The New Year is around the corner! Dust off those champagne glasses, bring out your funny hats, and start writing your list of New Year’s resolutions.
Don’t be afraid to pursue those goals and resolutions that you want to tackle in the coming year for fear that they’ll cost too much. You can cross items off your bucket list, go on an adventure, and tackle personal goals all while staying within the bounds of your budget.
Here are six New Year’s resolutions that won’t hurt your finances, and some of these resolutions will even improve your financial situation.
1. Get in Shape
Don’t feel cliché about wanting to get in shape in the New Year. January 1 is as great a time as any. Just don’t feel compelled to pay for pricey gym memberships. You don’t need them. The pavement outside is free if you first invest in a good pair of walking or running shoes. Calisthenics are free and don’t take much more space than the area of your living room carpet. YouTube has millions of free workout videos that you can follow along to, just perch your computer at eye level where you have space in your home to work out.
If you have a friend who wants to get in shape too, ask them to be your running buddy or accountability partner. If you’re feeling confident, you might even be able to make some money off of your weight loss by enlisting in a DietBet challenge. You’ll lose weight, transform your body, and earn some money in the process.
2. Eat right
If your goal is to eat right, go into the New Year knowing that you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money, as well as doing great things for your health. Don’t fall for the common misconception that healthy food costs more. Eating right goes hand in hand with saving money.
Buying ingredients to cook healthy meals at home and cooking from scratch will save you a lot of money over the course of the year. Go to your local farmer’s market right at closing time when you’ll be able to get produce at a discounted rate. Also, if you need chopped vegetables for dishes, sometimes the frozen version is cheaper than the fresh version, so remember always to compare the price per unit when you do your food shopping at the grocery store. Healthy eating apps are also a great way to help you stay on track and eat right.
3. Get organized
Don’t pay thousands of dollars for custom organizational compartments and closet organizers. You don’t need them to become more organized in the New Year. Start with the storage spaces that you do have and thin out your belongings. Clear out your closet by getting rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in a year, and clear your bookshelves by donating any books you never plan to read again.
After you’ve gone through, tried to minimalize as much as possible, and kept only the things you find valuable, beautiful, or useful, and then you can start thinking about building organizational aids. Don’t go running off to Ikea just yet, though, you can build some amazingly sturdy furniture with free pallets.
4. Be more charitable
You don’t have to be as rich as Bill Gates to be more charitable. Start by donating all those things in your closet that you no longer use. The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Samaritan House, and children’s hospital thrift stores all accept used clothes and household goods. If you like making a habit of donating a portion of every paycheck to a 501 (c) tax exempt organization, remember to keep good records. That way you can claim your charitable contributions as a write-off at tax time in the following year.
5. Visit somewhere new
Visiting somewhere that you have never been before is always a fun resolution. Don’t feel compelled to pay $3000 for a round trip to Australia to check this goal of your New Year’s list. How many times have you passed by that interesting exit on the highway or bypassed the museum you’ve always wanted to go to. Take a free weekend and visit the local towns and tourist attractions you never seem to get around to visiting.
If you do want to travel out of state to visit somewhere new, save a percentage of each paycheck throughout the year, and use that money to take a trip to celebrate the next New Year.
6. Do something daring
Adventures and daring experiences aren’t in far off places. After all, everywhere is someone’s back yard. Look around yours and see what daring experiences you could sign up for. You could hike to the top of the nearest mountain or rent a kayak for the day and take a white water rapids tour of your local river. Find a base jumping company in your state or find the nearest bungee jumping opportunity.
Most of these activities don’t cost more than you can budget for in your monthly entertainment budget. So instead of wasting money on eating out, going to the movies, and spending money on drinks, set the whole of your entertainment budget aside to plan your next adventure and experience something crazy, daring, and new.
Don’t let money hold you back
Look at the past year and see what went wrong that you hope to fix in the coming year. Did you eat out too much? Save money on your food budget and get healthy at the same time by cooking and eating at home. Did you feel boring and stuck in one place? Get out into your city and explore all of the free sights and attractions. If you’re willing to think outside the box, you’ll be able to accomplish any of the New Year’s resolutions on your list without hurting your finances.