10 Cheaper Solutions for Achieving Popular New Year’s Resolutions

More than half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Year after year, people all across the country make some of the same resolutions — save money, spend more time with family, lose weight. Since our goal here is to help you make the most of your money every day, we can definitely help with the first one. But, what if you could actually save money on all your resolutions?

I took at look at the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2014 and came up with a few frugal living tips for meeting them on a budget. So, even if your goals aren’t among the 34% of money-related resolutions, you can still save a little along the way. The key is to keep yourself from getting so caught up in New Year’s resolutions that you spend like crazy to stay on task. Gym memberships, new storage totes, and organizational systems can add up quickly — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Instead, here are 10 ways to save money while you work toward your goals!

  • Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions: 1 of 11
  • Lose Weight 2 of 11

    Year after year, losing weight is the #1 New Year's resolution. Those holiday cookies and candies really do a number on us! But, you don't have to spend a lot of money to lose weight. Online communities like Mamavation provide a support system and weight loss tips, without the cost of membership fees or starter packs. One simple way to lose weight is to reduce portion sizes — you'll be taking in fewer calories and spending less on food at the same time.

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol
  • Get Organized 3 of 11

    Don't fall into the trap of buying a bunch of totes and file folders in your efforts to get organized. Start with what you have, and get rid of what you don't need. Trash outdated paperwork, donate old clothes, clean out the toys and games — especially if your kids got a lot of new ones for Christmas. Then use boxes, baby wipe containers, and other containers you already have.

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol
  • Live Life to the Fullest 4 of 11

    This is a tricky one to help with because it is going to mean something different for everyone. To me, it means grasping opportunities when they're available. It means making friends and accepting invitations. It means traveling with my family. But it doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money. My friends and I grab a drink on discount night or enjoy girls' night in. My family travels on a budget — road trips with packed lunches and local travel to explore our own state. It's about making the most of the opportunities you have within your own budget.

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol
  • Spend Less/Save More 5 of 11

    If your main goal for the year is to save less money, keep it simple. Watch for sales on items you buy regularly. Cut unnecessary fast food expenses with a little meal planning. And look for ways to reduce expenses all year. A little savings each week can add up quickly by the end of 2014.

    Photo Credit: 401K Calculator

  • Get Fit 6 of 11

    If your goal is to workout more, skip the fancy gym membership, and work with what you have. Start small with pushups, crunches, and jumping jacks that you can do from home with no props. You can purchase fitness equipment at thrift shops and secondhand stores like Play It Again Sports. Also, check out Be Fit, a fitness channel on YouTube, for free workout videos. 

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol
  • Learn Something New 7 of 11

    When I want to try something new, I check out daily deal sites for discounts on classes, activities, and lessons. Rock-climbing, painting, cooking — it's all there at a discount. If you want to dive into a serious education, check out iTunes U from Apple for actual college courses from leading universities. Learn a new language. Study history or biology — all right from your iPhone or iPad.

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol
  • Quit Smoking 8 of 11

    If you're ready to get serious about quitting, money can be a big motivator. I have a friend who started putting the price of a pack of cigarettes in a jar every time he didn't buy one. It adds up faster than you think. For a little extra help, watch newspaper coupon inserts this month for savings on Nicorette and other smoking cessation products to help you quit.

    Photo Credit: Spencer Sokol

  • Help Others 9 of 11

    Making a commitment to do more for others doesn't have to be all about financial contributions. Give of your time — we rang bells for the Salvation Army this year, and the kids had a lot of fun watching our kettle fill up! Donate from your abundance — with so many new toys for Christmas, we're donating a lot of our old ones. Domestic violence shelters are a great place to give toys and children's clothing. And, while you're reorganizing your pantry this year, considering clearing a shelf by taking extra items to the food bank.

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol
  • Fall in Love 10 of 11

    While I can't actually help you fall in love, I can help you save some money on date night. Including a date night budget in your spending plan is key to a strong relationship, but it doesn't have to be an expensive event. Try lunch dates when the kids may already be in school and restaurants are cheaper. Order pizza and play board games at home. And, take advantage of Groupon deals for discounts on fun activities in your city.

    Photo Credit: Spencer Sokol
  • Spend More Time with Family 11 of 11

    If your goal for the year is to spend more time with family — whether they like it or not — keep in mind that you don't have to spend a lot of money to do it. Start a weekly game night at home, make pizzas together for lunch on Saturday, and take advantage of free festivals and family fun in your area. The idea is to focus on being together, not to overspend.

    Photo Credit: Heather Sokol

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