Here’s How Much the Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions Really Cost

Whether your dreams for 2019 involve a necessary health change or something more indulgent, like traveling the world, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Have a certain one in mind? Here’s how much your resolution may cost you. The question: Is it worth it?

1. Get more sleep

Portrait of a man sleeping soundly in his bedroom.

Better sleep equals a better quality of life. | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

  • Queen mattress: $500-$5,000
  • New bedding and pillows: $150+
  • Melatonin supplements: $10 per box

Mattress and bedding quality does affect how well and long you sleep. A new mattress can reduce back pain and stiffness by nearly 60%, according to research. To snooze better, you may try cheaper techniques like deep breathing, abstaining from caffeine, and reducing your blue-light exposure.

Next: Are the delays and lost luggage worth it?

2. Travel more

family of two at the airport enjoying time

Traveling with family will cost you. | noblige/iStock/Getty Images

  • U.S. vacation: $1,145 per person (on average)
  • International vacation: $3,250 per person

Between plane tickets, car rentals, hotels, and taxes, a family of four spends nearly $5,000 on average for a vacation within the U.S., according to Credit Donkey. The same family of four spends an average of $132 per day for meals — not including tips, snacks, or alcohol. Don’t even get us started on the cost of Disneyland. Driving to your destination can save some money, as well as making meals yourself. For many, the hassles of traveling are totally worth it.

Next: Don’t be a slave to this addiction.

3. Quit smoking

Man smoking a cigarette

You’ll shell out more to keep smoking. | Studio

Nicotine patches or gum: $180-$240 (12-week supply)

Don’t believe the dangerous notion that it’s more expensive to quit smoking than it is to keep puffing. Every pack of cigarettes could cost you $40 when you consider health-related costs, according to the American Cancer Society. However, quitting smoking does come at a cost. Everyday Health asserts it’s worth paying full-price for smoking cessation aids.

Next: This everyday activity will strengthen your brain.

4. Read more

Mature woman sitting on a bench

Do you prefer an e-reader or actual books? | Moussa81/iStock/Getty Images

  • Spending on reading materials: $118 annually
  • Audible subscription: $14.99 monthly

The average household spends over $100 on books, magazines, and newspapers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It seems low, but this amount is an average, so many spend more (or less). Overall, according to the Pew Research Center, “Americans read an average of 12 books per year, while the typical American has read four books in the past 12 months.” How to save: Join your local library and get your news online.

Next: You can make this resolution as cheap or expensive as you want.

5. Reduce stress

Relaxation exercises

Yoga can be pricey. | Ridofranz/Getty images

  • Yoga classes: $55-$375 per month
  • Meditation app: $12.99 per month
  • Calming supplements: $10-$25 per bottle

People regularly credit workout classes and life coaches for helping them reprioritize and reduce stress. However, if you’re trying to save money, stick with more simple techniques for calming your mind and body. Go for a walk, reduce your caffeine intake, or journal. Spend time with your pet or cuddle with a loved one.

Next: One of America’s biggest issues at the bank

6. Pay off debt

man rubbing his eyes while he works on a laptop

Debt can hurt your personal life. | iStock/Getty Images

Annual interest: $1,000-$1,600 on average

Credit card debt is a serious issue for Americans. The average household now carries $5,700 in revolving credit-card debt, according to ValuePenguin; the average for balance-carrying households is $9,333. With the national average APR at 17.21% as of December 2018, you’ll pay thousands annually — just in interest. Don’t let this deter you from paying off your debt. It’s still worth it.

Next: Do you struggle to finish projects you’ve started?

7. Learn a new hobby

Woman photographs

Photography is a pretty expensive hobby. | Source: iStock

  • Collecting coins: $200 per month
  • Mountain biking: $175-$1,500
  • Joining a roller derby team: $150-$600 annually

Of course, how much your new hobby costs depends on what you choose to pursue. Buying the equipment and instruction necessary to excel at something can be painful. Look for supplies at thrift stores or borrow from a friend before investing in a new activity.

Next: Avoiding certain places will save you a ton of money.

8. Quit drinking

a man staring into a glass of brown alcohol

Drinking can destroy your life. | OcusFocus/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Alcohol treatment or rehab: $15,000-$27,000

About one in every 12 Americans has some kind of alcohol abuse or dependence issue, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Here are some estimates if you decide to quit drinking and get help:

  • Intervention: $2,500
  • Supervised detox: $500-$650 daily
  • Inpatient care in a facility: $500-$650 daily
  • Outpatient care: $250-$300 daily
  • Sober living: $1,500-$2,500 monthly

But there is a huge upside to quitting drinking. You’ll save thousands of dollars per year, just from cutting liquor stores and bars out of your life.

Next: For this kind of loss, you’ll need to lose money.

9. Lose weight

woman adjusting a scale

Losing weight can be an investment. | Tetmc/iStock/Getty Images

Weight-loss program: $168-$1,750 annually

Losing weight is difficult enough without losing money in the process. Joining a program like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig costs hundreds in membership fees and monthly charges. Plus, many of these weight-loss programs involve paying for “approved” meals and add-ons.

Next: The most common New Year’s resolution is a costly one.

10. Exercise more

senior man in sportswear kneeling alone in a gym

A gym can make or break your health. | UberImages/iStock/Getty Images

Gym membership: $58 monthly or $696 annually

This resolution may be the biggest money-waster. In fact, the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association reports that gyms expect only 18% of members to use them consistently. In addition to a gym membership, many people invest in their health with smartphone apps, fancy gadgets, and personal trainers. However, if those methods don’t help you exercise more, you’re just tossing cash in the trash.

Next: You’ve got to spend money to make money, right?

11. Get a new job


Networking is serious business. | Kritchanut/iStock/Getty Images

  • Networking events: $10-100 per entry ticket
  • New work wardrobe: $100-$1,500

If you’re burned out and ready for a new job, you’ll need to invest time and money into the search. Networking events and job boards may eat up your evenings. Once you land the gig, you may need to invest in new professional clothing. Your health insurance and commute may change as well — saving you money or reducing your earnings.

Next: Eating healthiest is cheaper than you thought.

12. Eat healthier

Senior gay couple shopping for groceries

Healthier options help everyone. |

Purchasing healthier foods: $1.50 extra per day

The Harvard School of Public Health researched the cost of swapping easily manufactured and processed foods for healthier alternatives and found that eating healthier only costs $1.50 more per day. Of course, this may still be difficult for some; a family of four would spend an additional $2,200 each year. However, eating more fruits, veggies, and fish could make life happier and longer.

Next: A simple yet satisfying New Year’s resolution

13. Floss more

Woman is using dental floss

Flossing is crucial. | bowie15/Getty Images

  • Floss: $1-$15
  • Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser: $39.99

Flossing may seem frivolous compared to other resolutions, but removing plaque from surfaces your toothbrush can’t reach is crucial to avoiding gum disease. The hard-to-reach spots are where the “most destructive microbes” thrive, according to Flossing is the only way to clean those areas at home, so it’s worth investing in a product to help you floss more, whether that’s dollar-store floss or a fancy Waterpik.

Next: Start the new year less lonely.

14. Make new friends

Friends running

You could join a running group. | Jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

  • Dinner and one drink: $20-$32
  • Sports club dues: $50-$300
  • Art or hobby class: $25-$300

Making friends and keeping them are different things. You may meet new friends through a class or sports league. Keeping friends make involve meeting for dinner on a regular basis and attending birthday parties and weddings. (One loan provider estimated the average cost of friendships is $201,000 in one’s lifetime.) Maintaining friendships seems worth it considering they improve your happiness, confidence, and sense of belonging.

Next: The blue light that makes you blue

15. Break the smartphone addiction

Man using his mobile phone in the bed

Developing unhealthy smartphone habits | Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images

Screen-time tracking app: free

We use our phones an average of 80-150 times a day as we build relationships and communicate. However, studies show the negative side effects — increased anxiety, sleep loss, bad posture, and even brain damage — may not make extravagant phone usage beneficial. Luckily, reducing your screen time costs very little. Turn off your notifications, use physical versions of apps, and track your usage using a program like Moment or SPACE, says Inc.

Next: One of the very best New Year’s resolutions

16. Volunteer more

Volunteer Group Clearing Litter In Park

Helping others is one of the best investments. | bowdenimages/Getty Images

Volunteering abroad: $,1500+

If you dream of traveling the world and helping others, you’ll pay much more to volunteer. Helping out at your local homeless shelter or animal rescue will cost a lot less — merely your commute and time — but both are honorable causes. Consider your passions and budget, and know that you’ll only benefit from giving to others.