New Year’s Resolutions That Won’t Empty Your Wallet

A woman smiles while adding resolutions to a cork board


Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be hard. Self-improvement expert James Clear says between 81 and 92% fail. And you can jinx your success if your resolutions cost more than you can afford.

The takeaway? It makes sense to think through your new year's resolutions and plan affordable paths to success. Check out these money-saving suggestions for six common resolutions:

Eat Healthy

Eat out less and cook at home more. Go online and check out tips on how to save money when you make nutritious home-cooked meals. For instance:

  • Eat appropriate portions and eat less meat, which can be the most expensive food group on your shopping list. The article advises that three ounces is an appropriate serving size for cooked meat (about four ounces raw).
  • Divide your plate – no more than a quarter for meat, about half for vegetables, and a quarter for whole grains.
  • Buy less expensive cuts of beef and pork. Cook them low and slow – three hours or more – to make them tender.

Get Physically Fit

Who really needs an expensive gym membership? Take your exercise outside – even if you have to bundle up against the cold. Getting out in the sun for a brisk walk  can also help prevent “the winter blahs” and a condition called  seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Getting fit doesn’t mean you have to buy pricey equipment, either. You can find lots of free exercise routines online that require little or no equipment. For instance, Nerd Fitness features body weight exercises and workouts that can be done on outdoor playground equipment.

Stop Smoking

Some programs cost money, but you can find free resources to help you kick the habit at Even if you pay a fee, the cost of a program is probably small compared to the savings you’ll realize by quitting – and don’t forget the health benefits.

Do Good

Looking to support good causes in the new year? Charities appreciate money donations, but you can help in other ways. Consider donating your time and skills. Nonprofit organizations are always looking for volunteers.

Save Money

Even a resolution to spend less and improve your finances can cost money if you buy books and programs offered by financial experts. But you can find free budgeting and financial planning services through organizations in your community, as well as online resources like Money Saving Mom.

You can also find money-saving advice here at Dollars and Sense, including 25 tips for saving money on everyday expenses.

Learn Something New

When you learn new skills, you open the door to opportunities that could raise your income. Training often costs money, but scholarships are available for adult students. And if you know where to look, you can find free or low-cost training. Don’t forget to ask about educational assistance at work. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement programs for employees – especially if the classes are job-related.