These days, if I’m going to make a resolution, I take it really seriously. The days of creating a long, satisfying list of things I plan to change about myself in the coming year are long gone. In recent years, I’ve become more realistic and make only one or two resolutions, but they are "big ticket" goals I really want to see come true—to the point that I’m prepared to give it my full time and energy.
If you’re seeking truly unique and effective resolutions that can transform your quality of life, your relationships (with yourself and others), and your finances, here is a list that just may give you that extra burst of inspiration you’re seeking! Each of these resolutions has the potential to save you time and cash.
1. Reevaluate your cosmetic budget
InStyle reports that the average adult woman will spend $15,000 on cosmetics during her lifetime (this works out to about $215 per year). This doesn't include what we spend on diet products, gym memberships, clothing, surgery and other so-called beauty "helps.”
- Make your resolution: If you choose to invest that $215 each year into your IRA instead, you could have an estimated $100,000 waiting for you when you’re ready to retire (for more see Bankrate).
2. Rethink your "getting ready" routine
The Huffington Post did a poll to find out how much time people spend getting ready in the morning and in the evening. 25% of women and 20% of men responded that they need more than 30 minutes for these routine activities.
- Make your resolution: If you could trim your morning "getting ready" routine by 50%, you would have about four extra hours each week. You could start a blog, take a class, work out, sleep, make money online—the possibilities are endless!
3. Cut back on money worry
In a recent survey, 36% of respondents said they spend an average of two hours per day worrying about money! Unfortunately, worrying about money is not the same as making it, saving it, or paying it back.
- Make your resolution: What could you do with those two hours per day (14 hours per week—almost enough hours to take on a part time job!) to improve your financial well-being?
4. Forget the gym
Oh yes, I said it! Bankrate.com supports it—gym memberships come in at #10 on their list of Top 10 Money Drains. In fact, an estimated four out of every five memberships purchased will go unused—that’s a lot of wasted cash.
- Make your resolution: At $40 per month, Americans waste just under $500 per year on unused gym memberships. That cash could be doing good work somewhere else in your life—and there are plenty of other free ways you can find to get in shape. Find out about some of these alternatives here.
5. Let your car get dirty
Americans seem so programmed to keep their vehicles squeaky-clean (even with so many areas of the world facing water shortages). Moneymind reports that the average cost for a car wash and detail is $58 ($696 per year if you go once per month).
- Make your resolution: From washing your car yourself to donating some of the savings to areas of the world that lack clean drinking water—this is one resolution that improves your life and the lives of others at the same time.
6. Get serious about savings
It’s one thing to resolve to save money and make good on your resolution. It’s quite another to unknowingly permit your carefully hoarded funds to dwindle due to account fees, low returns, or other types of benign neglect. If you’re going to save money, you want to put it somewhere that will help it to grow—and keep growing.
- Make your resolution: Perhaps this is the year to spend an hour with a financial consultant to get advice about your retirement portfolio, or finally move some of the money in your low-yield savings account into a higher-yield money market account or CD!
7. Ask for help
Sometimes it’s really hard to open up, admit what we don't know, and ask for help. But those who master these skills also tend to be those who make the biggest strides to achieve their goals.
- Make your resolution: Did you know LearnVest offers free financial bootcamps on a variety of topics (everything from starting your own small business to shopping fashionably on a budget!).