New Year’s Day has come and gone. If you haven’t made your new year resolutions for 2017 yet, now is the time to sit down and put pen to paper. A recent Harris Poll shows the top two resolutionsnew years resolution are to lose a few pounds and save or invest money. Of these two, losing a few pounds is definitely more difficult. So why not start with the easier of the two if these items are on your list.

Even though Christmas has just past, now is the time to plan for next Christmas. Will you be buying gifts? If so, for whom? Maybe you want to get away for Christmas 2017 and forget gift giving. Whatever your plans, get them down on paper, establish a budget, and open up a Christmas fund at the bank and begin depositing money into it so that you’ll have it when Christmas rolls around at the end of the year.

Do you have a 401K plan at work or an IRA? Are you contributing to either? If not, it’s never too late to start investing in either of these retirement vehicles or look into ShareBuilder to start investing in some of your favorite stocks affordably. A rule of thumb says that you should be putting away a minimum of 10% of your gross monthly income into some sort of savings plan.
If you want to lose a few pounds, you can probably save on your grocery budget AND lose weight by cutting out a lot of junk food that you have been buying. Think cream cheese on celery instead of crackers, cucumbers and salsa instead of chips and salsa, lettuce wraps instead of bread slices, tap water with lemon or lime juice instead of sugary store-bought drinks.

Chuck the gym membership and start walking or jogging. Check out local community centers for yoga or exercise classes. Buy a couple of 5 or 10-pound weights and do arm curls while watching Madam Secretary or a basketball game.

Most of all, put on your thinking cap and you’ll discover hundreds of ways to change the outcome of your resolutions for the better.

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