Frugal Solutions for New Year’s Resolutions
• Get in Shape. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions made every year is to get in shape or lose weight. Between gym memberships and weight loss programs, it can be an extremely expensive undertaking though. There are a few great ways to get in shape and lose weight without spending too much. First, stop eating out! Plan your meals and write out a calendar, including lunches, on the weekend and then make a trip to the grocery store to buy supplies. Packing and making your own meals will be cheaper than eating out. For fitness, download apps for free like Nike and MapMyRun to help you track your fitness success. You can also log your calories with apps like the Livestrong app. Finally, get a friend to work out with you to hold you accountable.
• Travel. For those of us who are adventurous, maybe travel made your list of resolutions this year. If you want to see the world, but have a limited budget, sites like PromotionalCodes.com will be your best friend. You can compare all of the major retailers side by side and see who is offering the best deals. If you are traveling abroad or to a place like Hawaii, do research on peak travel times and then travel in the off season. Hotel rooms and flights will be much cheaper if it isn’t peak season. Begin tracking fares in advance and monitor the trends to see when the deals are the cheapest. Bundling airfare, hotel and rental cars with sites like Travelocity, Priceline and Southwest Airlines Vacations can also save you big money.
• Improve Finances. Most of us want to improve our financial situation in 2014, but many do not even know where to start. First write down all of the goals you want to accomplish for the year such as pay off debt, put money in savings and make a big purchase. Then track your expenses and see where all of your money is going every month. Determine areas where you can cut spending and see how much money you have to reallocate to your goals. Try to pay off the debt with the largest interest rate first so you don’t waste any extra money and always put money in savings every month even if it’s just a small amount. There are free apps like Mint.com that will help you track your finances every month. This will help establish good behaviors. If you do want to make a big purchase like a television or computer, look for coupon and promotional codes to ensure you’re not overspending.
• Getting Organized. Many people are looking to de-clutter their lives this year. Start by cleaning out the house and the car on a weekend. Go through the closets and donate anything that doesn’t get used anymore. If you have clothes or accessories that you don’t want any more but are still in good condition and stylish, look for a local consignment store so you can potentially sell them and make a little money back. Also, go through paper and financial documents and shred what you don’t need. Then it’s time to go to stores like Office Max and Office Depot to buy filing cabinets and organizers if you don’t already have them. It’s also good to look at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Home Goods for things to organize the house with at a discounted price. Then use technology to your advantage. Use the calendar on your phone to stay on top of your schedule.
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