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15 ways to use your gift cards toward your New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s is a time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one. And many of us use New Year’s Day to set resolutions to change bad habits or pledge to do better in some part of our life that we might need improvement.

If you got gift cards over the holiday, and aren’t quite sure what to buy with them, we’ve rounded up a few suggestions below using common New Year’s resolutions. The best part? They’re all quite affordable: Most of our recommendations cost less than $100. Now all you have to work on is making sure you stick to them.

Lose Weight or Get Fit

It’s a popular New Year’s resolution, perhaps the most common one. We’d also argue it’s probably the hardest to keep. But we think these three suggestions will go a long way in giving you a fighting chance to lose weight and get healthier.

Echelon FitPass membership – You don’t need to own Echelon equipment to use the company’s FitPass service. For just $100, Echelon provides you with a Chromcast-like dongle and a heart rate monitor, and your first month’s service. Afterward, the service costs just $20/month, less than most gym memberships (and without the New Year’s crowds).

Ninja BL480 Blender – Getting in shape and losing weight means eating right too. Ninja’s BL480 smoothie blender is an excellent buy on Amazon at $80 and includes both an 18- and 24-ounce cup with the package. The blending is done within the smoothie cup itself, making cleanup a breeze.

eufy Smart Scale C1 – We’re big fans of Eufy’s Smart Scale C1, and especially for the price. At $30, it’s one of the cheapest app-capable scales on the market and is our pick for the best budget smart scale on the market. It is compatible with third-party apps like Apple Health, Google Fit, and Fitbit, and we’ve found the readings to be surprisingly accurate for a scale of its price.

Eat Better

Going hand in hand with losing weight and getting fit is eating healthier. With our suggestions below, you can do just that.

Instant Pot Duo 60 – The Instant Pot Duo 60 is one of the company’s best-selling models, and is an easy way to cook healthy meals when you’re in a rush. The 6-quart capacity is enough to cook for the entire family, so you’ll be able to help everyone eat a little better in the New Year.

Skinnytaste One and Done Cookbook – Already have an Instant Pot, or buying one and have no idea what to make in it? We’d suggest this cookbook from the writers of the popular healthy cooking blog Skinnytaste. A bestseller on Amazon, this cookbook includes 140 easy recipes, all of which are made in a healthy manner.

Nutrichef Vacuum Sealer – In our ever busier lives, eating healthy is very difficult. Fast food is more convenient and quick. But if you have a few hours each weekend, you can easily prep your meals for the week, and using a vacuum sealer like Nutrichef’s will keep your food fresh up to five times longer than zipper baggies or containers. All you need to do is defrost and enjoy.

Learn something new

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Learn something new, whether it be how to cook a new dish, a foreign language, or even how to code the next killer app.

Masterclass Courses – If you’re looking to learn new things in the new year, Masterclass offers over 75 courses on a variety of subjects including cooking, business, design, and other subjects taught by famous experts in each field. You can take as many classes as you want for $15 a month, and each course includes about 20 10-minute lessons each.

Babbel – Babbel is like Masterclass, but for learning languages. The site allows you to learn any one of 13 languages at your own pace, in as little as five minutes a day. Just tell the site a little bit about yourself and your goals, and Babbel will create a lesson plan that will have you speaking conversationally in no time.

Codeacademy – If you’re looking to learn something challenging, we’d recommend learning how to code. In our increasingly computerized world, knowing code is an asset, and Codeacademy can teach you a variety of languages, including HTML/CSS, Ruby, javascript, C++, and Apple’s Swift programming language.

Get out of debt

Mint Personal Finance

Why bring financial stress into 2020? Improve your finances in the new year and worry less about your bills with these suggestions.

Quickbooks – Quickbooks is all but standard in accounting departments worldwide, however for those of us that are self-employed or run small businesses, it’s way more functionality than we need. We recommend you take a look at Quickbooks Self-Employed, a stripped-down yet feature-packed version instead. And with integration with Turbotax, it makes filing your taxes super easy.

Albert – If you don’t own a small business but still need an app to keep you within your budget, then Albert is a good choice. It looks through your bank transactions and automatically builds a budget based on your income and expenses. As an added benefit, Albert also pulls out small amounts to help you save money when it detects that you might have extra money to spare.

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey’s YouTube videos have helped thousands better manage their financial health. The Total Money Makeover is one of Ramsey’s bestselling books and is filled with a ton of practical tips to help you master your financial domain.

Travel more

Tax season travel splurge: Vacationing at Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Planning to see the world? Those gift cards go a long way towards any of these great travel-ready suggestions.

Epica Universal Travel Adapter – If you plan to travel out of the country in the new year, you’ll need a way to charge all of your electronics. Epicka’s adapter covers electrical outlets in over 150 countries and costs less than $30. There are several options available depending on which connections you need, including an option with USB-C ports.

Fire HD 8 Tablet – Looking to keep yourself (or the kids) entertained? Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Tablet is inexpensive and more than capable of doing so. With 10 hours of battery life, you’ll have plenty of juice to keep them busy even on the longest trips.

AmazonBasics Hardside Spinner Luggage – Amazon’s AmazonBasics line is a great way to save some money on everyday items — often at a substantial discount to brand name items. The Hardside Spinner Luggage caught our eye for being only $50. Amazon has several other options available, including a two- and three-piece set that’s also competitively priced (and in several colors, too!).

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