Thursday, 17 January 2013

New Years Resolutions

by Rob d'Apice
Did you make a New Years resolution? Prosple did. And it's to save you money.

Its a sad fact that 88% of New Years resolutions fail. So today, we're making it our mission to help you with some of the most common resolutions, so that we can all be a part of the 12%.

1. Eat better

In 2011, Australians spent a whopping $37 Billion on takeaway food. That's about $1700 for every man, woman and child in Australia. Not only is that a lot of dollars, it's probably not the best nutrition.

How can you limit your spend? My solution is online grocery shopping. It's an absolute dream. Skip the queues, the impulse buys, the parking hassles and check out Woolies and Coles online. Search with text for your groceries. Save your list so that next week's shop takes seconds. Then book your delivery for the next day - you can generally specify a 2 or 3 hour window. They even bring your groceries right onto your kitchen bench.

The future is here people. And it's online grocery shopping. Get on it.

2. Quit smoking

Smoking is killing you and your wallet. It's time to quit. A pack a day is now a $6,000 per annum habit - that's a great overseas holiday for 2, or a nice little nest egg.

Quitting is easier said than done, and luckily this author has never had to go through it. Quitnow is a government tool that explains why you should quit. You can call the Quitline 13 7848 for more info. And make sure you hook yourself up with nicotine replacement products (you can buy them on your online shop!)

3. Exercise more

I've heard this resolution all too often. The key is to shake things up - you've had plenty of opportunities to get fit and you haven't, so you need to try something new.

Joining a gym is your first port of call. It doesn't come cheap, though; a gym like Fitness First will set you back $20-$30 a week. Anytime Fitness generally runs a little cheaper and has longer opening hours, but there aren't as many of them. For a cheaper alternative, check out uni gyms; Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness, for example, runs about half the cost of Fitness First and has a pretty decent offering - and you don't need to be a student.

While it can be more expensive, personal training can be a good option to get you back into a fitness routine, costing around $30-$50 per hour. If you don't want to join a gym, classes like pilates or boot camp are another alternative, and generally set you back around $10-$25 per session.

But fitness can be free! Ride a bike, walk your dog, go for a swim or use the outdoor gym equipment at parks. Setting up a home gym can cost less than a year's membership at a gym, and generally last you much much longer.

The important thing is to break the status quo - start something new and get active.

4. Drink less

Australian culture is pretty drink-heavy. According to the ABS, the average Australian spends $31 a week. That's $1600 a year on alcohol. I'll admit it, I'm probably a decent level above that average. Here are some things I've tried to minimise the booze:

  • Substitute every second drink for water, this could halve your drinking spend (saving the average Aussie around $800 every year).
  • Count the drinks you have in one whole week, and try to reduce the amount by a third for the next week.
  • Bring a fixed amount of cash and leave your card at home. That way your sober self can pre-emptively cut-off your drunk (and less financial prudent) self.

5. Save money

This is what Prosple is all about, whether you're Comparing First Home Saver Accounts, or Comparing Credit Cards, we're here to save you cash.

There's an easy way to set yourself up for saving - I call it the 20% Rule. As soon as you get paid, take 20% of your income and put it straight into your savings. I split this amount into 2 accounts - I put half of it into a 'fun' fund with my regular bank, and the other half into an 'out of site' bank account with a different bank for long-term savings. You can compare the best savings accounts on Prosple right now. If you have any major outstanding debts, it would be best to sort them out first - if it's credit card debt, make sure you listen to our Podcast on how to get out of credit card debt quickly!