BIG BILLS: The average credit card balance in Australia is $3062.
BIG BILLS: The average credit card balance in Australia is $3062. Chris McCormack/cm160019a

The two new year resolutions on most people's wish list

STRESS less will be the motto for many Bundaberg residents next year.

Comparison website found one-third of Australians hoped to reduce their stress levels in 2018, which was slightly ahead of their other top health priority - more sleep.

Money expert Bessie Hassan said the average credit card balance of $3062 and house prices at seven times the average household income were contributing to higher stress levels.

"Financial stability is one of the biggest contributing factors to our mental health and well-being,” she said.

"With a national credit card debt of $51 billion and house prices skyrocketing, many Australians are likely to be experiencing rising financial pressure.”

Women also seem to be more stressed out than men, with 41 per cent looking to relieve stress in 2018, compared to 25 per cent of men.

Ms Hassan recommended ditching bad habits, reviewing your health insurance policy and consolidating your debt as ways to relieve financial pressure.

"We know women are less likely to have a savings safety net in the bank and are more likely to be underinsured, which all contributes to financial stress.”'s tips for improving both your finances and fitness in 2018 are:

  • Ditch bad habits. A whopping one in ten respondents (nine per cent) plan on giving up smoking in the New Year. By giving up smoking not only will you save money you'd usually spend on cigarettes but you can also halve your life insurance premium.
  • Make money counting your steps. Some health and life insurance brands will offer discounts and incentives such as bonus Frequent Flyer points to members for using fitness trackers and wearables.
  • Are you paying for health cover you don't need? Only six per cent of Australians plan on reviewing their health insurance in 2018. You can save hundreds of dollars each year by switching health insurance policies, and making sure you're on the right level of cover.
  • Save on your gym membership. Many health insurers reward loyalty with gym membership discounts, and you can often claim for fitness classes such as yoga or Pilates on your extras policy, particularly if they've been prescribed by a medical professional.
  • Clear your debt to get more sleep. Consolidate your credit cards and personal loans, create a budget, and set up a regular savings account to reduce sleepless nights spent worrying about money.

"Stress can be a huge hindrance and can even create long-term health issues,” Ms Hassan said.

"The new year is a good time to reduce factors contributing to your stress levels, and take up an activity that will help you improve your mental health and encourage better sleep quality.

"If you feel as though symptoms of stress are affecting your everyday life and you need help to manage them, it's important to seek professional advice.”

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