How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions on a Budget
Every year, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent keep them. Often it’s a matter of spending money you don’t have to take classes, get outfitted, or buy supplies. Don’t let that fear stop you! There are budget friendly ways to achieve your goals.
What’s your resolution? The top contenders don’t change much, so the advice is not unique to this year. Here are the top 8 according to Nielsen, and ways to keep them no matter your budget.
#1 Get Fit, Stay Healthy
Thirty-seven percent of people make this their goal. Most of us indulge during the holidays and feel like a beached whale on January 1. The good news: Home gym and sports equipment are usually discounted after the holidays, as are gym memberships. On a really tight budget? Taking a brisk half-hour walk, or three 10-minute walks three times a day, gives you the recommended 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise you need.
#2 – Lose Weight
Almost as many people (32 percent) mentioned dropping pounds as getting fit, but they made this a separate goal. Need more than a daily walk or gym session? You can find coupon codes for Zumba and other high-energy exercise classes. You can also seek out Weight Watchers discounts or find a support group. The free version? Enlist a buddy with the same goal and keep each other accountable.
#3 Enjoy Life More
Life seems to whiz by and before you know it, it’s December again. Some 28 percent of people surveyed say they want to stop and smell the roses. The key is getting out of your routine. Sign up for a class in something you enjoy, such as cooking, or pick up an old hobby. The cheapest way to keep this New Year’s resolution is to just make an appointment with yourself to do what you want to do.
#4 – Spend Less, Save More
Did those holiday shopping bills come in yet? Ouch! One of the best ways to save is to set aside money every week, or every payday for a designated time. Put it in a separate bank account and don’t touch it until you reach your goal. A trick to pay off credit cards is to pay off your highest interest-rate card first, then use the money you had set aside for that to attack your next-highest card, and so forth. See a financial advisor or use a free financial management tool like Mint to track spending.
#5 – Spend More Time with Loved Ones
One in five people listed this as their goal. It can be as simple as calling someone up and saying, “I’ve been thinking about you.” Check out nearby attractions, book a seat in that hot new restaurant, or take the kids to the park.
#6 – Get Better Organized
Out with the old and organize the new. The transition between years is a great time to take stock of what you have and purge the clutter. If you have the means, hire a local home organizing service to help you pare down and simplify. Find a business that digitizes old photos to replace those aging albums. Check out online coupon codes for The Container Store and Target to find some attractive new niches and boxes for your stuff.
#7 – Learn Something New
Whether it’s lessons, auditing a college class or taking up skydiving, 14 percent of people want to gain some fresh knowledge in the coming year. Join a non-fiction book club, sign up for The Great Courses or find discounts on a language learning system like Rosetta Stone.
#8 – Travel More
Fourteen percent of people would like to get away more often. The good news is that airfare and gas prices are low right now. You can find travel discounts aplenty online. Go ahead, book that trip!
However you plan to enrich your life in the coming year, you can make it happen with the biggest resolution of all: developing a savings mentality.