Today is November 29th and we still have about a month until new year hits. You’re probably wondering why on earth I’m writing about new year’s resolutions — we’re all procrastinators, aren’t we? 😉
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too early nor too late to start planning for your new year’s resolution!
In fact, I started mine in mid-October of last year and I’ve been tracking my progress since. There’s still a lot that I need to learn, so it will be an ongoing progress despite the time, year, and month. So, why don’t we just call it life resolutions? haha…
I know the festive holidays are coming, but I encourage all of you to start now!
To help you get started, I compiled a list of new year’s resolutions (*ahem* life resolutions) that will surprisingly improve your finances for 2018 — or forever. And no, I’m not kidding here!
Let’s take a look to see what they are, shall we?
1) Get in shape
Every time I hear people talk about new year’s resolutions and their goal to build those sexy abs, the first image that comes to mind is Jessica Alba’s “Into the Blue“ photo shoots. An old film, but who can forget how fabulous she looked in that light-blue bikini??
But aside from looking and feeling great about your body, studies show that there are hidden financial benefits of being fit.
According to this article by Lacie Glover, an author at NerdWallet, she writes:
“A study published in the Journal of Labor Research found that men who work out regularly can expect to make 6% more than their sedentary counterparts, on average. For women, the pay boost is higher: Fitness-savvy females make 10% more, on average.”
Glover’s article also mentions that those who exercise regularly take less sick days. Based on research from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, these sick days become a lost source of income and/or a missed opportunity for promotions.
On top of that, those who exercise regularly have a lower chance of becoming sick. I read here that according to the World Health Organization source, people who are more fit can save roughly $500 per year on health care expenses.
There are many other hidden financial benefits of being fit, but isn’t this enough to motivate you to burn those calories off?
And for the men out there, are you ready to reap some of those financial benefits by getting ripped?
2) Become more productive
This point also ties in with the benefits of being fit.
In addition to the sources above, I found an article by Julie Boehlke at LIVESTRONG where she talks about the relationship between exercise and productivity.
Based on this post, exercise can improve your work productivity because being alert, energized, and positive can help you get your work done quicker.
Personally, I can attest to this. Generally, I would do cardio five times a week along with some ab workout. But on the days when I flop, I would feel like $hit and perform like a snail at my desk – like……. literally!
Going back to the article, Boehlke mentions that these factors (i.e. being alert, energize) make you more eligible for promotions and other job opportunities. However, if you don’t exercise regularly, Boehlke adds that “you could be putting your health, and your job, at risk.”
Want to improve your productivity? You can read this Inc. post by John Rampton. I am totally on board with him when he recommends us to quit multitasking!
3) Adopt a healthy diet
At this point, you’re probably thinking: “Okay… it seems like becoming an overall health nut is financially beneficial.”
You’re probably right on that one haha!
Overall, consuming the right foods can lower your healthcare costs as well according to this article.
– drinking plenty of water
– cutting carbonated drinks and alcohol (my next point)
– reducing sodium, sugar, and processed foods
– adding fresh cut fruits and veggies
– eating lean meats
– adding fish oil to your diet
– eating dark chocolate (OH. EM. GEE. I love dark chocolate!)
On top of reducing healthcare costs, and in some cases insurance premiums, preparing healthy meals at home is wallet-friendly compared to dining out.
Think about how much you spend on breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. While it’s perfectly fine to eat out with friends and family (I get it, it’s a social thing and I do it once to twice a week), it’s a good idea to keep track of your expenses. Not to mention, it’s also a good idea to track the type of calories you’re consuming. I can tell you that most of the food you consume from any type of restaurant is packed with bad calories that contain high sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats.
As a new year’s resolution (or even now), do yourself a favor by reducing the bad foods and cooking more healthy meals at home. Your finances will improve along with your health as a result!
4) Reduce the alcohol
I know you probably don’t want to hear this now, especially when Christmas and New Year’s Eve is around the corner! But we all know how expensive drinks can get (I hope you do).
Though it’s fine to drink in moderation, this can really add up over the years. Think of the times you joined your coworkers for drinks after a long stressful day at work. Or maybe the time when you were in Vegas and bought a round for your friends.
How much did you spend on average? Do you know?
Here, use this alcohol spending calculator to find out – don’t forget to include taxes and tips!
If you’re quite the drinker, these results will shock you. My fiance knows how this feels because he attends these events from time to time with his work buddies.
And I hate to say this, but this isn’t going to improve your finances for 2018, or ever!
So, if your calculation came out to be in the thousands, you may want to cut back.
Alternatively, you can consider arranging drink events with your friends at someone’s place to save money. My friends and I opt for this option and it’s definitely budget friendly! I’m sure that’s what most of you are doing for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 😉
5) Quit smoking
I was never a smoker, but growing up with a father and grandpa who used to smoke A LOT, I can understand how it can be tough to quit.
But thinking about their kids’ health, and the monetary costs (the cigarettes, medical, insurance, etc.), both my daddy and grandpa worked extremely hard to break their habits.
An article by Christina Couch mentioned that it takes about two months or so to break a bad habit according to a study by researchers at University College London in the UK.
If this doesn’t convince you to stop, consider reading this post about the million-dollar habit of smoking. It mentions that according to a study from WalletHub, the average smoker for 51 years will spend more than $1 million on both cigarettes and health care for tobacco-related illnesses.
With that said, consider making an effort to quit this habit to improve your health. And let’s not forget that you’re trying to improve your financial situation, right?
6) Learn a new skill or hobby
Some hobbies cost money, but some can be monetized. With that said, you can consider picking up a skill or hobby that can improve your finances.
For example, I started flipping furniture about a year ago to earn more. I may not be skilled at it, but I enjoy the learning process — not to mention, the extra cash as well.
Another example is when my fiancé and I learned how to become landlords since we bought our first property.
Were we scared?
Yes, we were nervous as f*#k! We were terrified of the stories we hear such as missed payments, property damages, sour relationships, etc.
On top of that, we were also afraid that if something was broken, we wouldn’t be able to fix it. Fortunately, for minor jobs such as fixing the faucets and replacing the stove element, we were able to pull it off thanks to YouTube and Google.
We saved money by learning the small jobs ourselves. But of course, if it’s a job that requires a professional (e.g. plumbing and electrical), you’re better off hiring them!
You may not be interested in flipping furniture or becoming a landlord, but there are many other things you can learn and make money from. This includes cooking, freelance writing, photography, becoming handy, becoming a real estate agent, etc. The opportunities are endless!
Overall, learning a new skill or hobby can help you improve your finances — you can either save on the cost or earn extra income; sometimes even both.
So, if something piques your interest, don’t be afraid to try it out!
7) Save more money for…
Ah, okay… you’re probably thinking “NO $HIT, Captain Obvious!”
But let me tell you a story.
For the longest time, a lot of my friends and coworkers get all hyped up and tell me they want to start saving. However, when I ask them how, for what, and why, their response would go something like this:
“I’m not sure why or how, but it’s a new year and I wanna start fresh. Maybe I’ll stop buying coffee and lunch everyday. It would be nice to have more money.”
As a result, 100% of them got bored with the idea (in less than one month) and went back to their old habits — spending, splurging, and not knowing what happened to their money.
With no idea how, why, or what you’re saving for, you may lose motivation, so it’s important to identify why and what you’re saving for. Are you saving to/for:
These are all legitimate questions you should ask yourself.
For example, when I started my financial journey last October, I knew that I was saving for financial freedom. I didn’t want to get stuck in the corporate world for the rest of my life.
Because I was determined to get the f*#k out, I did all that I could to increase my savings and net worth — started a side gig, educated myself about finance, decluttered and sold most of the stuff I didn’t need, and much more!
Read here to learn more about my “no spend” challenge and the lessons I learned.
You can also see our progress since we started taking our finance more seriously. This is our November 2017 net worth update and it shows our progress since December 2016. We were extremely surprised with the results!
8) Get organized
Not only do you earn money from selling your stuff, but studies show that a clutter-free environment can improve your overall health and productivity. Again, your health and productivity have a direct impact on your finances.
Want to learn more about decluttering and how I got rid of my stuff to earn more? You can read all about it here.
9) Learn and read more about finance
Speaking of improving your finances, you can consider learning more about the topic itself.
If you’re totally new at this, don’t sweat it! Begin with the baby steps.
Start off by reading blogs to get comfortable around the topic. Once you get the hang of it, you can make it a goal to start reading a personal finance book each month. This is what I did over a year ago, and it improved my finances substantially. I can honestly attest to this myself.
(This post contains affiliate links to only products and/or services that I love and believe in. Finsavvypanda.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees, at no extra costs to you, by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.)
Here are the ones I recommend for those of you who are new to this topic:
I’m not even close to being an expert, but I am learning a little bit each day. As each day passes, I’m building a foundation that provides me with the prerequisite to learning something else. Like what Warren Buffett says, “that’s how knowledge works, it compounds like interest.”
10) Follow at least one person that you admire and inspires you
There’s a quote that goes:
“Surround yourself with those who only lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey.
There’s also another quote that goes:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Although I’m not surrounded by many positive influencers, I truly believe in these two quotes. And I really believe that this advice will improve your finances and your life!
I’m not saying that my friends and family aren’t admirable, but most of them don’t believe in financial independence nor my view about living a fulfilling life.
Like the majority, they believe in working a nine-to-five and living paycheck-to-paycheck (and maybe just saving a little bit). Now, I’m not here to say who’s right or wrong — this is a personal choice. At the end of the day, I still admire and love all of them!
But with no one who I could turn to, I basically stuffed my brain with facts about Warren Buffett — I started following my inspirational idol.
I learned more about him by reading his biography, books, and watching his documentary. This may sound crazy, but I wake up each morning browsing for his quotes on my phone. It’s what gets me going throughout the day.
Aside from following Warren Buffett, I also started to follow the blogging community. Over a year ago, I started to read a bunch of books and blogs that talk about personal finance, DIY, investing, and self-help. To my surprise, all of this improved my financial situation!
In addition to that, I improved as an overall person. I started to realize what I’m passionate about — finance and DIY decor. And this was one of the reasons why I started this blog. This blogging journey will be an uphill battle for me, but I want to start following and surrounding myself with all the wonderful bloggers out there who have similar mindsets.
So, here’s my point:
Start surrounding yourself with the right people (even if it’s all online or following your role models). It will do wonders for both your finances and self-development.
11) Change your mindset
The most important of all, change your mindset. Don’t underestimate this. Without it, all the points I mentioned in this post would not be helpful.
Not too long ago, I was a very pessimistic person — they would call me a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer.
To escape this hole, I had to change my mindset. Now, it doesn’t happen overnight and this is something I’m still working on.
As mentioned above, I started feeding information and facts about Warren Buffett into my head. I started reading posts written by personal finance bloggers and listening to their webinars. On top of that, I saved a collection of my favorite inspirational quotes onto my phone. Overall, I kept feeding positive, motivational, and inspirational ideas into my head. As a result, I can attest here that this significantly improved my finances for the year in 2017.
At the end of the day, only you can control your mindset. So start now.
Over to you now.
So, what are you waiting for?
Make this list your New Year’s (life) resolutions for 2018. Change your mindset, and your finances will follow!