Embrace the New Year: 5 Resolutions for Consumers to Prepare for 2024

December 30, 2023

As the clock strikes midnight and the calendar flips to a new year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past and set intentions for the future. While personal goals often take centre stage, it’s equally important to consider resolutions that can positively impact our daily lives as consumers. From fostering sustainable habits to embracing the digital age, here are the Consumer Council of Fiji’s five New Year’s resolutions that can help consumers navigate and thrive in the year ahead.

  1. Prioritize Sustainable Living:

In an era where environmental concerns are at the forefront, making sustainable choices is crucial. This year, consider adopting eco-friendly practices in your daily life. Start small by reducing single-use plastics, recycling responsibly, and supporting businesses committed to sustainable practices. Embrace a greener lifestyle by choosing products with minimal environmental impact and being mindful of your carbon footprint. Small, consistent changes can contribute to a more sustainable future for our planet. Here are some specific examples:

a. Reduce Single-Use Plastics:
Resolution: Commit to using reusable water bottles, bags, and containers to minimize single-use plastics.
Example: Carry a reusable water bottle everywhere you go and invest in reusable grocery bags to reduce plastic waste.
b. Recycle Responsibly:
Resolution: Educate yourself about local recycling guidelines and ensure that you are sorting your waste properly.
Example: Set up a designated recycling station at home with clearly labeled bins for paper, plastic, glass, and other recyclables.
c. Support Sustainable Businesses:
Resolution: Prioritize purchasing products and services from companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
Example: Choose to buy from local farmers’ markets or stores that emphasize environmentally friendly practices in their production and sourcing.

2. Plan to Save Money this Year:

The cost of living continues to rise, making it essential to find ways to save and manage expenses. Review your monthly expenditures and identify areas where you can cut costs without sacrificing quality of life. The start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to reassess your financial health. Set realistic budget goals, prioritize saving, and work towards reducing debt. Embrace smart spending habits by researching and taking advantage of discounts and sales. Consider investing in your financial education to make informed decisions about investments, retirement planning, and long-term financial goals. By fostering financial wellness, you can build a secure foundation for the years to come. Here are specific consumer
examples for planning to save money this year:

a. Review Monthly Expenditures:
Resolution: Take a closer look at your monthly expenses to identify areas where you can cut costs.
Example: Use budgeting apps or spreadsheets to track spending categories like entertainment, dining out, or subscription services, and find areas where you can make adjustments.
b. Create an Emergency Fund:
Resolution: Establish a dedicated emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses and financial emergencies.
Example: Set a monthly savings goal to gradually build an emergency fund, ensuring you have a financial safety net for unforeseen circumstances.
c. Debt Reduction:
Resolution: Develop a plan to reduce and manage existing debts.
Example: Prioritize high-interest debts, explore debt consolidation options, and negotiate with creditors to establish more favourable repayment terms

3. Beware of Scams:

As technology advances, so do the tactics of scammers. This year, the Council has noted an unprecedented rise in scams being perpetrated by fraudsters. Many thousands have fallen victim, and have lost their hard-earned money. Protect yourself by staying informed about common scams—such as the Viber Impersonation Scam, M-PAiSA Scams and Ponzi Schemes—and practice caution online and offline. Be skeptical of unsolicited emails, messages, or calls asking for personal information. Invest time in learning about cybersecurity best practices, and consider using reputable antivirus software to safeguard your digital presence. Vigilance against scams is a crucial aspect of modern consumerism. Here are specific consumer examples for protecting yourself against scams this new year:

a. Stay Informed About Common Scams:
Resolution: Educate yourself about prevalent scams to recognize potential threats.
Example: Keep up-to-date with information on scams like the Viber Impersonation Scam, M-PAiSA Scams, and Ponzi Schemes through reputable sources such as the Consumer Council of Fiji’s social media pages and government websites.
b. Exercise Caution Online and Offline:
Resolution: Be cautious in all online and offline interactions to avoid falling victim to scams.
Example: Verify the legitimacy of websites before making online purchases, and exercise caution when sharing personal information, both in physical and virtual settings.
c. Skepticism Towards Unsolicited Communications:
Resolution: Adopt a skeptical mindset when receiving unsolicited emails, messages, or calls requesting personal information.
Example: Avoid clicking on links or providing personal details in response to unexpected communications, especially if they claim urgent action is required.
d. Learn Cybersecurity Best Practices:
Resolution: Invest time in understanding and implementing cybersecurity best practices.
Example: Regularly update passwords, use two-factor authentication, and be cautious about the information you share on social media to minimize the risk of falling victim to identity theft or phishing attempts.

4. Invest in Personal Growth:

While setting resolutions for physical health is common, don’t forget to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being. Make a commitment to invest in personal growth by exploring new hobbies, learning new skills, or dedicating time to self-reflection. Whether it’s taking up a creative pursuit, enrolling in a course, or practicing mindfulness, investing in yourself can lead to increased happiness, resilience, and a more fulfilling life.

a. Explore New Hobbies:
Resolution: Dedicate time to discover and engage in new hobbies that bring joy and fulfillment.
Example: Try your hand at gardening, or explore a new sport to add variety and excitement to your leisure time.

b. Learn New Skills:
Resolution: Set a goal to acquire new skills that contribute to personal and professional development.
Example: Enroll in online courses or workshops to learn new activities, improve language proficiency, or acquire skills relevant to your career goals

5. Support Local Businesses:

In the wake of global challenges, local businesses have faced unprecedented obstacles. This year, resolve to support your local community by prioritizing small businesses. Whether it’s shopping at local markets, dining at independent restaurants, or choosing neighborhood services, your support can make a significant impact. Strengthening local economies fosters a sense of community and ensures the diversity and resilience of small businesses in the face of larger market forces.

a. Shop at Local Markets:
Resolution: Prioritize shopping at local markets to support small businesses and artisans in your community.
Example: Choose to buy fresh produce, handmade goods, or unique items from local farmers’ markets, craft fairs, or independent stores.
b. Choose Neighborhood Services:
Resolution: Support local service providers for your needs, such as plumbers, electricians, and other professionals.
Example: Hire local businesses for home repairs, maintenance, or other services, fostering a stronger connection within the community.
c. Buy Locally-Made Products:
Resolution: Prioritize purchasing products made locally, contributing to the growth of small businesses.
Example: Choose locally-made clothing, accessories, or household items over mass-produced alternatives, promoting the unique offerings of local artisans and manufacturers.

As we step into the new year, these resolutions offer a roadmap for us – consumers to enhance their lives, protect against scams, manage the cost of living, and contribute to a positive impact on the world around them. By embracing sustainable practices, fostering financial wellness, prioritizing digital well-being, supporting local businesses, staying vigilant against scams, and proactively managing expenses, we can usher in a year of positive change and personal transformation.

The Consumer Council of Fiji wishes you a year of growth, resilience, and a brighter future for all.