Unless you have reached some kind of self-actualization on the spiritual level, I bet most of you have set yourself a New Year’s resolution this year.
Though it may sound slightly morbid, right off the bat, mine is to make a bucket list. People go on about all the things they want to do but never do anything to achieve them, myself included. So I set out to write a massive list of the 50 things I want to do before I kick the bucket. Then the thought hit me as I was scanning my list, that there are loads of items that I could research to get discounts on, which subsequently gave me the idea for this post.
I want to share with you some popular New Year’s resolutions and ways to save money on doing them.
#1 Lose Weight
I put on 2 kg this Christmas, no joke, and if you are anything like me, you may want to try and loose some of those unwanted pounds as fast and for as cheap as possible.
For dieters out there, I noticed that Weight Watchers currently has a discount for lose 10lbs on Weight Watchers Canada. I also know that Jenny Craig is gaining some steam, but I couldn’t find any valid discounts on my latest hunt. For a full run-down of diet programs online WebMd has a nice list (each program needs to be checked individually for available offers).
Exercise enthusiasts face a tougher challenge in the Canadian winter, mainly because of the snow in most parts of the country, which trims down a lot of the options (like my favourite past time: running). Not to worry though because I found this uber awesome list (it really is cool and simple) of all the public swimming pools in Canada that should all be free. Swimming is a great way to work out the entire body, stay fit, as well as relieve stress and anxiety. Make it even more fun by getting all the right gear like underwater earphones.
Here is also a handy list of ski hills in Canada. Since not too many discounts are made available as of January, think about getting group passes as early as October for serious discounts. It’s highly possible that some of you may get lucky upon typing the name of the hill you are interested in, followed by the term ‘discounts or coupon’ in Google and seeing the results that come up. In some cases, sport shops will have coupons and discount tickets available for purchase. If you need to get some gear to hit the slopes, take a look at Sport Chek for equipment and apparel as well as The Bay for thermals as they both have regular sales and coupons.
Of course, winter is also the perfect period of the year to play hockey at the local park. While it may not be the cheapest activity it shouldn’t be too tough to find a decently-priced pair of skates at a second-hand sports store. Otherwise, most families have a few old pairs hidden somewhere in the basement. All you need to do is to ask.
I don’t hold much stock in home exercise equipment since my personal preference is to get out of the house and do things that are either free or close to it — but I also work at home so that may be a contributing factor. If a home gym is what you want, then one of the most popular websites for fitness equipment in Canada that regularly offers serious discounts is TRX. Last time I checked, we had a nice 15% off coupon, which is useful for getting fit just using your body weight without having loads of contraptions or needing space.
#2 Travel Around The World
Stop dreaming and start living. On their death bed, I doubt anyone is going to say “I wish I’d worked more and travelled less”. Go out and see the world, but do so wisely. First, write a list of all the places around the world you would like to visit and then with your thinking cap on, search for the best times of year to go and find the best discounts for travel and accommodation.
If you are on a tight budget, hostels don’t have to be the only available option. Websites like Expedia and Bookit are invariably cheaper than booking at each airline’s own website for flights as well as hotels and excursions (although I would only book the latter last minute as most are weather permitting). Alternatively, for the more adventurous out there that also prefer a pre-tailored experience in a group, a variety of offers are available for G Adventures and Urban Adventures that are worth investigating.
If in doubt of where to go, simply browse the lonely planet website for ideas, and after a destination has been chosen don’t forget to pick up the book for that country as the local tips are priceless. Lonely Planet also quite regularly offers a 3 for the price of 2 coupon for those planning to visit more than 2 countries.
Also, you may want to have a look in our blog for travel related posts, such as this one that lists 12 of the tips to find cheap airfares.
#3 Quit Smoking
From personal experience,–I smoked for 13 years and tried everything to give up–one of the most sustainable methods is reading the book by Allen Carr entitled Easy Way to Stop Smoking (it’s available for as low as $3.01 at Amazon) or if you have a chapters card or coupon, then it might work out as a cheaper alternative.
Occasionally on the free section of this website, we list Nicorette patches and gum free trials. However, I can’t really endorse those products (you’ll see after you read the book) as it just replaces a dependency rather than stopping it.
#4 Get Out Of Debt
Since I’m not an expert on this. I strongly advise seeking advice from a financial adviser. While I’m not out of debt, I am working on it and have made serious progress. For those spending the majority of their paycheck on credit card interest fees, then paying off this debt first is a must. Any debts with high interest fees need to be paid off first, and this is where some companies, banks and financial institutions can help to consolidate debt to make it more manageable–this is working the best for me so far. There is a wealth of information available online to help become debt free. After all, money issues can be extremely important and the best place to start is by researching online.
#5 Become Happier
Naturally a tough one to achieve, it’s nevertheless a worthwhile endeavor. According to the book I’m about to mention, it all stems from changing thought patterns from “I’m unhappy” to “how can I make myself happier”. An interesting book and highly praised from Harvard Psychologist professor Tal Ben-Shahar Ph.D. called ‘Happier’ is a solid choice on this quest. On sale at Amazon for only $13.87, the book features exercises and techniques for every day practice. One of the biggest difficulties to confront are personal fears preventing true happiness and addressing them this year could be a good place to start. Most health insurance plans have 6 free sessions with the EAP to see a psychologist, which can really help reduce anxiety and depression through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
There is a plethora of other free things people can do to try and increase their level of happiness. From learning something new, removing negative influences from life, exercising, becoming closer to friends and family, finding a passion or a hobby or even considering changing jobs to one you believe is ‘your calling’, sleeping more, taking care of your hygiene, doing charity work, mediating, making other people happy, adopting a pet or joining a group of like-minded people to acquire a sense of purpose and meaning.