For Mark Roberts’ Use: It’s that time of year again! Did you set any New Year’s resolutions? If so, you’re probably ready to dive in and tackle your new goals. But if you do, keep in mind that changing your lifestyle often means changes to your budget. To avoid adding additional strain to your financial life, consider these affordable ways to address your resolutions.

The most common resolution can be an expensive one. Losing weight is probably the number one resolution made each January. Yet, how many people invest time and money into a weight loss plan, only to quit by March? For now, avoid an expensive gym commitment or personal trainer, and investigate other options. Virtual trainers are much more affordable, and walking or biking around your neighborhood is free. As for diets, learning to cook healthy meals at home is almost always more affordable than pre-packaged foods and subscription gimmicks.

New skills don’t need to be costly. Self improvement, through learning new skills, is another popular resolution. Luckily, you can probably access free or inexpensive classes through your local community college, online courses, your community center, or library.

Try out a hobby before making a serious investment. If you’ve promised to pursue a new hobby, give it a try first before investing in expensive equipment. Borrow from a friend, or check out rental options first.

Manage stress without adding stress to your budget. If you’ve resolved to lower your stress, you will find that this promise pays off through improved health and greater enjoyment of life. Start by investigating the more accessible stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, journaling, changing your daily routine, and spending time outdoors. You can find books on stress management techniques at your local library.

Get out of debt and prepare for the future. Of course, this is the resolution we love to see people making! Freeing yourself from long-term, high-interest payments is one of the best things you can do for both your financial and mental health. And of course, we always recommend that you re-evaluate your retirement plan every few years. Call us to schedule an appointment, and we’ll discuss your long-term goals and make a plan to help you accomplish them.