New Year’s day is my favorite day of the whole year. I love new beginnings and the promise for a better life inherent therein. In that spirit, today I am providing 16 resolutions that are good for your money to help you select your New Year’s resolution before we see the ball drop. It just so happens that, conveniently, I have how-to guides for each. So, let’s get familiar with our money saving resolution line up:
1. Get in Great Shape
Losing just 10% of your body weight can reduce your lifetime medical expenses by up to $5,300. This savings comes in the form of lowering our risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol. Plus, a healthier you is more apt to achieve great things. It’s a myth that getting in shape costs a lot in both time and money. In “Getting in Great Shape using 4 Apps and $3” I show you how a small $3 investment can reduce your body weight by 10%. How do I know? I used them myself to lose and maintain 11.51% in body weight!
2. Learn a New Job Skill
As you learn in the 1st Rule of Negotiating, differentiating yourself in such a way that employers want you more than you want them requires that you not only gain an important set of skills but also keep that learning active over time. In “Ladies Make More with a “Masculine” Set of Skills” I suggest that you may want to look at developing a work skill that is seen as more traditionally masculine if your goal is to make more money. Some other important job skills to learn include the information interview and empathy as a competitive advantage.
3. Be More Supportive of Other Women
We know that this is a man’s world. One of the unfortunate symptoms of this man’s world is that the more sexist an environment is the more likely women are to bully each other within it. In fact, studies have shown that women often become even more sexist than their male counterparts in the same sexist environment. This bullying impacts our wallets and it impacts our health. Women have a lot of power to help one another succeed. In fact, we won’t stack the deck in our favor until we do support one another openly and regularly. Learn more in “Sarah Silverman on Women Supporting Women, Sort Of“.
4. Become a Better Negotiator
Yes, men make more than women. Some of the reason why this is the case is the inherent value tied to traditionally female work roles. However, women are leaving money on the table by not negotiating things like our salaries and car loans. This blog is a good place to start as we give details on the 1st Rule of Negotiating and the 2nd Rule of Negotiating. I have also outlined how to negotiate the best deal on a car. Outside of this blog, I recommend Get Raised (that provides an outlined series of steps you can use to increase your salary) as well as She Negotiates (which is ranked in the top websites for women and the top websites for your career).
5. Become an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is a skill that will help you if you want to start a new business to be sure. However, it is also an underrepresented, and highly lucrative, skill in a traditional work setting as well. I believe that entrepreneurs are the artists of the business world that create things of value out of pure grit and determination. In 4 Lessons for the Entrepreneurial Artist Inside You, I outline steps that you can take to grow your own entrepreneurial spirit.
6. Go Vegetarian or Vegan
As I’ve mentioned on this blog, I’m vegan. What I haven’t mentioned is that I became vegan after instituting a 30 day challenge for myself as a New Year’s Resolution back in 2009. I honestly thought that going vegan would have been a challenge, but it really wasn’t. I quickly learned how entrepreneurial minds in the food world had created so many options for me as a vegan in the grocery store. Once the 30 day challenge was over, I went back to my non-vegan lifestyle, and, to be quite honest, I got very sick. In a quest for better health, I made the decision to go vegan permanently. I also learned that this idea that vegan diets have to be expensive is another myth. I address this in “Whole Paycheck? How Going Vegetarian Actually Saves you Money” and “How I Spend Less than $50 Per Week on Vegan Groceries“.
7. Save Money on Groceries
Even if you choose to eat meat (I’m not judging) you can still save money. In “Save by Eating The Same Thing Every Day (without actually eating the same thing every day)” I show you my number one tip for reducing your grocery bill dramatically. You can also read how my friend Jen feeds her five children well in “5 Things a Mother of 5 Does to Feed the Masses“. Lastly, I show you what food items you should make instead of buy (with my favorite recipes added) if you want to save yourself some money in “Break Bread Instead of Your Budget: 10 Things to Make Instead of Buy“.
8. Go DIY
I’ve also disclosed in this blog how home improvement, and carpentry in particular, are my favorite hobbies. Just this year I finished putting down real hardwood flooring with a real nail gun attached to a real air compressor. Pardon my over sharing. I have learned that if I simply say that I “put down hardwood floors” then most men will make me qualify my answer until I point out that I “really” did put down hardwood floors. That bit about the real nail gun and real air compressor are important to them. Anyway, through that experience I saved thousands (and thousands) of dollars. Through this nifty hardwood floor calculator I learned that it should have cost me between $9,713.80 – $12,028.52 in order to have hardwood floors in my 1200 sq. ft. condo in Cincinnati. It cost me less than $2,000 even after factoring things like equipment rentals into the equation. I similarly built our king sized bed for less than $100 using skills I learned on Ana White’s blog. Going DIY saves big, and it is easy to get started. In “Learn DIY Skills from the Specialists You Hire” I outline how you can transform a visit from the plumber into a one-on-one lesson in DIY.
9. Invest in Kindness
Every dollar you earn or spend is a vote for the type of world that you want to live in. In my effort to help build a more awesome world around me, I actively invest in those in this world that exhibit kindness out of habit. You can learn more in “Letting Good Win by Investing in Kindness“.
10. Save on Healthcare Costs
This is one of my favorite topics since I work in the healthcare industry. As a result, I’ve worked to fill this blog with tips on the best way to both save money on healthcare expenses and help keep yourself out of healthcare related debt. In “10 Big Healthcare Cost Questions Answered by a Doctor” Dr. Nanette Nuessle provides cost cutting advice from a doctor’s perspective. You can better learn about health insurance in “Plain English Definitions to Confusing Health Insurance Terms“. I also outline the most important thing that you can do to save on healthcare costs in “Triage Your Way to Cheaper Care with Healthcare Mad Libs“. Lastly, I show how you can use your iPhone to help prevent healthcare cost related bankruptcy in “How Your iPhone Can Save You from Healthcare Related Bankruptcy“.
11. Spend Less on Clothes (but still look fabulous)
On resolutions related to fashion, I’ve seen women go to the extreme by doing things like wearing a single outfit for an entire year. In “Drastically Reduce Your Clothing Budget (without reducing your fabulousness)” I show you how you don’t need to go anywhere near that extreme in order to save big money on clothing using a six step plan.
12. Give Back
Most personal finance advice includes tips on getting out of debt, creating a safety net, and investing for retirement. I always recommend a fourth step that I think is just as important. Give back. You see, money has karma. In those times when I have been responsible for and generous with my time and money, I am rewarded for it with real dollars. Those times in my life that I have been more closed off and less generous have cost me financially as well. I explain the dynamics of money karma in “Money Karma: How Giving to Charities Rewards You with Fortune“. I also outline how you can give money to charities without actually giving your own money to charities in “Giving Money to Your Charities (without actually giving money)“.
13. Keep a Clean House
By keeping the world around us orderly, we benefit from not getting trapped in a world filled with pointless stuff. By understanding what items of little value we have hiding in our closets and garages we are less apt to accumulate those things in the first place. In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I hate cleaning. So why should you take cleaning advice from me? Because I hate cleaning and I have figured out a way to keep my house clean without pulling out all of my hair. Learn more in “Cleaning Your House a Little Bit Every Day“. You can also learn how to get your clothes clean on the cheap with the tips in “How to Wash (and Soften) Your Clothes for $.07 per Load“.
14. Prepare for an Emergency
My favorite way of preparing for an emergency is with a safety net fund to help tide me over in case I lose my job or become too sick to work. However, preparing for emergencies doesn’t end there. In “Would you be ready if a disaster struck tomorrow?” I show you how to prepare your family for emergencies with a small budget.
15. Spend Less & Save More
When trying to find a resolution that is good for your money, this one is pretty much the holy grail. In order to cut right to the chase in your journey towards a better relationship with your money, I discuss how to curb your spending substantially in “5 Step Plan for Killing the Impulse to Spend Forever“. If you are looking for more of a roadmap based on where you are right now, then you can read “Fast, Diet, or Maintenance? What spending zone should you be in?“.
16. Become More Happy
This is our ultimate goal with any resolution, right? Many of us believe that money bring happiness, but is that true? In “Where does happiness come from?” I outline the five factors that are most important to life-long happiness.
Happy new beginnings everyone!