The party’s over, the Christmas tree is out on the curb, and it’s time to face your new year’s goals. From losing weight to getting fit, Canadians across the country are determined to be their best selves in 2014.
This year, when you spend money on achieving your new year’s resolutions, make sure you’re putting it in the right place. There are a host of companies and products promising to help you achieve your goals — for a price of course. Here are four top resolutions, and a few ways to make them a reality without breaking the bank.
1. The gym
Better fitness is an excellent goal, but if you’re thinking of joining a gym, go in with your eyes open. Gym memberships are among the top consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau often because it can be tough (or just plain confusing) to cancel memberships. Beyond that, however, you also want to make sure that you’re going to use it — otherwise you could end up throwing money out the window. Do your homework before joining a gym and make sure it’s a good financial decision for you. If it’s not financially feasible, consider doing at-home workouts, outdoor activities, or go running instead.
2. Diet food
Snacks, drinks, and packaged foods that claim to be low-fat or sugar-free are sometimes chock full of other additives — not only are they not healthy for you, but they can get expensive. If you goal is to eat healthier this year, the key is to shop at the edges of the grocery store where most retailers put dairy, fruits, vegetables and meats. Replace bottled drinks with good old-fashioned (free!) water.
3. Weight-loss programs
Some weight loss programs are highly effective, but you need to choose the right one for you, otherwise you could end up spending a lot of your money for nothing. Some programs have you paying for expensive food, consultations and more add-ons. Before you sign up, make sure it’s something you can stick to.
4. Self-help books
Publishers churn out self-help books at this time of year. Before you head to the bookstore, take a look at your bookshelf to see if you have any unread self-help books from previous years. If so, start with those first. After all, you don’t want to end up picking up another book that’s just going to collect dust. Or try your local library, which will have popular self-help titles that you can read for free. Another option is to have book swap with a friend and see if she has any great self-help books on hand.