This week marks the six-week anniversary of 2011, which means that virtually everyone who made New Year's resolutions this year probably has broken them by now.
Count me in that burgeoning group. I haven't broken all of my 11 resolutions for 2011 - I'm still keeping three of them and, in an unprecedented move for me, have twice delayed two of them to a new start date - first Feb. 1 and then March 1. I'll be on vacation that week and I'm sure it'll be no problem to do an hour of exercise a day and organize two particularly disorganized areas of my home.
To make sure I approach that latter resolution in just the right way, I went out and bought myself two books on the subject. One promises to get you organized in seven days, the other in 56 weeks. (I think that author should have tried a little harder to get it to under a year.) With tax, those two books cost me almost $40. When I actually do this in March, I expect it will cost me another $50 for just the right organizers for the project.
At least I'll use those organizers. Will I use my new gym membership (a bargain at $60 a month), new trainers (over $100), new iPod shuffle ($60) - or the stack of magazines that lured me with their promises to help me get in shape easily and quickly?
Resolutions can cost a lot -- wasted money if you break them or stop using the items you bought to make them happen. A survey done last month in England by online accountants Crunch.co.uk tried to put a number to all those broken resolutions over the course of a year. It polled 3,000 of its members and found that the average person spends 1,213 pounds (about $1,937.50 Cdn) annually on "wasted items" - things like gym memberships (an average of $484 a year) they don't use and health foods and drinks ($164.50) that end up getting thrown out.
Some other examples of waste:
Unused sports equipment - $252
Unattended education classes - $274.50
Needless gadgets - $177
Unworn clothes - $196
When I read that list, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Misery loves company. I know I'm not alone in spending on things I don't use, but it's embarrassing nonetheless.
Crunch's final thoughts on the poll it conducted was that perhaps our resolution for 2011 should have been to avoid purchasing the gym membership. I'm not so sure. I think it's better to try and fail than not to try at all. And for now, I'm spending $720 a year for that privilege.