With the arrival of 2011, most of us have made our New Year’s Resolutions about how we’ll be making our lives better (saving more, living healthier, being more charitable, etc.). At LOZO we’re working on a new, innovative budgeting tool to help you save money on everything. In the meantime, here are some ways to save money on a few of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:
- Go to the Gym: One of the biggest New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, and for many that means embarking on a new gym regiment. If you think you can make a long-term commitment, then you’ll save money by signing up for a contract. For example, Costco.com offers a prepaid, 2 year limited membership to 24 Hour Fitness for $299.99 (about $25/month). But if you’re just getting your feet wet here, we recommend first taking advantage of free-trial offers at all your local fitness centers, using one after the other. You might get several free months this way. If you’re still committed, pick one you like best on a month-to-month basis, ideally that offers a minimal sign-up fee. Once you’re sure your resolution will stick, upgrade to a longer-term contract if you can lock in a 10-25% discount. Be sure you know the cancellation policy so you don’t get unexpectedly burned; some month-to-month contracts are really just long-term ones in disguise when they hide cancellation fees. You can also save even more money by working out at home (if you go with that option, check out our tips to help you save money on fitness equipment).
- Quit Smoking: If you’re a smoker there’s no easy way to quit, but the financial rewards can be as staggering as the health rewards. If you smoke a pack a day, quitting can save you $3,000+ each year on cigarettes alone, never mind things like doctor’s bills, higher insurance costs, and so on. If you’re 25 now, that’s an extra $120,000 by the time you’re 65, and many times that amount in potential investment returns. Check your health plan to see what smoking cessation products they might cover, and do some comparison shopping both online and in grocery & drug stores for the products you need to quit.
- Cook More Food at Home: If you can start cooking every breakfast, lunch and dinner rather than going out, you’ll save a ton, especially if you use LOZO’s tips on how to save money on groceries. Even converting one of your meals each day to a make-at-home one can save $1,000+ annually. If cooking dinners and packing lunches sounds like too much effort, why not start with something simpler: save $1,000 per year on coffee by making your own. Even if you prefer to keep eating out, at least let us help you save money on restaurants so you’ll be spending a little bit less.
- Embrace Your Habits: Ok, this might not be a popular New Year’s resolution exactly, but we think it belongs on this list just the same. Once you recognize your habits, it’s easier to save money on them. For example, if you always treat yourself to a certain snack or drink, you can cut your costs by 50%-75% by buying them in bulk rather than buying them individually in the drugstore or grocery store checkout line. Once you have the snacks, plan ahead by storing extras in places you’re most likely to be when a craving hits such as the office or your car.
- Save More Money / Get Out of Debt: Whether it’s New Year’s Day or any other day of the year, saving more money is a great goal to have. We hope our new budgeting tool will be a huge help. In the meantime, you can always check out LOZO for tips on how to save money on everything.
Happy New Year!