The new year is a great opportunity to make positive changes in your life. Whether you want to learn a new skill, manage your finances, or get fit, January is an ideal time to set some goals for the year ahead.
When it comes to making resolutions, Brits often cite improving their health and taking control of their money as two of the most popular commitments.
In some instances, it is even possible to do both. So, read on for seven new year resolutions that can improve your health and help you to better manage your finances.
Build up an emergency fund
Having an emergency fund in place is one of the cornerstones of good financial management. Essentially, this is a pot of money that you keep in an easy access savings account that you can dip into when an unexpected event occurs. This might be:
- A car breakdown
- A broken boiler, leaky roof or other household expense
- A period out of work, or on a reduced income due to ill health.
Experts usually recommend keeping three to six months’ expenditure aside if you can – perhaps even more if you work for yourself.
Knowing you have a fund you can fall back on can give you enormous peace of mind. It can reduce the stress and associated health problems that can arise if you’re placed under financial stress.
In addition, it can boost your wellbeing as you won’t have to stop paying for the luxuries you enjoy because you have money available to deal with short-term disruption.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, around 6.9 million adults in the UK smoke.
If you’re one of them, giving up can have significant health benefits. According to public health charity Ash, smoking is the primary cause of preventable illness and premature death, accounting for approximately 74,600 deaths a year in England.
In addition to improving your health, there are two main ways that stopping smoking can boost your finances.
The cost of tobacco
Stopping smoking can immediately boost your finances because you won’t be buying tobacco anymore.
Figures from charity Ash Scotland say that, based on the average price of cigarettes, someone who smokes the average of 12 cigarettes a day will save £2,495 a year by stopping smoking. If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, you’ll save £4,160 a year.
Cheaper life insurance and protection
If you smoke, you will pay more for your life insurance and other protection. This is simply because that you present a greater risk to the insurer.
Leading insurer Vitality says that if you’re a younger smoker (aged around 30), you will pay around a third more than people who don’t smoke. If you are a smoker over the age of 50 you can end up paying at least double what non-smokers pay.
If you give up smoking for at least a year, you may then be able to apply for protection on non-smoker rates. This could significantly reduce the cost of your protection, saving you a considerable sum over the term of your policy.
Many people take the opportunity to commit to a healthier diet as part of their new year resolutions.
Whether that is easting more fruit and vegetables, or just restricting your calorie intake, a healthy diet can reduce your risk of health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Keeping healthy also makes your protection cheaper. If you have type 2 diabetes or other health problems, insurers are likely to charge you more for your insurance. So, as well as feeling better, you may get a reward in terms of your expenditure also.
Take more exercise
According to Statista, getting fit or taking more exercise is the most popular new year resolution that Brits make.
The benefits are obvious – it can improve your health, help you lose weight, and otherwise help you avoid common health conditions associated with inactivity or being overweight.
If you want to also boost your finances, consider taking up a sport or routine that doesn’t involve paying hundreds of pounds a year in the form of a gym membership.
Spending more time outside has also been proved to boost your mood, so think about walking or running outdoors, or take up an outdoor sport like cricket, tennis, football or hockey.
Put financial protection in place
2022 research published by IFA magazine revealed that more than 1 in 5 (22%) Brits said that their financial difficulties have had a direct impact on their mental health, and that they’ve struggled with stress, anxiety, or depression due to money worries.
Financial protection gives you the peace of mind that support will be available when you need it. You can sleep at night knowing that you and your family have a safety net in place if the worst should happen.
Resolving to arrange your financial protection this new year could help you to reduce your financial stress, improving your overall wellbeing. And, to make things even easier, we can help find the right cover at the best price.
Make more meals at home
According to Statista, households with individuals aged 30 to 49 spent an average of £7.60 a week on takeaway meals in 2021. That’s nearly £400 a year.
And, a Mail report shows the typical worker spends £7.81 a day on their lunch, drinks and other work-time snacks. Assuming three days in the office a week, that’s more than £1,200 a year.
Making more meals at home could help you to save hundreds of pounds a year, and it could improve your health.
Research reported by Healthline shows that people who cook more meals at home have better diet quality and less body fat than people who eat more meals on the go.
A study of 11,396 adults found that those who ate five or more home-cooked meals per week were 28% less likely to be overweight, compared with those who ate fewer than three home-cooked meals per week.
Cut back on alcohol
Though alcohol can certainly fit into a healthy diet, too much can negatively affect your health.
DrinkAware report that, in 2017/18, there were an estimated 1,171,253 admissions related to alcohol consumption in England, where an alcohol-related disease, injury or condition was the primary reason for hospital admission or a secondary diagnosis.
Cutting back – perhaps by taking up the “Dry January” challenge – can improve your health and boost your finances.
According to DrinkAware, in 2019, the average person in the UK spent £7.28 a week on alcohol. So, reducing your intake could reduce your risk of health issues and leave you with more cash in your pocket.
Get in touch
If you want to get your finances in order and take control of your money, we can help. As protection experts we can scour the market to find the very best price for the cover you need.
We work with dozens of the UK’s leading insurers and can compare prices to make sure you get the peace of mind you need while also boosting your finances by paying the lowest price.
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