? Here’s a short guide:

1.  Know where you stand. Am I spending more than what I earn? Where do most of my money go?

2.  Try to list down your expenses. You'll be amazed with what you'll discover just by listing everything down.

3.   When faced with a shopping dilemma, ask yourself: Is this a want or a need? Do you find yourself always justifying the want?

4.  Finally ask yourself, are you able to set aside some savings or investment for your future?

Sometimes it’s those small, frequent splurges that add up in the end. That frappe you post in your Instagram every week could’ve been used to build your emergency fund. The new dress you bought out of impulse could’ve been set aside for a trip to a place you've been longing to see. How much can you save if you prepared a home-cooked meal instead of eating out for lunch?

There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with a little luxury or a want once in a while, but being conscious of your spending habits today (no matter how small) can make a big difference tomorrow. How to do it?

1. Begin with a dream in mind. What are the dreams that I want to achieve and how much will it cost me? How close or how far am I to achieving it? You can use the Expense Calculator if you hate crunching the numbers.

2. Make a budget and stick to it. How much should I allot for my daily expenses? How much am I willing to save every month to achieve my dream?

3.  Know and evaluate your options. Are there other financial products that will make my money earn more to help me achieve my dream faster?

4.  Ask for help. Benefit from the expertise of trained financial advisors who can help you craft a financial roadmap to achieve your dreams

Money doesn’t grow on trees so we must be conscious of where it goes. As we spend our money today, it can also be the money you wish you had for something else in the future: like your dream car or your dream vacation. It’s simply about making the right decisions today and reaping the fruits later.

Mika Amador

Mika is a writer by heart, a digital marketer by profession, a wellness enthusiast by belief, and a sketcher in progress. She is part of the Sun Life’s Digital Marketing and Brighter Life Team. Follow her adventures through her IG @mikaelaamador.