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Save on New Year’s health goals

By Paula Pant ·
Friday, January 11, 2013
Posted: 7 am ET

In the excitement of making New Year's resolutions and dreaming of new possibilities -- a flatter stomach, a healthier diet -- it's easy to forget that pursuing these goals may require some spending.

Here are suggestions that can help you save on three of the most common health-related New Year's resolutions.

Working out

Do you want to hit the gym more often? A membership can range from $10 to $100 or more per month.

Many people sign up for a gym membership but lose interest in using the facility after a few months. Many gyms anticipate this cancellation by making their money upfront on enrollment fees.

How to save: Look for a gym with low to no enrollment fees, no long-term contract and no cancellation penalties. You may have to pay a slightly higher monthly fee for this flexibility, but that fee will be worth the freedom of knowing you can quit in the spring.

If you continue hitting the gym regularly for four to six months, consider switching to a gym with lower monthly fees, even if it requires a contract.

Alternately, exercise at home with a few $10 exercise DVDs and a set of hand weights.

Healthy eating

Fresh fruits and vegetables are more expensive than simple carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes. If you opt for organic cuts of meat and produce, your grocery bills could skyrocket.

How to save: Offset the higher cost of fresh produce by cutting back on packaged or processed foods, which are simultaneously expensive and unhealthy. Even "healthy" packaged foods such as all-natural organic frozen pizzas can cost $7 or $8.

Cutting back on restaurant dining is another great way to make space in your budget for healthier foods.

Getting more sleep

Sleep is free, right? How could this goal possibly cost money?

That extra hour or two spent snoozing needs to come from some other area of your life. Your costs will rise if the only way to get more sleep is to save time by hiring a housecleaning service, or by ordering take-out food more often.

How to save: Make an honest assessment of the unproductive parts of your day. Do you surf the Internet mindlessly for half an hour? Cutting back on small increments of "wasted time" can carve out the extra hours that you need to get a good night's sleep.

Paula Pant blogs at about creating wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns five rental properties and works for herself. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything.

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