Money Smarts Blog

6 New Year Resolution Goals That Don't Break The Bank

Dec 31, 2018 || Sarah-Beth Floyd

Lady on her phone smoking

Having goals around being healthier, happier, creating or ending habits and traveling more for the New Year are great, but they can come with a cost. One of our New Year’s resolutions is to ensure YOU accomplish everything on your list and still have money left over to cover bills and the basic life necessities! Here are 6 common New Year’s resolutions and ways to lessen the cost for each:

1. Resolution: Weight loss

Cost: $0 - $180/month

How to save money:
Just because you want to slim down, doesn’t mean your wallet has to. Before you commit to that super expensive gym, shop around and see where you can cut costs.

While you’re doing this, try to think realistically about your fitness goals. For example, if you only want to work on cardio, that expensive gym that offers mostly weight lifting might not be the best fit.

When shopping around for gym prices, you might want to consider the cost of buying your own equipment. If you don’t need the help of a coach at a gym class, spending money on hand weights might be worth it in the long run.

For the ultimate weight loss savings, start your fitness journey by moving more every day. Take walks on your lunch break or invest in a standing desk at work. This gives you the benefits of being active, without the extra monthly expenses.

One last way to save money on getting healthy is to buy healthier food/meal prep (we have some great resources here and here). Not only does this cut costs of eating out, but you’re also losing weight by doing it!

2. Resolution: Get out of debt 

Cost: Varies

How to save money:
Instead of seeking out expensive financial resources, reach out to your local financial institution for help.

One of the free services that IHMVCU offers to their members is the ability to get financial advice at any time. Simply stop into the IHMVCU Financial Center at 4051 Avenue of the Cities in Moline or call a branch to utilize this free service.

However, we know you’re busy. If you don’t have enough time to swing by, we have other options. For years, we’ve been writing financial blogs to help you live a financially healthy lifestyle. Check out the Money Smarts Blog, for all the money knowledge you could ever want (and then some).

3. Resolution: Stop smoking

Cost: $30 - $200+

How to save money:
It can be expensive to stop smoking. Most people buy patches or gum every week, or slowly wean themselves off cigarettes.

One thing that you can do to counter these costs is to make sure you have a strong support system. It’s free and can really help you achieve your goal.

If you don’t have a physical accountability partner or support system, there are free apps that can help. For example, Smoke Free – Quit Smoking Now is a free app that holds you accountable and rewards you for meeting goals.

You earn badges for every milestone, it helps you manage cravings and you can watch your health improve everyday through their health tracker.

4. Resolution: Become a better student

Cost: Varies

How to save money:
Being a good student can seriously pay off. Whether you’re offered a better job because of that 4.0 or getting thousands of dollars in academic scholarships, it pays to be a good student!

If you’re not a natural genius, being a good student can be difficult and expensive. Tutors can be $100+ and websites such as Chegg and Course Hero can be roughly $30+ a month!

Luckily, there are free options that are just as beneficial as the leading student subscriptions. Websites like Quizlet and Khan Academy, are both helpful and don’t make you give up your precious ramen noodle money.

Quizlet offers multiple resources, with its best tools being flashcards, the ability to test yourself, and study techniques. Khan Academy is similar, but has the added benefit of lecture videos. For every classroom topic, there are professors from around the world that record lecture videos and publish them for students.

Another way to save as you improve your student status is to rent textbooks. There are definitely pros and cons to this, but you could save hundreds of dollars every semester if it’s a good fit. Check out this blog on Student Loan Hero, they break down the pros and cons, covering everything you need to know.

5. Resolution: Travel more

Cost: Varies

How to save money:
Getting bored of staying at the Holiday Inn everywhere you go? Consider Airbnb! They have awesome alternatives like log cabins and tree houses, and they’re usually cheaper than your average hotel.

While you’re staying in the tree house right outside the city, check out the free tourist days. Most tourist destinations will offer free days for places like the zoo, museums and water parks. Cheaper “hotel” + free activities make for one inexpensive vacation!

One area that’s hard to save on when traveling is food, so make sure you save for this ahead of time. You can always shop at the grocery store and then pack lunches for daily outings, but it can take up valuable adventure time. If you’re really on top of your game and planning your trip months ahead, look at Groupon or other websites for local deals. A percentage off a service or $10 off a $40 gift card can help stretch your dollar a little further!

If you’re flying somewhere, check out the prices of rental cars. This is an extra expense that tends to be forgotten and can be costly. If you can afford it, try to be flexible with your dates. Not only will this help with finding the cheapest flights, but it also helps in finding an inexpensive car.

And don’t forget the cheapest way to travel is in your own backyard! Avoid flight delays, and lost luggage when you explore all the wonderful things around you. Check out your local convention and visitor’s bureau to find things to do and places to go and/or eat. You might just uncover a new favorite place.

6. Resolution: Get organized

Cost: $25 - $375

How to save money:
Instead of hiring professional organizers, DIY it! There are plenty of resources like Pinterest and YouTube, to teach you the ins and outs of organizing, and that give you a good idea on where to start.

Once you have your plan, make a layout of the space and decide what furniture will fit. After that’s setup, check places like IKEA or Staples for organizing options. They typically have cheap options that are of decent quality.

Now that you have your New Year resolutions and you won’t be breaking your account to achieve them, you’re all set . . . go get ‘em!

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