Thirty-two percent of people want to lose weight in the new year.
Twenty-five percent want to spend less and save more money.
Fourteen percent want to travel more.
Thirty-seven percent want to be healthier.
None of these common New Year’s resolutions come as a surprise, do they? We hear them every year — often from the same people, over and over again.
We all want to improve our lives, but maybe we need a bigger nudge than just turning the calendar page. We’ve gathered some of our favorite tips and apps to help you achieve your goals this year — and maybe even get a little richer while you do it.
Here’s how you can achieve 11 common New Year’s resolutions in 2017:
1. Get Organized
Are your closets and shelves packed to the brim with stuff you never use — or even look at?
You can sell virtually anything on letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. Not only does it remove a lot of the hassle of selling things online, it’s 100% free to use.
But there are also apps for selling more specific stuff to people who might actually be looking for it.
Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Decluttr will pay you for them!
Decluttr buys your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games, plus hardware like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods.
For old books from college, you can use Bookscouter. Just type your book’s ISBN into the search bar and the site will connect you with more than 25 of the best-paying and most reputable buyback companies online.
There’s even a site for old purses and designer accessories! Sell them on CashInMyBag.
2. Contribute More to Charity
It’s easy to say we want to give back more. But how easy is it to be charitable when you’re trying to hoard your own pennies?
We promise, it’s possible! To get you started, here are six simple ways to support charities without donating your own money:
- Volunteer at a job search center to help people find jobs.
- Teach computer/tech skills at a local library or senior center.
- Donate your unused clothing, toys and other things you want to get rid of.
- Donate old electronics that are collecting dust.
- Organize a garage sale in your community, and donate the proceeds to charity.
- Host a bake sale for charity.
3. Pay Down Debt
A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in the same boat, it might be worth seeing if you can consolidate and refinance your debt to get a handle on it this year.
A good resource to get you started is Even Financial. It can help you borrow up to $35,000 (with no collateral needed) and compare interest rates from several lenders.
If you decide to consolidate your credit card debt, be sure you don’t close your old accounts immediately. The length of your credit history affects your credit score, so closing all of your longest-running accounts could hurt it.
4. Exercise More
Need extra motivation for your daily workout this year? The health app Achievemint lets you earn money for completing healthy activities.
Connect Achievemint to workout apps like Apple’s Healthkit, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, Rundouble C25K, Twitter or any other app you already use to track your health and fitness goals.
You’ll choose which data to securely share with Achievemint to earn cash for your activities. For example, you can earn points for logging your weight with MyFitnessPal or hitting step goals with Fitbit.
You can exchange points for cash or an Amazon Gift Card (10,000 points = $10), and there’s no limit on how much you can earn.
Plus, you’ll earn 10 points just for signing up with Achievemint and connecting a fitness app.
5. Lose Weight
Picture this: You step on the scale in June and finally see your goal weight.
Congratulations! But it gets even better.
Imagine, you’re about to receive a generous check to spend on a celebratory outfit in your new size, stock up on household necessities or stick into savings — all just for losing weight!
It’s not a fantasy. If you wager on your own weight-loss commitment with HealthyWage, this could very well happen for you… as long as you stick to your guns and lose the weight.
Just sign up for HealthyWage, set a goal weight and a timeframe to achieve it. Place a monetary bet on yourself, between $20 and $500 a month.
Depending on how much weight you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $10,000!
6. Spend Less and Save More Money
We’re kind of obsessed with Stash (and not just because it gives you $5).
It’s an uncomplicated way to start investing. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals, and the app does the rest.
Plus, it gives you $5 just for signing up.
To get the bonus, just click this link and enter your email, download the Stash smartphone app and set up your account with the same email address. Within two business days, you’ll see the bonus added to your account.
Invest as little as $5 a week, and watch it add up. It sounds small, but it’s a great way to get started if you’re the kind of person who resists saving money like the plague.
Here’s one more secret weapon for saving money: Paribus.
This tool gets you money back for your online shopping. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it scans your emails for receipts.
If Paribus sees you’ve purchased something from Amazon, Target or one of several partner retailers, it tracks the item’s price and issues you a refund if there’s a future price drop!
Stick that money into a savings or investing account, and you won’t even have to think about saving!
7. Travel More
A lot of us wish we could travel more, but think it’s too difficult and too expensive.
But did you know you could travel the world for free?
You can earn rewards points and miles that pay for your flights, hotel rooms or other travel expenses. One of the best ways to earn miles is to use rewards credit cards responsibly.
But what if you can’t (or don’t want to) get involved in that shtick? You can still collect travel rewards.
With the Frequent Flyer app, you can earn frequent flyer miles in exchange for your location data — no purchases (or credit cards) required!
Just keep the app running in the background of your smartphone, and it shares your data anonymously in a pool with other users. Plus, you can earn extra miles by entering sweepstakes, completing surveys and referring friends.
You’ll earn 100 miles just for signing up.
8. Get a New Job
Not happy with your job? Don’t worry: You have options!
Read our tips for starting a new career at any age to help you get the transition started this year.
Keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder Jobs Facebook page for almost daily new job listings. We love to find flexible, work-from-home and unique opportunities. This one for an emoji translator just might be the most 2017 job ever!
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always pitch your dream job to these awesome companies.
If you prefer to work for yourself, check out opportunities in the sharing economy.
Drive with Uber. You’ll set your own schedule and get paid to drive around town all day. Your earnings will be calculated by adding a base fare, plus time and distance traveled after your pickup, and Uber charges a service fee (20-35% depending on your city).
You must be at least 21 years old; and have three years’ driving experience, an in-state driver’s license, a clean driving record and be able to pass a criminal background check.
Your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers, be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.
Here’s a link to sign up to drive with Uber.
If you prefer to drive around without people in your car, you could deliver food or packages through Postmates.
9. Spend More Time With Family
As winter breaks from school wrap up, you might be grateful for some distance from your kids. But that relief fades quickly as you get wrapped up in work, hobbies, classes and chores again.
Suddenly you never see each other — let alone make time to visit Grandma and Grandpa.
If it feels like you can’t make plans to spend time with family because everything fun is too expensive, try these ideas for completely free — fun! — ways to connect:
- Try geocaching (i.e. a treasure hunt!).
- Call or video chat with family that lives far away.
- Volunteer together.
- Go to the library for books, movies and community events.
- Bake or cook dinner together.
- Go for a hike, walk or swim.
Need more ideas? Read on for 102 ideas for a money-free weekend.
10. Quit Smoking
Every smoker you meet seems to want to quit, is trying to quit or has quit several times in the past. How do you actually kick the habit?
Maybe money will do the trick. States around the country are taking this approach to discourage smoking with higher cigarette taxes. Some smokers hit a tipping point where quitting is less painful than the strain on their wallet every week.
But we’ll do you one better.
Would you quit if, in addition to saving, you could actually make money?
By participating in clinical trials, you could earn money, quit smoking and contribute to research that will help others do the same.
The National Institute of Health’s website is a great resource to find paying research studies in your area.
On the site, you’ll find studies around the country that will pay you to try to quit smoking. Studies pay anywhere from $20 to $900, depending on the amount of time they require from you.
11. Eat Healthier
After the decadence of the holidays, a lot of us are trying to get back to healthier eating habits. We’ve got two smart ways to help you do it.
First, get paid for the healthy food you buy!
With website and mobile app Ibotta, you can take a picture of your receipt and earn rebates on groceries.
You’re not tied to specific stores or brands, either. Ibotta offers rebates on common staples, like milk, eggs and bananas!
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for Ibotta here (you just need a name/email address.).
- Browse cash-back offers in your area before you shop. You don’t want to buy a bunch of junk that wasn’t on your list, but this could help you save money. For example, if you just need “fruit,” consider using the banana rebate to save money, instead of grabbing the strawberries you were looking at.
- Scan your receipt with the Ibotta app when you get home, and earn cash back for your purchases.
- Once you’ve reached $5 in rebates, you can request payment via PayPal or Venmo. Plus, Ibotta is giving new users a $10 sign-up bonus when you redeem your first receipt.
Second, you can save a ton of money on fresh meat.
Zaycon Fresh supplies select, commonly-consumed meats like chicken, beef, turkey, pork and fish in bulk at prices well below what you’ll usually find at your grocery store.
For example, we found boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.69 per pound — about a third of what we pay at our local supermarket!
You’ll buy it by the case, and a 40-pound case of chicken breasts costs $67.60. So you’ll want to clear space in your freezer, but it’s worth it: That’s more than $150 in savings.
Here’s how it works:
- Register for a free account here.
- On the day of your local Zaycon sales event, bring your order confirmation to a designated location a short drive from your home and get your fresh, delicious, nutritious food.
Good luck, Penny Hoarders, and here’s to an awesome 2017!
Your Turn: What is your top resolution this year?
Disclosure: A toast to savings! Thanks for allowing us to place affiliate links in this post.