Trying or buying something new might seem like the perfect way to start the year — until you realize how much it costs. Some of the most common New Year's resolutions are some of the most expensive. Here are 10 to consider eschewing in favor of cheaper alternatives.
Join a Gym
Getting in shape is one of the most common New Year's resolutions, so it's no surprise that gym membership sales soar in January. But the average cost is about $700 for the year, according to data compiled by the Statistic Brain Research Institute. There are plenty of free ways to get in shape without signing a pricey contract, such as joining a local running group or working out at home.
Hire a Personal Trainer
Those who are serious about losing weight often turn to personal trainers for expert guidance on staying fit and on track. Depending on location, a personal trainer can easily cost upwards of $100 for an hourlong session. Instead, turn to YouTube, where fitness experts dedicate entire channels to showing proper form and technique without the hefty hourly rates.
International travel is another popular yet pricey New Year's resolution. Airfare, lodging, and other expenses can rack up thousands of dollars in spending on just one trip. If you have a destination in mind, follow some money-saving tips for international travel. Or, rather than head overseas for new experiences, research interesting destinations in your state or within a short driving distance.
Start a Hobby
Adopting a hobby can be fun and gratifying, but some pursuits (flying lessons, horseback riding, boat racing) are more expensive than others. Think about taking up a hobby that could bring in extra money.
De-Stress With Massage Therapy
Managing stress is a healthy goal to set for the new year, but the cost of a massage therapy session can reach $100 easily, depending on the provider. Rather than causing more worry by straining your finances, try free relaxation and stress-coping techniques such as meditation or yoga. Still want a massage? Look for a training school near you, where you can get massages for a fraction of the price you'd pay at a spa.
Buy a New Wardrobe
A new year doesn't require a new wardrobe. Spruce up your style by reappropriating apparel that's already in your closet. Try new combinations and wear clothes differently than you normally would. For instance, tuck in a top, roll sleeves or cuffs, or drape a jacket over your shoulders. If you still want a new-to-you item, consider buying second-hand clothes.
Renovate the House
There are lots of ways to refresh a home without undertaking a professional renovation. Work within a budget by choosing one room at a time to redecorate, and see what an impact can be made with a few DIY projects. Simply applying a coat of paint or rearranging furniture is an underappreciated yet affordable way to update a home.
Take a Class
Thirsty for knowledge or eager to learn a new skill in the new year? Instead of registering for an expensive continuing education course, check out the offerings at the local library or community center. Many offer free or cheap classes in everything from information technology to knitting to martial arts.
Try an Extreme Sport
Adventure seekers need not turn to risky sports this year. Skydiving, bungee jumping, and other extreme sports can cost well over $100 for a momentary adrenaline rush. Rock climbing and cliff jumping are two exhilarating and cheaper alternatives.
Finally Make That Big Purchase
A new year can motivate large, unnecessary purchases, but buying a new car or expensive gadget isn't the best way to start 2020 financially. Set a budget first and be realistic about what you can afford.