new year&#039;s resolution en-US 10 New Year Money Resolutions Anyone Can Keep <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-new-year-money-resolutions-anyone-can-keep" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Woman making money new year resolutions anyone can keep" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every New Year brings the usual New Year's resolutions. Time to lose weight, exercise more, get a promotion, and of course, save money. I'm not going to tell you to cut out cups of fancy coffee, or contribute more to your 401K &mdash; you've heard that before, and no doubt will again. These are some easy resolutions that absolutely anyone can keep. If you want to save money in 2016, start right here.</p> <h2>1. Use Money-Saving Apps</h2> <p>There are so many great apps that make it effortless to save money. Most of the time, you don't even know you're doing it. For example, <a href="">Acorns</a> automatically rounds up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar, and applies the difference (what you would call spare change) to an investment account. <a href="">Digit</a> will monitor your spending habits, and safely move some of your money into a savings account when you can afford it (it comes with a no-overdraft guarantee as well). Do a quick search in the App Store or Google Play Store, and download the apps that you are most comfortable with. Then, set it and forget it. The money soon adds up.</p> <h2>2. Buy Used</h2> <p>Sure, it's nice to have brand new things, but often it's not essential. By buying used, you'll save yourself a whole lot of cash over the year. Pick up gently used clothing at thrift stores or on eBay at a fraction of the price they retail for brand new. Cars should always be bought used, as new ones depreciate in value the second you drive off the lot. For electronic items, kitchen appliances, and even furniture, look for factory seconds, or manufacturer refurbished. Every time you buy used, you are making significant savings.</p> <h2>3. Sell Unwanted Items</h2> <p>During the year, you'll acquire new things, and throw away old ones. Well, not so fast. Although it's easier to just put items in the trash or the donation bag, it is also very easy to sell them. Sites like Etsy, Craigslist, and eBay make it very simple. All you need to do is take a few good snapshots using your smartphone, and list using the templates provided. You can make hundreds of dollars a month from an investment of just 10&ndash;15 minutes a few times a week.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Clip&quot; Coupons</h2> <p>It used to be a chore to go through the circulars every week and cut out coupons. These days, you can &quot;clip&quot; coupons electronically, and it is so easy your kids can do it for you. Apps like Cartwheel by Target, Cellfire,, and Grocery IQ make it painless. Many of them apply the coupons directly to your grocery store loyalty card, and others send scannable coupons to your phone for easy access. It's free money just waiting to be collected.</p> <h2>5. Make Big Batches of Your Favorite Foods</h2> <p>Making spaghetti and meatballs for 12 people is almost as easy as making it for four. It can save time and money by preparing meals in large batches. Take advantage of bulk pricing, especially on meats and canned goods (those 10 for $10 deals can be invaluable). And, you're creating meals that can be frozen and reheated at a later date, perhaps for lunch at work, or for dinner again later in the month. Even if you live alone, cook for a big group of people. It's way cheaper than buying ready meals, and easier than cooking every night.</p> <h2>6. Use Cash When You Can</h2> <p>Credit and debit cards are very convenient, but they make spending money mindless. If you withdraw cash, you can see it being spent as you go, and this makes it easier to understand your own spending habits. Make sure you use either a free ATM, or go into your branch to make the withdrawal to avoid fees. By all means, carry an emergency card, but it really should be for emergencies only. If you get brave, try leaving the house without it now and again. Sure, you may not have enough cash for everything you want, but maybe you don't need all of those items anyway.</p> <h2>7. Take Advantage of Your Library</h2> <p>Books, CDs, and movies are cheap enough to rent or own, but almost every title you can think of will be available for free at your local library. What's more, you don't even have to physically go into the library. An app called Hoopla lets you borrow digital copies of movies, audiobooks, ebooks, albums, and more. After a set amount of time, the items come due and are removed from your account. No late fees, no hassle. You'll be surprised at how much you save.</p> <h2>8. Raise Your Deductibles</h2> <p>You can pay a lot less for your insurance policies simply by raising the deductible. If it's currently at $500, raise it to $1000, or even $2000. You will see a massive drop in the monthly premium. Now, you may think &quot;But if anything happens, I'll have a bigger bill.&quot; Yes, you will. However, consider the fact that on homeowners insurance, the average household makes a claim <a href="">every 10 years</a>. For auto insurance, the average is <a href="">every 17.9 years</a>! Think about that. You are paying a lot extra to keep that deductible low, and the chances are, you'll only ever need it a few times in your life. Still, to protect yourself, beef up your emergency fund to cover the deductible.</p> <h2>9. Buy Generic Whenever Possible</h2> <p>It's one of the simplest things you can do to save money at the grocery store, and takes little to no effort on your part. From laundry detergent and cereal, to breads, cheeses, and coffee creamers, there is usually a generic version for almost everything. They can be less than half the price of the name brand, and 99% of the time, you won't notice the difference.</p> <h2>10. Program Your Thermostat</h2> <p>If no one is home, there is no reason to have your heat set to comfortable temperatures. A programmable thermostat will set you back as little as $50, and can save you big. You can set the heating, or A/C, to less aggressive temperatures when you're out, and program the temperature you prefer to kick in about a half hour before you arrive home. If you really want to go all out, pick up a learning thermostat, like <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B0131RG6VK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=REANDTTRTBQMVIVT" target="_blank">Nest</a>. It will adjust the temperature automatically for you based on your habits. And, it's also hooked up to the web, so you can adjust it using your smartphone.</p> <p><em>What are your New Year money resolutions?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Americans&#039; savings rate up to almost 7% - who benefits?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Common Currency: A Primer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Budgeting Tricks for Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Steps to Absorb the Cost of an at-Home Lifestyle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Killin &#039;em Out There: The School Clothes Conundrum</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budgeting money new year's resolution savings Mon, 28 Dec 2015 16:00:04 +0000 Paul Michael 1626213 at 4 Tips for Making Resolutions Stick in the New Year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="resolutions" title="resolutions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>New Year&rsquo;s resolutions have become a bit of a cliché, especially when you consider the statistics &mdash; according to a 2002 <a target="_blank" href="">study</a> published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 19% of people who make resolutions are still sticking to them after two years. So what&rsquo;s the point?</p> <p>As much as I cling to the cynical view, I&rsquo;m all for resolutions for one simple reason &mdash; results. Resolutions really work, and I&rsquo;m not just speaking anecdotally. Among the people who make resolutions in a typical year, 46% keep them for at least six months, compared to only 4% of a comparable group of people who wanted to make changes and thought about doing so, but stopped short of actually making that commitment. In other words, the power of a New Year&rsquo;s resolution may not be so much in how you make it or what you resolve to do, but whether you actually make a resolution at all.</p> <p>Pretty cool, huh? There is one snag, though &mdash; most of us don&rsquo;t know what a resolution really is. (See also: <a href="">Why&nbsp;Your Big New Year's Resolutions Are&nbsp;Pointless</a>)</p> <h3>Remember: Resolutions Aren&rsquo;t Goals</h3> <p>Setting a concrete goal to work towards during the year is a valuable exercise. After all, it could be the impetus you need to push you to do something you&rsquo;ve always wanted to do, like run a marathon, travel, or finally start putting some effort into retirement savings. But while many people resolve to do very specific things (losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising more regularly top the list), those aren&rsquo;t really resolutions.</p> <p>They&rsquo;re goals.</p> <p>What&rsquo;s the difference? Well, a resolution is the act of resolving or determining on a course of action, but the word also implies a sense of firmness of purpose, of being resolute. In other words, while a goal is something that you work on until it is complete, a resolution is better thought of as something that you must <em>live</em>, day in and day out.</p> <p>With that in mind, here are some ways to make better changes in the New Year. And by that I mean changes you&rsquo;ll be able to make continued progress on for years to come.</p> <h3>1. Stop Trying to Make the <em>Right</em> Resolution</h3> <p>When I make resolutions, I often find myself torn between resolving to do something I feel like I should do and choosing a more personal resolution that really resonates with me. Maybe you feel like you should <a href="">lose weight</a>, or your family is bugging you to quit smoking. Those are great goals to set, but if they aren&rsquo;t in line with what you want, I&rsquo;d be willing to bet you won&rsquo;t succeed &mdash; at least not for long.</p> <p>Instead of trying to make the right resolution, focus on making one that&rsquo;s right for you. Try thinking about the things you did that made you feel proud and happy during the year, and the things you regret. Then come up with a resolution that&rsquo;ll help you embrace more of the good and less of the bad. Now that&rsquo;s progress, especially if you continue to do this year in and year out.</p> <h3>2. Do It Every Day</h3> <p>Gretchen Rubin, author of &ldquo;The Happiness Project,&rdquo; often writes about the power of doing something every day, even if it&rsquo;s only for a few moments.</p> <p>&ldquo;If I try to do something four days a week, I spend a lot of time arguing with myself about whether today is the day, or tomorrow, or the next day; did the week start on Sunday or Monday; etc.,&rdquo; she wrote in a 2009 <a target="_blank" href="">blog post</a>. &ldquo;The things you do every day take on a certain beauty, and provide a kind of invisible architecture to daily life.&rdquo;</p> <p>An invisible architecture. If you think about your life that way, the things you do every day, the things you resolve to be a priority, the things you get so used to doing that you do them without question, could be considered the very foundation and framework of your life.</p> <p>When it comes to what you do every day, resolve to add things that improve that structure, such as making healthy choices, spending time with your family, or <a href="">finding time for yourself</a>. We breathe every day, we eat, we sleep. Those are essential. When it comes to the other stuff, there&rsquo;s some wiggle room. Even so, what you choose to fill the rest of the time with should be what matters most to you.</p> <h3>3. Try, but Don't Succeed</h3> <p>A year is a long time, and often, situations we don&rsquo;t anticipate make keeping a resolution difficult. I often find myself basking in the glow of a little time off around Christmas and resolving to be more patient or, perhaps more specifically, less totally impatient. But once I&rsquo;m up against a little more stress and a little less sleep, I sometimes snap under the pressure (and ultimately snap <em>at</em> someone).</p> <p>Change is hard, but if there&rsquo;s anything harder than changing our ways it has to be our failed attempts. Fortunately, a Stanford psychologist has found some evidence that failure is actually a performance enhancer.</p> <p>According to research by <a href="">Carol Dweck</a>, people who saw ability as something that could be developed were able to make huge strides in just about anything they set their minds to, while those who chose to feel helpless about their lack of ability failed to progress. The difference is largely one of perspective. Do you see your resolutions as something you need to complete and check off your list, or as a work in progress that you can continue to perfect over time? I&rsquo;m going with the latter. At least that way, there&rsquo;s hope for me yet.</p> <h3>4. Start Small, Live Large</h3> <p>Maybe you&rsquo;ve resolved to live healthier or be happier, but whatever big ambitions you have in life, <a href="">start small</a>. (After all, if a resolution is something you live every day of your life, you have time!) Start chipping away at your resolution by choosing something you will absolutely be able to achieve. Once you have that down, add something else. This won&rsquo;t deliver the dramatic, ugly-duckling-to-beautiful-swan type transformation we all sort of fantasize about. The thing is, I think we all recognize that most of those fantasies just aren&rsquo;t very realistic. So take little steps toward to your big ambitions. Over time, you will achieve something tangible that you can proud of.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not sure what resolutions I&rsquo;ll make this year, but I&rsquo;m always aiming to live a life that&rsquo;s happier, healthier and more in line with what I believe is important. As a result, I look forward to making a resolution of some sort. When it comes to health and happiness, there is no destination. But when you think about it, that&rsquo;s actually a good thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Why Your Big New Year&#039;s Resolutions Are Pointless</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Do Things That Scare You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">You Can Make a Big Life Change: Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development acheiving goals good habits new year's resolution Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:36:30 +0000 Tara Struyk 959923 at Why Your Big New Year's Resolutions Are Pointless <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Woman running" title="Woman running" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>New Year's Resolutions &mdash; they're dumb. Yeah, I said it. What, you don't think so? You're wrong.</p> <p>Sometimes I think that the idea of a &quot;New Year's Resolution&quot; was invented by the media to have something fluffy to write about during the dead week between December 25 and January 1. It certainly gives authors, radio hosts, and bloggers plenty of fuel for pointless articles about how to make, and keep, a resolution. And yes, while New Year's Resolutions are the fodder for this blog post, I'll have you know that I'm calling for an end to these stupid promises that we make to ourselves on the brink of a new year. May this be the last blog post that anyone ever writes about New Year's Resolutions! (See also: <a href="">Trade in New Year's Resolutions for Achieving Life Goals</a>)</p> <p>Why? Because great big New Year's Resolutions are a stupid concept. Choosing a single day to start a major life change isn't logical. That's why New Year's Resolutions don't work, and when you fail to keep them, you feel like a loser. This isn't to say that no one has ever succeeded in keeping a very drastic New Year's resolution, but the vast majority of New Year's Resolutions go unfulfilled. Think about it &mdash; if every person succeeded in losing weight as a part of a New Year's Resolution, we'd be a much thinner society.</p> <p>And of course, there are easier resolutions you can make that will help your life feel a bit more organized &mdash; for a list of useful, doable New Year's Resolutions, see <a href="">25 Small New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions You Can Start Today</a>.</p> <p>But back to BIG resolutions &mdash; why don't they work? Why do so many of us make, and break, our yearly resolutions to work harder, to quit smoking, to eat healthier, and to save more money?</p> <h2>1. January 1st Is a Terrible Start Date</h2> <p>If we were to pick a day to start making a difference in our lives, January 1st would be among the worst. It's the day we wake up, hung over and or/still sleepy, and have to drag ourselves to the coffee machine or Bloody Mary IV drip. Freshly hydrated, we blink into the cold, uncaring eye of a January morning and try to convince ourselves that <em>today is the day to stop smoking</em>.</p> <p>Just the thought is causing me to crave a cigarette, and I'm not even a smoker.</p> <p>Yes, I understand why January 1st seems like a good day to start anew. After all, it's marks the first day after the end of all holiday partying. No more large meals, no more holiday cookies, no more glasses of champagne...or eggnog, or mulled wine, or Spanish coffee, or wassail, or spiked cider. January 1st may feel like a good time for austerity following a major spending blitz &mdash; it's the purge after the binge.</p> <p>Here's the thing about making a significant lifestyle change &mdash; either you are <em>ready to do it right now</em>, or you aren't. January 1st isn't going to roll around and make it any easier to start going for a daily run. If you can't make smart choices before January 1st, then the chances of beginning a sustainable change on January 1st is slim. What makes it harder is that...</p> <h2>2. Traces of Holiday Cheer Remain</h2> <p>It's not like all the physical remains of the holidays magically disappear at midnight on January 1st.</p> <p>Let's say that you've decided to lose weight in the New Year &mdash; that's what the majority of people choose for their New Year's Resolution. The problem with that particular resolution is that, if you just spent the holidays in a gluttonous glory, your body is now accustomed sweets and sloth. There are still candy canes and boxes of Almond Roca lying around. <em>Fruitcake can keep for decades*</em>. The temptation is still there, and what's worse, your body is now accustomed to enjoying a box of Ferrero Rocher for lunch. And you're going to start denying yourself after all of that? I'm sure your metabolism won't rebel at all.</p> <p>Or what if your New Year's Resolution is to save more money by cutting back on shopping &mdash; but your family gave you a couple dozen gift cards for Hanukkah, and you have trouble leaving Target without dropping a couple hundred dollars? January 1st's arrival doesn't make this any easier. That's especially because...</p> <h2>3. We Expect Too Much</h2> <p>There are people in this world who can simply pick up a new hobby or undertake a big challenge like it's nothing. Take my brother-in-law (please!), who can lounge around smoking cigarettes and eating massive plates of pasta, and then one day, simply run a 10K race for the fun of it...without fainting.</p> <p>Most people are not my brother-in-law. If you are miserably out of shape, making a New Year's Resolution to run a marathon by June isn't just hard, it can be disheartening. If you have medical problems that affect your health, or complicate your ability to partake in physical activity, it can be even tougher.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that you should abandon your desire to be healthier, to run a race, to swim across a lake, to cut back on booze, or to learn to play tennis. What it means is that you can't approach the goal as an &quot;all or nothing&quot; resolution. You can aim high, but you have to occasionally accept that there are some targets that aren't reachable, need modification, or will take more time. There's nothing sillier than wanting to lose 20 pounds and giving up by mid-February because you haven't seen enough of a change. Change takes time, perseverance, and commitment. Without these things...</p> <h2>4. Momentum Dies So Fast</h2> <p>I go to the gym on a fairly** regular basis, but I know to avoid it during the month of January. Why? Because I know that the elliptical machines and free weights will be occupied from dusk to dawn with people who made the New Year's Resolution to &quot;get in shape.&quot; But by February, the gym will be nearly empty again, and I can return and lift weights in relative peace.</p> <p><em>New Year's Resolutions are usually sincere</em> &mdash; people don't say to themselves &quot;I want to take a half-assed stab at being healthy.&quot; People DO want to quit smoking. They DO want to <a href="">be in shape</a>. They DO want to have a baby, and get a better paying job, and save for retirement.</p> <p>But you have to be committed to these goals before the New Year rolls around. In fact, you have to be ready to start making lifestyle changes immediately, even if in modified form. Because while January 1st signifies the start of a new calendar year, actual change starts with YOUR internal clock, and that clock is already ticking.</p> <p><em>*Fortunately, nobody eats fruitcake. Except Canadians. Who may or may not be an actual people.</em><br /> <em>**Every other month or so.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Self-Discipline Tricks I Learned From the Marathon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Eliminate Failed New Year&#039;s Resolutions with 3 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Trade in New Year&#039;s Resolutions for Achieving Life Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">My One Favorite Frugal Living Tip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development achieving goals new year's resolution Wed, 28 Dec 2011 11:36:29 +0000 Andrea Karim 839377 at