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According to Statista saving money tied in the top 3 for most common New Year’s resolutions, no surprise there. It’s probably on your list too if you’re reading this blog but I’m sure it’s not the only thing you want to change about your life. Here’s a list of the most common resolutions and how you can accomplish them without spending money.
This one most people think is going to cost more but you can truly eat better (and lose weight) without changing your budget. In fact, you might find you’re even spending less on groceries if you move away from packaged foods.
- Stop eating take out – a $10 meal out for one can buy your whole family a prepared healthy meal at home
- Skip the junk food completely – you don’t need it and it costs money.
- Go for in-season fruits and veggies – this one is tough in the winter but stuff that’s in season will cost less than the imported summer foods.
- Don’t eat prepacked foods – it’s high calorie, unhealthy, and expensive. Make your own instead!
Get more exercise
Thinking about getting a gym membership or Fitbit? For some people they really help, if you use them, but for many they end up being a big waste of money. Here’s some alternatives to try first.
- YouTube free workout videos – you can find all kinds on there with great instructors for all skill levels. Seriously, try it.
- Go walking – it sounds boring but walking (or running) is free and a great way to get outside.
- Make small changes to your daily life – you’ve been hearing about this for years but it really adds up to take the stairs, park farther away, etc.
- Opt for active “fun” activities – instead of going to see a movie go walk around a zoo or museum.
- Make good, at home workout investments – some people are satisfied with just one item and in the long run buying equipment can be cheaper than a gym membership but be careful with this one.
Focus on self care
Self care can be anything from getting more sleep, relaxing more, or working on your mental health. If you’re a busy parent or work a high stress job it can be hard to find the time to practice self care but we all need it. You won’t be going to the spa on our spending detox, though.
- Use the power of nature – it’s free and spending time outdoors can do wonders for your mood.
- Your smartphone can fix your sleep – use the bedtime settings as well wake up time. Waking up at the same time every day is the most important thing for getting better sleep. Also try eliminating screen time before bed.
- Take advantage of free classes – local libraries and community centres often have free wellness classes that you can enjoy for no or low cost.
- Find something that relaxes you – journaling, art, etc.
I love this resolution and make it every year. Last year I set a goal of 12 books, just one a month, and ended up reading 8. That was 8 books more than I would have and it’s really helped me fall back in love with reading. Even if you’re not into big novels find something you enjoy (even blogs!) to read this year.
- Public library anyone? – seriously, best way to get your reading on. Most have great e-book apps now too.
- Borrow from your friends – it has an extra bonus of being something they probably like.
- Read your backlog – I know I’m not the only one with a shelf full of books I haven’t read.
Make new friends
Why is it so much harder to make friends as an adult than it was as a kid? This one’s definitely on my list this year, and honestly it’s a struggle.
- Join social media communities – Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram have great nice communities where you can make friends with similar walks of life or interests.
- Get out there – when you’re out and about, especially at events, be more social!
- Bother your kids’ friends – next time your kids have a playdate invite the parents in or try and chat with people at playgroup.
- Network – ask the friends (or family) you already have if they can introduce you to anyone.
- Get to know your acquaintances better – you might find they turn out to be great friends.
Learn a new skill
This one can sometimes cost, and sometimes it’s OK to pay a little bit to learn something that’s enriching or better yet, career enhancing. Still, there are lots of free alternatives to expensive classes and software out there.
- Look for free programs at your local library or community centre – if you can’t find what you need ask around to see if someone is offering it.
- YouTube tutorials are really helpful – my mom used them to renovate her house!
- Check out free apps and online lessons – for example, we’re trying to learn Japanese right now and there’s a lot of free, or inexpensive, apps that help with the basics.
- Swap skills with someone else – if you know how to do something and they want to learn, and vice versa, you can both save money and teach each other.
- Enhance your career – the money you spend can pay off in the long run if you take university classes or courses that will help grow your income potential.
Get a (new) job
Can’t argue too much about this one, especially when this means earning more income. Here’s some tips to make it worthwhile:
- Take into consideration all aspects that will affect your income when considering a new job – that includes parking, childcare, commute costs, etc.
- Don’t just take anything – switching jobs regularly isn’t a great idea.
- This is probably one of the better things you can do to help your bottom line and your well being.
Take up a new hobby
This one kind of overlaps with learning a new skill because you might need to learn some new skills to do the hobby. Try to pick something without a lot of start up costs or that you can borrow the supplies/tools from, or one that can help your family by earning an income.
- Try an income producing hobby – like crafts to start a small side business.
- Rekindle an old hobby – or one you bought supplies for but didn’t start.
- Look for free ways to try hobbies – my rural library has puzzles and board games, the city one has sewing machines, etc.
What are you New Years resolutions? Can you use them to help improve your finances?