Resolution Reset Challenge: Finish out the year financially strong

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In January, we invited our members to take a 30-Day Debt Loss Challenge to kick off their New Year’s resolutions.

We were overwhelmed by the response. Nearly 30,000 members took the challenge, and more than half reduced their debt by about $1,280 on average after only one month of joining the challenge.

While this was amazing to see, a recent Credit Karma survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll, looked at 2,015 people in the U.S. and found that over 3 in 5 (61%) made New Year’s resolutions this year. Of that group, 70% did not stick to all of their resolutions. And of those who made resolutions involving finances, more than 2 in 5 (41%) didn’t completely follow through with them.

If that describes you, there’s no reason to hang your head. Life happens. We’ve all been there.

To help you pick up where you left off with your financial-fitness resolutions, Credit Karma is launching a 30-Day Resolution Reset Challenge — designed to help you develop money-saving habits that could spur you on to reaching your financial goals in the second half of the year.

Think you’re up for the challenge?

*When you join, we’ll send you another email mid-challenge to check in on your progress. We may report on participants’ progress anonymously.  

Then sign up for our Resolution Reset Facebook group to join a community that can help keep you motivated!


Here are a few ideas to get you (re)started on your path toward financial progress.

Day 1: De-gunk your air conditioner

Air conditioners can become clogged with debris over time, limiting their efficiency, but if you keep it clean and replace filters as scheduled, it might help cool down your home and lower your electric bill.

Day 2: Reach for your bike

Summer can be great time to bike to work. Not only is it good exercise and a great way to enjoy a beautiful day, but it could also be a money-saver. Challenge yourself to bike as much as possible over the next 28 days (even on the weekend), to find out how much money you can save on gas or ride-shares. If you don’t own a bicycle, see if your city has a bike share program you can participate in. Here are a few.

  • Chicago: Casual cyclists use Divvy to get around town
  • New York City: Citi Bike offers an alternative to the subway
  • Portland, Ore.: Nike operates BIKETOWN
  • San Francisco: Ford GoBike supports cyclists who’d rather head up the city’s big hills on two wheels than inside a trolley
  • Washington, D.C.: Capital Bikeshare is a popular way to get around the city

Bonus tip: If you can’t bike to work, consider taking public transportation or starting a carpool group with your co-workers.

Day 3: Use apps to save on gas

Gas prices can go up in the summer, which makes it a great idea for you to download a fuel finder app, like GasBuddy or AAA Mobile, to search for the lowest prices near you.

Bonus tip: In 2017, GasBuddy claimed you could save money in many states by filling up on Mondays.

Day 4: Have a “yes to everything” day

And by that, we mean say yes to everything that doesn’t cost you money. Invite your friends and family to join in on a fun day of freebie activities. You could say yes to outdoor activities at the park or yes to taking a walk around your neighborhood. If you have kids, you could say yes to them wearing their pajamas all day or yes to ice cream for breakfast (as long as it’s the sort of ice cream you already have in your refrigerator). Saying yes can open up your day to some fun (and cheap!) activities you might not normally consider.

Day 5: Freeze your gym membership

Now that the sun’s out later in the day, try exercising after work while it’s still light out. Call your gym to ask about freezing your membership for a couple of months. Make sure to also ask if there are any fees associated with freezing your account. Some gyms only charge a small monthly fee (we’ve seen them at $10–$30) to let you keep your membership, which could really save you some cash in the long run, depending on your monthly gym costs.

Day 6: Treat yourself to homemade frozen sweets

Cool off this summer by making some of your own frozen treats. Search the internet for easy, inexpensive ice cream or frozen yogurt recipes, or make your own paletas!

What’s a paleta, you ask? A paleta (pa-LEH-tah) is a Mexican-style ice pop, traditionally made with all-natural ingredients like fresh fruit and vegetables. Real chunks of fruit make paletas feel like summer on a stick, and making your own can be inexpensive and a great way to use up any fruit you brought home from the farmer’s market.

Try out this homemade paleta recipe from Tasty Pants Paletas, a small company run by one of our Credit Karma editors.

RECIPE

Cucumber Melon Paletas

Makes 10 paletas

The cucumber-melon combination in this recipe may not be familiar to you, but it’s a light and refreshing combo that’ll cool you down during the hottest summer days. Honeydew is our favorite melon to use, but experiment with your favorites or with other fruit!

  • 2 cups ripe melon chunks (like honeydew or cantaloupe)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • ½ cup water
  • Juice of 1 ½ large limes
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • About ⅓ cup simple syrup (1 part sugar dissolved in 1 part water), more or less to taste — optional
  • Popsicle mold (or 10 paper cups) and sticks
  1. Peel about ⅓ of the cucumber and dice. Add to a medium bowl. Dice enough melon to make ½ cup and add it to the diced cucumber. You should have a scant cup of fruit total. Toss the diced melon and cucumber with the lime zest and 1 Tbsp of lime juice. Distribute the diced fruit evenly among your popsicle molds and place the molds in the freezer.
  2. Cube the remaining unpeeled cucumber and add it to a blender along with the remaining chunks of melon. Add the rest of the lime juice to the blender, along with about ½ cup of water. Pulse and blend until liquefied.
  3. Over a large bowl, push the mixture through a sieve, using the back of a spoon to help press all the juice through, and discard any remaining pulp. You should be left without about 2 cups of juice.
  4. Taste the cucumber-melon juice for sweetness. If your fruit is very ripe or you’d prefer a no-added-sugar option, leave as is. If you’d like it sweeter, add cool simple syrup to taste, a couple of tablespoons at a time (it should be slightly sweeter than you’d like, as it will taste less sweet once frozen).
  5. Distribute the juice evenly among molds and insert popsicle sticks if you have a mold with a lid that holds sticks. Or freeze open molds for at least an hour and then insert your popsicle sticks. Freeze for at least four hours or until solid before unmolding. To unmold: run the mold under warm tap water for 15 seconds or so until paletas come out easily when you pull on the popsicle sticks.

Day 7: Get out in the garden to save in the grocery store

Start a garden in your backyard, or on your patio or balcony. While the up-front costs of a home garden can seem daunting, Amazon sells a variety of herb garden starter kits for under $25 — and your local garden supply store might have more affordable options, like vegetables and fruit that can be grown in inexpensive containers.

Bonus tip: If you don’t have a patio or backyard, look for a community garden you can join. Or consider signing up for a delivery service like Imperfect Produce, which sells discounted fruits and vegetables.


*When you join, we’ll send you another email mid-challenge to check in on your progress. We may report on participants’ progress anonymously.  

Don’t want to join the challenge? No problem! Click here to continue on to the full challenge without signing up.