Jan 01, 2019

Four savings-savvy New Year's resolutions

Five of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to be better with money, exercise more, eat healthier, spend more time with loved ones and learn a new skill. A common misconception is that to achieve the last four, you need to sacrifice the first. Not true.

It’s good to have ambitious resolutions but it can be easy to let them fall by the wayside, especially when you can rationalize that giving up on one means you’ll do better with another.

Think healthy eating means spending more at the grocery store? Does working out more really require the most expensive gym membership? Saving more money doesn’t have to impede other good intentions for a new year. In fact, they can go hand-in-hand a lot more smoothly than expected.

Five of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to be better with money, exercise more, eat healthier, spend more time with loved ones and learn a new skill. A common misconception is that to achieve the last four, you need to sacrifice the first. Not true. In fact, you can achieve any of these other four goals without losing sight of your financial goals.


Saving money while eating healthier

A lot of people think that healthy eating is more expensive. In fact, what typically costs people the most at the grocery store is convenience. And the healthiest meals always start with raw ingredients. Global News looked into this around this time last year and posited that a single person can get their grocery bill down to $50 a week by avoiding the frozen and pre-made aisles and sticking to fresh produce and simple flavour components.

Even items like pre-made sauces and marinades can be avoided to help with both the grocery bill and eating healthier. A jar of sauce can be full of processed ingredients and sugars and might be good for only a single meal. By instead buying simple flavour components to help achieve the same flavour profile, you’ll spend less in the long term and wind up eating much healthier. Websites like Tasty have no shortage of simple and healthy recipes with step-by-step instructions on how to make delicious meals with simple ingredients, like this mason jar recipe for a simple and healthy tomato sauce.


A thrifty way of working out

One of the best exercises anyone can do is also the least expensive: walking. Any exercise’s benefits are usually specific to the individual and their genetics, but universally there seems to be little debate over the benefits of walking for an hour a day. From weight loss and improved heart health to better sleep and increased metabolism, it’s almost miraculous how much you can improve your physical health from finding the time to take a stroll.

Though summertime walks through the neighbourhood are totally appealing, it’s a little more difficult to find that same attraction when it’s minus 20 degrees outside. If bundling up to brace for a chilly walk isn’t your thing, it’s not impossible to take your strolls indoors. Take a walk through a mall (just try to avoid the stores and the enticing winter sales), find a community rec centre that isn’t charging a lot for admission or even find ways to do laps through your own home.

If you’re looking for something a little more than walking, there are tons of great exercises you can do for free at home. YouTube channels like Fitness Blender and Yoga with Adriene offer free and easy to follow exercises that don’t require any expensive exercise equipment. The videos usually run between 10 and 40 minutes, making the workouts easy to fit into your day.


Spending time doesn’t mean spending money

Reconnecting with friends and family can be the easiest of the resolutions to achieve while saving more money. Though the initial instinct when seeing loved ones may be to go out for dinner, find a play or concert to attend or go shopping together, catching up with the people in your life doesn’t have to require spending on an outing.

Have a cupboard with some dusty board games? Have a dinner idea you’ve always wanted to put together? Want to try baking a new recipe? Invite your loved ones over for an afternoon or an evening. Whether it’s a board game, a meal or a home baked treat, great conversation will inevitably take over and you’ll feel that connection rekindle.


Learn something new, for free, every day

This is probably the most difficult resolution to achieve without spending money. New skills and hobbies almost always require some sort of investment but there are ways of reducing that investment so you can get down to trying your hands at something new sooner. Subscription services such as Skillshare allow you to explore online courses on different subjects from curated industry experts. From creative writing courses from author Roxane Gay to creating digital videos with Buzzfeed’s Matt Bellassai, there are a few courses offered for free but the subscription is usually pretty small compared to the value gained from the instructional videos, typically around $10 a month.

But if this subscription still seems like it’s going to cut into your savings goals, there are other ways of finding courses and educational opportunities at no cost. Community leagues and local libraries often have programs that deliver new skill instructions to its members. The other option is from free online services such as YouTube. Though industry experts can sometimes share good information through YouTube, there are very few quality controls so be wary of the content you’re viewing.

How are you achieving your New Year’s resolutions without sacrificing your savings? What insights do you have that we could add to our list for little to no spend resolution hacks? Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to let us know how you’ll be tackling your 2019 goals while keeping up savings.