It’s that time of year again! Have you decided on your new years resolution? If not, I have 4 suggestions for you:
1) Loose Weight – Skip the Gym.
Nearly always the number one resolution Americans have is to loose weight, staying healthy is another top choice. To achieve this, many people get gym memberships, which average around $55 per month. Furthermore, 67% of people never even use their memberships. There may be some value in going to a gym, especially if they have a pool or a piece of equipment that you absolutely love, but I would highly advise not buying a year-long membership in case you get burned out and stop going mid way though. If you want to be really frugal, exercise at home. I personally use an Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar which I just leave in a doorway and do a few pull ups just about every time I walk by. Or, to be even more frugal, there are so many free exercise you can do including sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, or even just walking. If you want to loose weight the most important thing is just finding what you like to do, and for most people I don’t think a gym is somewhere they really want to be.
2) Quit Smoking, or at Least Try Switching to Electronic Cigarettes.
You already know how unhealthy it is, I don’t need to go into that. But, have you considered what it is costing you to smoke? The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $5.51 in the United States, but it can be drastically higher depending on where you live. If you smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a week, that will cost you around $860 a year (ouch!).
Now, unfortunately, due to the addictive qualities of cigarettes, it’s very difficult to quit. Another option you might have is to switch to electronic cigarettes. They seem to not be quite as bad for you and they are much cheaper. The same smoker switching to electronic cigarettes could spend around $45-75 for a starter kit and then around $220 for the e-liquid in the first year. This is a savings of nearly $600, it could be much more depending on where you live. I’m not a smoker, myself, so I don’t know what brand is best for you, but definitely worth considering.
Of course, it’s best to never start smoking with the risk to your health and wallet.
3) Get your Finances Organized!
I personally use Mint for organizing my finances. You can link it to your various accounts and it will automatically track transactions from them. You can also set up budgets which will automatically be adjusted so you can easily see how much money you are spending and where. There are other programs like Mint, but I have only used Mint, so I can’t give any other recommendations. You could always use Excel or other offline programs to track your finances, but it requires so much more effort that I don’t personally think it’s worth it.
4) Save more and spend less!
Make this year the year in which you max out your contributions for your 401k, or at least meet the employer match level. Or pay off that credit card debt. Or make this the year you stop buying that cup of Starbucks every day. There are an innumerable amount of ways you can save money. But this is probably one of the hardest to talk about in a short article because it usually means a change in mindset about how you see money. I think the first step is to realize what your ultimate goal is and why you want to save more and spend less. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, your options will be much different than someone who is making 6 figures and is just thinking about an early retirement.
Since I can’t give any specific advise about doing this here, my broad general advice is to give a shameless plug for myself. Subscribe to Rich Eccentric Uncle and follow me on your favorite social media sites. I cover a lot of broad topics, I can guarantee that you’ll find ideas on how to spend less and save more.
So, those are my top suggestions. My personal resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise more, and keep up learning to play guitar. Nothing really that eccentric, huh? Good luck and happy new year!