Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year's resolutions don't have to cost an arm and a leg

Stick to your New Year’s resolutions without a pricey gym membership, fancy equipment, expensive classes or other budget-busters. Rest assured, you can stand pat in your resolutions throughout the year without spending a bundle. Here are the most popular New Years resolutions, along with tips on following them when you’re on a tight budget.

Exercise more: Instead of buying an expensive gym membership, put on a pair of sneakers and walk! Walk in the park, walk in town, walk in the city. Borrow a neighbor's dog and walk. Park your car at the far edge of the parking lot and walk. Forgo the elevator and walk the stairs. If you think about it, you’ll find lots of ways to work more walking into your day.
Eat healthy foods: Pursuing a healthy eating program can easily bring down your food costs because healthy eating starts with fresh produce and basic ingredients that don’t cost a lot. See Healthy Eating, for Less for tips, hints and ideas for healthy eating for the budget-minded.
Stop smoking: Instead of expensive medical programs, hypnosis and/or nicotine patches, check out the many free programs and websites that can help you kick the habit. Start with the Centers for Disease Control How to Quit Smoking page:
Take up a hobby or learn a craft: You don’t necessarily need to invest money in materials, books and classes to take up a hobby—why don’t you revisit a pastime that you used to love? Go on and find those knitting needles, or retrieve the roller blades from the back of the closet, or dust off the stamp collection. You just might fall in love again.
Read more: Instead of breaking the bank at the bookstore, visit your local library and check out a new book every week. Most libraries also have magazines for perusing, along with computers with fast internet connections and lots of helpful advice for finding what you need online.
Learn something new: There’s no need to enroll in expensive college classes if you are looking to expand your horizons and learn something new. Look into “auditing” a class at your local university or community college. Many schools will allow you to sit in on classes (and participate!) without paying tuition (and without earning credits—but you just want to learn, right?). You can also inquire at your local library, community center or book store about free or low-cost classes or reading groups covering a huge variety of topics.
Take a vacation: Instead of flying or driving to faraway destinations and spending your hard-earned money on a motel and meals out, take a “staycation.” Stay at home during your time off, but make a commitment to sightsee, visit museums and generally get to know your hometown all over again.
 *Visit a Louisville bed and breakfast We are not far from Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, and St Louis. Although a little longer drive, it's easy to get here from Nashville and Georgia. And, of course Kentuckians, for the most part, have an doable week-end getaway spot to come to. The bed and breakfasts all have Valentine's Packages to satisfy your romantic mood. Do come and visit us, but call ahead.

And of course, there are lots of popular resolutions that don’t cost a cent to begin with. You don’t need a lot of money to pursue these resolutions:

• Cook more

• Get organized

• Spend more time with family and friends

• Help others or volunteer

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