5 Ways to Build Up Personal Finances Ravaged by the Yearend Holiday

  @ibtimesau on

Almost every New Year, people make the same resolutions only to break them in the succeeding months. Most of the resolutions centre on health and finances, which led a financial Web site to suggest five New Year's resolution that would save money and at the same time address the issues most people attempt to change.

The resolutions proposed by Bankrate.com are similar to the listing made by News.com.au of the top six New Year's resolutions made by Australians, namely:

1.     Quit smoking

2.     Lose weight and become fit

3.     Drink less

4.     Learn something new

5.     Spend more time with family and friends

6.     Save money.

The last resolution is not surprising because the yearend holidays was preceded by much spending for parties, vacations, gifts and other things and activities that involve money. Thus, most people spend the first week of the year with little money, unless they happen to be scions of Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer, Carlos Slim or Bill Gates.

Here are Bankrate.com's five ways to save money which could double as New Year's resolution for 2013 and succeeding years.

1.     By stopping the one pack-a-day habit which costs between $1,825 and $3,650 a year. On a national average, smoking one pack a day costs $2,000, according to Dr Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.

Besides saving money, quitting smoking also does away with the need for dry cleaning to rid clothes of smell, dental bleaching or caps for yellow teeth and Botox injections to smooth smoking-induced wrinkles.

"Smoking won't just kill you, it'll drain your bank account," the Web site stressed.

More quit smoking tips in the following video.

2.     Exercise regularly

According to the National Association of Health Underwriters, if people eat right and exercise thrice a week for 20 minutes, prescription costs would go down 70 per cent and medical bills by 30 per cent. That would represent a substantial saving on the $7,800 average that Americans spend yearly on the average.

Besides the lower health care cost, exercise improves conditions for people with chronic ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart diseases.

More tips of regular exercise in this video.

3.     Eat healthier

Health experts debunk the myth that eating healthy is expensive. They pointed out that its food with fat, salt and sugar that are heavier on the pocked. They cited the $2.59 price tag on a 10-ounce bag of potato chips which for the same money they could purchase four pounds of real potatoes which has vitamins and fibre.

Connie Diekman, director of University Nutrition at the Washington University, added that to save money while pursuing healthier meals, people should buy leaner cuts of meat, eat beans that are rich in protein and buy produce in season when it is freshest and least expensive.

More of healthy eating tips in this video.

4.     Pay down debt

A 2009 survey by The Nilson Report estimates that average debt of Americans at $8,329. Given that amount and a 15.99 per cent APR and minimum monthly payments of $167, it would take the average person 33 years to pay off that debt, including $15,289 interest payments.

By adding an extra $35 a month, debt repayment period is reduced to five years and total interest to $3,821. At the same time, it would boost your credit score which means future loans will have smaller interest rates.

Here are more debt reduction strategies in this video.

5.     Build up an emergency fund

Having spare cash means you don't have to select more expensive options such as high-APR credit cards, short-term loans and payday loans for emergencies. The Web site pointed out that a sudden $500 bill such as car repair would cost you a total $580 given a 15.99 per cent APR which would take a year to pay off. With a payday lender who charges 15 per cent interest for two weeks, you would end up paying more than 400 per cent yearly interest rate.

One way to build an emergency fund, as suggested by a Facebook page called My Tots! computed that by saving $40 a week in a jar and increasing it by another $40 every week, a person would save a total of $55,120 in one year - definitely a significant amount.

Instead of converting currencies, people can just use their local currencies such as what a Filipina online writer did and posted in her Facebook account.

The ridiculous situation of people making and breaking their New Year's resolution every year had led to these resolutions being viewed as a joking matter like this meme.

Or take a cuter approach to encourage people to follow their vows at the start of the year such as this video.

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