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How Much Money Will These 4 New Year’s Resolutions Save You?

Posted by MoneyKey on December 27, 2018
Your New Year's Resolutions may be able to help you save money

What’s in a resolution? If you’re one of the 40 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, you’re probably familiar with the typical goals. Things like losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption usually make it to the top of many New Year’s resolutions lists.

People generally choose to make these resolutions as a way to lead a healthier lifestyle in the new year. Although your physical health is a priority, as an online lender, we understand that your financial health is important as well. That’s why we’re interested in the potential financial impact these resolutions may have on your finances and your budget.

There’s an opportunity to save money throughout the year — and what better place is there to start saving than at the beginning of the year? Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at four popular New Year’s resolutions and how they may save you money in the new year.

Resolution #1: Losing Weight

Ah, the holidays — it’s a magical time when you’re not only expected but encouraged to go back for seconds, pile your plate high with desserts, and top up your mulled beverage. While these overindulgences may make up the ingredients of a festive season, they also may come together in a recipe for disaster for your waistline.

Plenty of people struggle with their weight over the holidays, which is why setting an intention to get back into shape is so popular in the new year. When done appropriately, losing weight may even come with significant health benefits. You might see your energy levels increase as you improve your flexibility, strength, and cardio endurance.

Successfully losing weight may also pay off in other ways. Research suggests overweight and obese people may encounter more health-related costs than people in healthier weight ranges.

you can lose weight and save money at the same time.

You might increase savings by losing weight

Body Mass Index (or BMI) is a calculation using your height and weight. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines a healthy BMI range between 18.5 and 24.9. The overweight BMI range is from 25.0 to 29.9, and a BMI of 30.0 and above indicates an obese weight status. Want to know what your BMI is? You may calculate yours here.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently compared healthcare spending to BMI levels. The study shows there’s a correlation between healthcare bills and higher BMIs. It also shares the financial benefits gained by an obese individual who reaches a healthier weight. On average, an individual who goes from obesity to a normal weight may save:

  • A 20-year-old: more than $28,00 throughout their lifetime.
  • A 40-year-old: more than $30,000 throughout their lifetime.
  • A 60-year-old: more than $34,000 throughout their lifetime.
  • An 80-year-old: more than $16,000 throughout their lifetime.

The study simulated the BMI of an adult through their lifetime to track medical costs like hospitalization and medications for weight-related conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It also determined the costs of productivity losses, like missing work.

Taking a sick day here and there probably won’t have a huge impact on your budget — even if you don’t get paid sick days. It’s when you have no choice but to take several consecutive days off because of a trip to the clinic or hospital that you may see how poor health can have a negative effect on your finances. Not only could  you potentially make less if you are unable to work consistently, but you may also face expensive medical bills.

These bills may deplete your emergency fund, leaving you unprepared for unexpected bills — like a surge in your utility bills during cold winter months.

If your bills are higher than normal, you may need to take out a loan when your emergency fund falls short. Our fast and convenient process may help you get an online loan in no time compared to traditional borrowing experiences, so you may tackle urgent bills immediately.

How you might lose the weight without adding costs

Losing weight isn’t easy. You’ll have to commit to long-term changes to your lifestyle – but you shouldn’t have to sink a lot of money into meal plans or gym memberships to achieve your goal.

You should especially stay away from those so-called “miracle weight loss treatments”. They are usually misleading. They often promise results that aren’t attainable or sustainable in the long-term by suggesting you take diet supplements that aren’t necessarily FDA-approved or adopt unhealthy eating habits. If you do manage to drop any weight using these methods, you’ll likely gain it all back once you stop using their products.                                                                                                              

You also shouldn’t be borrowing money to cover anything but emergencies. Our loans are designed to help you cover unexpected bills or one-time repairs that you can’t ignore. That means we’re your source for online installment loans during the holidays should your furnace break down or your cell phone bill cost more than you expected. Installment loans should not be used to pay monthly gym membership fees.

Workout gear scale exercise ball small 2kg weights

Rather than spending a fortune on getting healthy, here are some ways you may trim your expenses in addition to your waistline:

  • Find a gym that offers more affordable memberships for basic plans, including the YMCA, Planet Fitness, and Anytime Fitness.
  • Follow along with free fitness videos on YouTube to workout at home.
  • Download one of these apps that offer free or low-cost coaching and fitness activities compared to a gym.
  • Eat regular, portion-controlled meals without skipping breakfast – check out our savings guide at the grocery store to keep your bills low.
  • Start a “steps-challenge” with friends to encourage you to move more and sit less.

Although some of these tips aren’t free, they’re lower cost alternatives. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t necessarily have to come with bigger bills!

Resolution #2: Limiting Alcoholic Consumption

Around the holidays, alcohol is as big of a tradition as a turkey and some mistletoe — we use it to cheers old friends, meet new ones, and ring in the new year.  If you have a full social calendar, it’s not unusual to drink more than normal over the holidays. Like the extra helping of seconds on your plate, an extra glass of wine may be a natural accompaniment to a festive dinner with friends and family.

So by the time January 1 rolls around, you may be in need of a break from boozy beverages. Reducing your consumption or sticking to non-alcoholic drinks for the foreseeable future may not only benefit your health but it may also come with additional benefits, such as considerable cash savings.

red and gold decorations and champagne glasses

How much will a drink cost you?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has a convenient calculator to determine how much you spend on alcoholic beverages, breaking out your average spending on alcohol per week, month, and year. All you have to do is estimate the number of alcoholic beverages you consume and the price you pay for each drink. Depending on how often and how much you drink, you could be pouring a lot of your hard-earned cash down the drain.

There’s no harm in enjoying a glass of spiked eggnog with friends or a mug of mulled wine, but there’s a difference between consuming alcohol in moderation and long-term excessive drinking. Overconsumption of alcohol may result in a lifetime of extra healthcare costs.

Heavy drinking and binge drinking may be linked to serious health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. According to the CDC, excessive or binge drinking costs the country $249 billion in workplace productivity losses, healthcare expenses, losses from motor vehicle crashes, and criminal justice expenses. This cost shuffles down to around $807 per person.

Find other ways to have fun!

Although limiting your drinking may result in a reduction of certain social activities you currently engage in, it doesn’t mean you have to kiss your social life goodbye altogether. There are other ways to have fun, like exploring your neighborhood, going for a hike, tackling a reading challenge, or joining a community sports team.

Be upfront with your friends and family about your intentions this year. If they know about your plan to reduce your drinking, you’ll find it easier to organize get-togethers that aren’t centered around alcohol.

friends chatting over coffee

However, your goal isn’t their responsibility. You could learn how to recognize situations that tempt you to indulge and try to avoid them by finding alternatives — like checking out the mocktail section of the menu the next time you meet up for dinner or suggesting you meet at a new café rather than the new brewery that opened in your town.

Resolution #3: Quitting Smoking

There’s no question smoking is bad for you, but the health risks often overshadow the effect purchasing cigarettes may have on your budget. Smoking is an expensive habit!

Whether it’s a regular habit or an occasional indulgence, it’s not always easy to conceptualize just how much of your money goes up in smoke. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aim to shine a spotlight on these costs with their website Smokefree.gov. The website provides a simple calculator that estimates what this habit could cost you.

lit cigarette black and white photo

You may be surprised to see just how much you’ll save by “butting out”. Let’s say right now you smoke 15 cigarettes a day at $6.28 a pack, which is the average price of a pack in the U.S. If you were to quit completely in 2019, this is how much you could save:

$4.71 after one day

$32.97 after one week

$141.30 after one month

$1,719.15 after one year

$22,659.76 after 10 years*

$63,239.95 after 20 years*

*Based on the price of cigarettes increasing 6% annually


Don’t forget about the incidental cost of smoking

Although this calculator is a great tool to see the practical impact your daily habit may have on your bank account, it doesn’t show the potential medical costs associated with smoking. For a greater perspective on smoking and its impact on your finances, check out a study conducted by WalletHub. It compares the combined out-of-pocket expenses, income losses, and healthcare expenses faced by the average smoker per state.

This in-depth look at smoking shows a different story from Smokefree’s calculator. Check out the results below:

  • The cheapest state to smoke in is Kentucky, where the average smoker spends $22,453 per year or $1,145,128 over their lifetime.
  • New York smokers face the highest costs, with each smoker spending $45,694 per year or $2,330,381 over their lifetime.
  • Delaware falls almost neatly in the middle of the states, costing the average smoker $29,570 a year or $1,508,054 a lifetime.

That’s quite a bit of dough. Imagine how much easier it would be to balance your budget every year if you had an extra $22,453 laying around. Chances are this would be a boon to your finances. It may even mean you get to take that family vacation. If you’ve occasionally relied on payday loans in the past to cover emergency expenses, you may simply choose to re-allocate this extra money to bulk up your savings to cover future emergency expenses on your own.

However, even with savings, a line of credit may be helpful in an emergency. When unexpected expenses, such as necessary auto repairs, cost more than what your savings can cover, these online loans may be a convenient financial backup.

In the meantime, cutting back on smoking may not only help tackle your nicotine addiction but may help you boost your budget, so you’re better prepared in an emergency. These savings, plus the obvious health benefits, may just be the motivation you need to quit in the new year.

Don’t quit on your own!

The cold, hard dollar sign is a great incentive when you’re thinking about quitting, but don’t rely on the promise of savings as your only motivation. Plenty of ex-smokers say quitting was the hardest thing they’ve ever done, so you might need more encouragement than savings alone.

young man smiling on computer

To improve your chances of butting out for good, be kind to yourself. Start by looking through Smokefree’s resources. With apps, texting programs, and personalized quitting plans, they might help you find the support to ignore your cravings.

But don’t beat yourself up if you break down and light up. Most people don’t quit on their first try, and it could take you several attempts to put the pack down for good. Rather than dwelling on the number of attempts, aim to go longer between each smoke instead. By managing your expectations, you may feel less stressed out if things don’t go as planned.

Resolution #4: Learning a New Skill

It’s great seeing friends and family over the holidays but be honest — you breathe a sigh of relief once the holidays are over. Although you might love the magic of the holidays, they can take up a lot of your time and effort. When you aren’t out and about making merry, you may be spending your time by preparing for the festivities.

Once the new year begins, your time is likely your own again. So what are you going to do with all of it now that you aren’t “hustling and bustling”? For many Americans, the start of a new year is the perfect time to focus on themselves by picking up a new hobby.

colorful paint brushes and canvas

Whether it’s painting, landscaping, or simply learning how to cook, a new hobby is a great way to improve your skills and occupy your time. It may also help you boost your budget.

Turning that hobby into a job

People who monetize their hobbies are sometimes called side hustlers. That is, someone who takes on additional work and earns supplemental income outside of their main job/primary source of income. Popular side hustles include freelance copyediting and writing, freelance coding and web design, teaching or tutoring, catering, or offering hair or makeup services.

The list could go on – so what makes a side hustle different from getting a part-time job?

What is a side hustle?

Typically, a side hustle has more flexibility than a part-time job. In most cases, the onus to find work is on the side hustler. Rather than being at the beck and call of your employer, you’re the boss; you could potentially work as little or as much as you wanted, whenever you wanted.

Roughly 4 in 10 Americans have a side hustle that brings in extra cash on top of their regular income, helping them to pay the bills, save for the future, or take a much-needed vacation. On average, a side hustler could bring in $8,200 a year.

If you aren’t sure what skill you could turn into a side hustle, check out this list of ideas from Entrepreneur. You could start with some of these ideas right away while others may take you awhile before you’ve developed the skills you need to get them off the ground.

Having a side hustle might give you the financial confidence to manage emergency expenses. But don’t worry, in case your side hustle or emergency fund ever falls short, a cash loan is a convenient backup in those moments when an unusually high bill or essential repair comes your way.

With a simple application process, our online loans may be a convenient alternative for those who can’t secure a loan through traditional means. For those who can’t secure a personal loan with a mainstream bank, there are other loan options, including installment loans from an online lender.

You may also want to check out our previous post about how you might lower your regular utility bills to save more cash for the future. Cutting costs in one area of your budget may free up more cash for your emergency fund.

Brush up on your financial literacy skills

For some people, their hobby is sacred “me” time. It’s a way to unwind after a long day at work — not a way to work more on top of their usual 9–5.

If the thought of turning a fun pastime into a legitimate business venture sounds stressful, take a deep breath. You don’t have to turn your hobby into a grueling job.

If you’re determined to keep your hobby separate from your income, we suggest you invest some of your newfound free time in the new year by educating yourself on personal finance. Learning more about your finances could be a great skill to learn in 2019.

If you aren’t sure how to go about this, our glossary of personal finance terms is a great place to start your financial education. It explains common words used in the money lending world, so you might better understand the next online loan you secure if you need one.

To learn more, continue to our resource center. You can find guides such as the importance of your credit score, as well as information about our initiatives such as our Key Thinkers Scholarship. Simply by reading through these articles, you may learn more about making informed decisions about your money for the new year.

What do you want to achieve in 2019?

At the flip of the calendar, most of us will arrive in 2019 feeling motivated and ready for change. If that includes you, the biggest question you may ask yourself on January 1 is what kind of change you want to make for yourself.

Depending on the kind of year you had in 2018, this might be an easy question to answer. If you already know how you want to transform your life in the new year, we say go for it! There’s no better time to tackle your goals than when you’re feeling inspired. And if you don’t — that’s okay, too. You have 12 whole months to figure it all out.

That’s enough time to get started on any of the goals we’ve outlined above. Whether you plan to lose weight, quit smoking, reduce your alcohol intake, or learn a new skill, these common New Year’s resolutions don’t just promise a potential healthy start to 2019 — they might help you to ring in the new year with considerable cash savings.

And of course, don’t forget to swing by our resource center to learn more about better money management and lifestyle choices. While you’re there, you’ll see how you may get in touch for more information if you have any questions relating to our products or services.

Good luck in everything you put your mind to and Happy New Year!

Posted in: Financial Tips

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