You’ve said yes to all your New Year’s resolutions… but can your bank account? Find out how much you should and shouldn’t spend to make all your 2016 dreams come true.
I want to… get fit
Don’t Spend On…Gym memberships
Splashing out on a membership at a gym is a great way to commit to your resolution, but make sure it’s just your muscles that feel the ache afterwards, not your wallet. The thing is, most of us make the mistake of assuming enthusiasm will be a constant, infinite resource. But halfway into our sixmonth gym contract, work starts to pile up, or our social calendars get more interesting, and all of a sudden our fitness plans seem less important.
Result: a wasted investment. When it comes to paying for classes, kick-start any resolution with flexible, short-term arrangements or trials, to make sure this lifestyle change is really happening before you commit any more of your cash. Alternatively, you can explore at-home workouts (free!) and splurge a little on a few cute workout threads to get motivated.
I want to… rehaul my living space
Don’t Spend On… Pricey knick-knacks and countless home organisers
According to Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, the first step of any room revamp isn’t acquiring more storage caddies or organisers; it’s actually just getting rid of stuff. So if you’re desperate to transform your hovel into a haven, don’t just run off to Ikea or Muji for solutions. Take stock and think either in terms of donating or discarding. Be brutal! Chances are, an extensive clean-up will be even more satisfying than “reorganising” (read: reshuffling) the mess under your bed. Throw in some scented candles and new bed sheets, and it’s the perfect refuge all over again.
I want to… go on my dream holiday
Don’t Spend On… Weekend getaways and short trips
If 2016 is the year you finally tick that dream destination off your bucket list, we say go for it. But at the same time, you don’t want to be stuck eating cut-price supermarket takeout just because you blew all your money on one gourmet meal at The Fat Duck, so keep the #YOLO in check. Managing your money smartly means knowing when you can compromise and when you can’t, so if your fantasy holiday includes an iconic hot-air balloon ride, or tickets to a Broadway production of your favourite musical of all time, make sure you earmark those big-ticket, highvalue items, and budget around them. One way to make sure your travel experience is everything you dreamed it would be is to give up all the short-haul getaways you would normally take, and set those funds aside for that epic trip you’ll still be talking about when you have grandkids.
How to (finally) nail your financial resolutions.
“This year, I’m going to save money.” Sound familiar? Here’s how to get that resolution to stick… at last!
In life, they tell you to aim high. But when it comes to that elusive savings goal, you might be shooting yourself in the foot when you shoot for the moon, says science. One US-based study* found that people who planned their savings four months in the future gave higher estimates than those who were asked how much they’d save next month. But when it came to the amount of money both groups actually saved, the conservative, short-term savers were actually more consistent and saved more than the optimistic, long-term planners. Moral of the story: you’re more likely to realise smaller, achievable goals than hit big, ambitious targets. Set up an automatic, postpayday transfer of a conversative sum of cash into a rainy-day account and, next year, you just might be surprised at how much you’d have saved!