New Year’s Resolutions That Won’t Break the Bank

Every New Year’s, I pick a resolution that I feel will improve myself over the next 12 months.  As a financial planner, I also make an effort to choose one that won’t break the bank.  So if you’re looking for a resolution that’s both impactful and affordable, here are a few to consider:

For Your Mind

I was inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s 2015 resolution to read a book a week, so I’ve been committed to reading 52 books a year (yes, you read that correctly) since then.  Because the cost of books can add up quickly over the course of the year, I discovered two great alternatives to buying:

  • Sign up for an unlimited eBook subscription through your eReader (Kindle, Nook, etc.). You’ll have immediate access to the books you want to read, and the fees are usually very reasonable ($9/month on average).  That’s the same amount I pay for Netflix!
  • Join your local library, which is free for residents and available to non-residents for a nominal fee ($5 for 2 years in Santa Monica). Many libraries now offer electronic borrowing via the Libby app, and you can find participating ones in your area here.  Keep in mind that the same lending rules apply: you have to wait if all copies are already checked out and you’re limited to a specific number of books at a given time.

For Your Body

In 2017, my New Year’s resolution was to go car-free (you can read about it in my “Art of Letting Go” blog series here).  The original intention for this major life change was to save money.  The rent for my new apartment was much higher than my old one, and I was spending $600/month on average for a car that I rarely drove because I live and work in the same city.  The unexpected benefit of not having a car was improving my health by getting more exercise.  Instead of driving around town, I started walking everywhere – work, church, the gym, and anywhere else that didn’t require ride share.  And more time outside has means that I’m getting more Vitamin D (a deficiency many Americans have) and taking more walks along the beach with my dog, Katie.  To date, I am still rocking the car-free life.

For Your Soul

The first thing that probably came to mind when you read “soul” is yoga, right?  Well, I recently discovered that meditation is a great and often more affordable alternative to yoga.  Both can help you stay grounded, discover inner peace, and improve your overall mental health, but mindfulness is most often practiced alone so you don’t have to pay for classes.  There are an endless number of free resources online, including video tutorials for beginners, intermediates, and even experienced practitioners.  Check out Somuchyoga’s for a list of the 10 Best Guided Meditation Videos on YouTubeMindfulness apps are also gaining popularity, and they range from $4-12/month depending on what you’re looking for.  That’s much more wallet-friendly than $30 yoga classes.

Hopefully you’ll walk away from this blog with at least one doable and cost-effective resolution for 2019 (or 2020).  Just remember that it’s never too late to start getting yourself in mental, physical, and spiritual shape!


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