Health

How To Get Healthy On A Budget

Choosing the healthy option may be hard especially if it also has to fit your budget. This blog post will take a holistic approach to health focusing on healthy eating, exercise and mental well being.

Healthy Eating

You don’t have to eat the trendiest superfoods like goji berries, kombucha or manuka honey, to stay on top of your healthy eating! Here are some simple ways of making sure you don’t exceed your food and drinks budget.

healthy food

Meal Plan

Make sure you buy only things you will definitely eat during the week so you don’t waste any food. Plan your meals in such a way that will be varied so you don’t get bored and freeze your meal prep to make it last longer. We often get discouraged with our new diets if the taste is bland or we constantly eat the same thing. You don’t have to eat chicken, rice and broccoli to stay fit! Variety is key as well as seasoning and some healthy treats. Before you make your meal plan and shopping list, make a mental note of the things you already have.  There are many ways to repurpose leftovers. For example, put your left over salad in a wrap or your baked mushrooms on a bed of spinach. Get into the habit of asking yourself, what is actually necessary to purchase.

Shopping

Now we know we said make a shopping list and stick to it, but if you see something on sale, in the reduced section or a deal don’t be afraid to switch it for your original item. The key is to make sure it’s just as healthy and it is actually cheaper. Don’t get fooled just because it says it’s on sale doesn’t mean you’ll save money. Compare and make common sense choices. If possible buy local fruits, vegetables and eggs, especially in-season foods. Another trick we would recommend is buying in bulk. Not only is it cheaper, it decreases the amount of times you have to go to the supermarket reducing temptations. Don’t forget to get a customer card, collect points and save on future shopping trips.

Protein

We all know that you’ll probably want to increase your protein quantities on your new healthy diet, especially if you’ll be working out or want to increase your muscle mass. However, meats and fish are one of the most expensive foods… The answer is legumes! Consider items such as: lentils, chickpeas and beans, not only are they high in protein but they will help you feel fuller for longer.

Frozen

Frozen foods are not only cheaper but also more convenient and last longer. Great frozen choices are: berries, avocados, green peas and mango as you can add these to your smoothies, as well as fish, vegetables and herbs which are great in stir fries. If you are running out of time to eat what you prepared before it goes bad, label it and place it in the freezer.

Drinks

On your healthy lifestyle all you really need to drink is water. Just think of all the money it will save you, this should be motivation enough to put down that beer bottle, gin or chocolate milkshake. If you feel like having tea or coffee choose their own brand product, they will be cheaper and you might be positively surprised with the quality.

Fitness

Forget about a Personal Trainer or soul cycle, focus on alternatives such as at home workouts or outdoor activities.

Running

Wardrobe

The most common step we all take when starting our fitness journey is buying new clothes, fit for the occasion (see what we did there?). It’s true that exercising requires proper gear, but you can look great for less. Check out the clearance section, or find good workout clothes in H&M or Primark. Steer clear of brand names to save the most.

Equipment

You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment to get fit. It’s possible to get in shape with just your own body weight. Use your environment, instead of expensive workout machines. You can do bench dips using your sofa or lift heavy water bottles as an alternative to dumb bells and weights. You can have a good workout regime just purchasing a resistance band and a skipping rope. If you do have some extra pounds to spare and enough space at home, you could invest in a second hand treadmill or elliptical.

Exercise

The best way to get fit and healthy is to go out doors. Walk, run, swim (if possible) or do some simple exercises in the park. If you are shy and don’t want a nosy audience, jog in the early mornings. The fresh air definitely won’t harm you!

If you prefer to stay home try running up and down the stairs, it’s a great leg workout as well as a cardio session. YouTube and Pinterest are free platforms which are filled with workout routines, videos and inspiration. Follow a HIIT workout without having to leave your bedroom and save on a gym membership.

If joining a gym is in your budget, compare different deals and choose the one that suits you the most. It’s also a good idea to have one trial session (these are normally for free) to see if you like the place before committing yourself to a contract. Some gyms offer discounts if you refer a friend, so perhaps it’s time to get a gym buddy.

Mental Wellbeing

Meditation

Money and mental health are often linked. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.

Understand Your Behaviour

The WOOP it up method can help you overcome negative emotions and procrastination. It works like this:

Set a goal

Your aim should be important to you and challenging. For example:

“I won’t eat any refined sugar.”

Imagine the outcome

Picture the goal coming true, what do you feel? For example:

“I feel good about myself. My energy levels are higher, my thoughts clearer and I’m more positive.”

Identify the obstacle

Identify the main inner obstacle that stands in the way such as an emotion, irrational belief, or bad habit. What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish? For example:

“In the evening I’m tired after work and I crave chocolate or cake, then I beat myself if I don’t resist the temptations.”

Make a plan

Now create your contingency: If faced with (obstacle), then I will (take this effective action in response). For example:

“If I find myself wanting something sweet I will eat a fruit or a naked bar instead of candy.”

The WOOP method will help you build an emotional contingency plan. By reframing obstacles as opportunities — not devastating roadblocks — you internalize failure less and can easily move past difficulties by following the action steps you’ve laid out.

Good health is priceless. Having determination and motivation to get healthy is much more important and doesn’t have to be expensive.

How to Manage Stress about Money

Money and mental health are often connected. Poor mental health can make managing money harder and worrying about money can make your mental health worse.

Reasons you may be experiencing money worries

  1. If you recently lost a job or had to take some unpaid holidays, which affects your regular income, you might find yourself experiencing money problems.
  2. Being an emotional shopper could put you in financial difficulties especially due to maniatic periods during which you spend uncontrollable amounts.
  3. You have lost motivation to keep your financial security under control.
  4. You are experiencing general anxiety around the topic of money.
  5. Problems in other areas in your life, for example: relationship or career can affect your ability to remain rational with money.
  6. You may not have enough money to spend on essentials or things to keep you well like housing, food, heating or medication.

How to help yourself   

Identify your stress points. You can only eliminate or target a problem you know about, therefore the more you understand yourself and your triggers the better. Your anxiety may be caused by upcoming bills or debts. Examine your spending patterns to see why you overspend. Write down your biggest financial stress sources so you know what you’re targeting. (Try to keep the list short so you don’t feel overwhelmed.)

Stay positive

Having the right mindset is key to not only living with your financial realities but dealing with the problems. Instead of focusing on how many bills you have to pay, try to imagine the load decreasing as you pay them off. Give yourself a small goal, like saving £10 per week that will go towards reducing your stress. Having the sense that you are doing something to make yourself feel better by itself should have a positive affect on your mood. Treat your financial changes as a diet or a new workout routine, you might feel the burn but in the long run it will benefit you.

It’s also important to stay active. Keep your CV up to date and invest in self-development. It is also beneficial to do some exercise. We understand that in the face of financial issues this might seem redundant, but a healthy lifestyle really improves your well-being and mental clarity. Click here to find out how to get healthy on a budget.  

Be rational

Remain realistic and set yourself achievable goals. Are your problems really that bad, or do they just mean less clothes shopping? Do you really need a new phone this month or can you wait a bit longer and save up? If you are experiencing serious money difficulties look for help. We understand that it might be a topic you would prefer not to share with your family or friends but their support, be it financial or emotional will benefit you. If you are an emotional spender you could ask your friend to keep your card for some time while you regain control. You can talk to friends and family about your triggers and warning signs so they can help you.  

If you are unable to talk about your difficulties with your close ones you can seek advice online or over the phone. Services such as Money Advice and Turn 2 Us are great sources if you need financial guidance.

If you need help dealing with debt we would recommend contacting one of these charities:

Money Advice Service (0800 138 7777)

National Debtline (0808 808 4000)

StepChange Debt Charity (0800 138 1111)

Act quickly

The worst thing you can do is try to ignore your problems. It’s best to face your fears head on before they get any worse. For example, if it looks like you’re going into debt, get advice on how to prioritise your repayments. If you remain calm and ready to change your situation it will most likely turn out less bad to what you initially imagined.

It’s also beneficial to stay organised, not to miss any payments and make a good budget plan. Choose a regular time to look at your money and bills each week so that things don’t pile up. You will find putting all important records and documents (payslips, bills and receipts) in one place, very helpful.

We would also recommend not masking your problems by turning to popular coping mechanisms like alcohol. Not only will it further damage your financial situation it will also make it harder to solve your problems.     

Make every penny count

If you put every bit of money to good use you will receive the maximum benefits your pay can give you. The key is to spend wisely and control any emotional spending. However, it’s also important to forgive yourself if you slip up. If you find it hard to control yourself in the face of temptations, try to avoid these triggers. You can keep a diary of your spending and revise it frequently to see where you can cut down and understand your shopping habits.  

Medical help

If your financial situation is causing you anxiety and depression over a long period of time see your GP. They may refer you to a psychologist near you who can help you with your situation.

Seek help immediately if you feel like you can’t cope and are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Either see your GP or contact a helpline such as Samaritans (call free on 116 123) for confidential, non-judgemental emotional support.


Money problems and financial difficulties affect more than 68% of British adults. It is very common to experience anxiety or distress with regards to your budget and one of the best ways to cope is by understanding your spending, talking about your issues and being open to change. Every hard task becomes easier with the support of friends and family, so share your goals, be kind to yourself and seek further help if you feel like you need it.

These Simple Figures Show The True Cost Of Running A Family

Running a family is very expensive. Ensuring you’ve got enough to pay for the weekly essentials is a struggle, let alone splashing out on activities to keep the kids healthy and entertained. Trying to figure out where your money is going, and where you can cut back and save is difficult and makes quick payday loans appear like a quick fix.

Rather than applying to loan companies, we’ve gathered the statistics to show you where your money going and help you organise your finances!

budgeting with a family

Sources:

Stress – How do You Keep it Under Control?

Over 44% of us suffer from stress on a regular basis. And according to the latest stats from the Health and Safety Executive show that over 488,000 people had work-related stress last year – especially those who work in healthcare, education and the armed forces. So how can we keep stress under control? How can we spot signs of stress? Here’s a mini guide to recognising and coping with stress.

What causes stress?

The things that cause us stress in life can be split into five categories: Personal, Money, Housing, Job / School and Relationships. Stress can be triggered by anything such as a huge life-changing event or a series of smaller incidences building up. Take a look at this quick summary on how these areas of your life can cause stress:

  • Personal: Bereavement, long-term illness, short-term illness, having a baby, organising a big event.
  • Money: Debt, income, poverty, paying rent on time, covering bills on time.
  • Housing:
  • Job / School: Redundancy, being dismissed, long-term unemployment, bullying, deadlines, starting a new job/career path, retirement.
  • Friendships / Relationships:planning a wedding, moving in together, being controlled by a partner, breakups/divorce, tricky relationships with relatives, providing care for a sick, vulnerable or elderly relative

As you can see, even the ‘good events’ such as getting married, having a baby, starting a brand new job and planning a family holiday can all cause stress if you’re not careful. That brings us to the next section – how do you know you’re stressed?

The signs of stress

There are actually three different areas of stress symptoms: Behavioural, Feelings and Physical. Here are a few of the more common signs of stress:

  • Behavioural: difficulty in making decisions, can’t concentrate, loss of appetite, bigger appetite, smoking, taking drugs or drinking more, nail-biting, picking at your skin or pulling your hair, avoiding people, crying.
  • Feelings: Hopelessness, depressed, lack of interest in activities you normally love, dread, anxiousness, nervousness, irritable, aggressive, impatient, tense, can’t switch off, lonely.
  • Physical: Insomnia, tiredness, nausea, headaches, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, digestive problems, hyperventilating, lack of libido.

We know this doesn’t exactly sound like a barrel of laughs, but there are so many ways you can prevent burnout or stress before it even happens.

How can I keep stress under control?

The first thing you should do is identify what is causing your stress. Just take a look at the causes of stress above and identify which ones are a regular occurrence in your life or even just one-off events that always seem to be niggling away at your mind.

Realising what your ‘trigger’ is can show you just how much you’re stretching yourself or spreading yourself thin. That’s why you should make a plan to organise your time, work out what time of day you’re most productive and create a to-do list or schedule around that. Make sure your list is varied so tasks don’t get too monotonous and make sure you’re only doing one thing at a time. Give yourself regular breaks and you’ll find your to-do list is done in next to no time!

But if you’re stressed about things beyond your control – you need to remind yourself that there are some things you can’t change. This might sound negative – but it’s actually a very positive thing to do when combatting stress.

Top tips on dealing with stress

Here are a few tips and tricks that can work very well at preventing stress or de-stressing if you’re already stressed!

  • Listen to particular playlists. Studies show that listening to music that makes you feel ‘positive nostalgia’ can be a great way to de-stress. Discovering new music is also a great way to take your mind off your worries.
  • Shower or bath. We know most people will tell you to relax with a nice big bubble bath but showers can also reduce stress too. Apparently, the scents of soap and shower gel can calm the mind – and feeling fresh and clean can boost your mood overall, making you feel a lot less sluggish.
  • Meditation. We know it doesn’t work for some, but meditation can help you breathe properly. Stress can cause shallow breathing, which just makes you feel even tenser than ever before. Meditation encourages you to be conscious of your breathing and gives you a natural rush after as little as 7 minutes. Start with the Calm app, a guided 10-minute meditation tool. You can also check out Health ambition. They have written a fantastic article with 15 ways to relax under 5 minutes. You can check it out here.
  • See friends. As they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed. It might seem like you don’t have the time to see friends because you’re so stressed out about everything. But hanging out with friends can reduce stress, help you improve your mood and make you more productive in the long run – especially if you tend to laugh a lot with your friends!
  • Be more active: We don’t mean hitting the treadmill every day, (but if you want to then by all means!) but going for a walk every other day can really clear your mind and help you balance your life.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself. Stressed people tend to berate themselves for being stressed, which makes them even more stressed in the long-run. Treat yourself to your favourite magazine, food or movie because you deserve it.
  • Try and make up with people. Stress can cause a lot of arguments with loved ones. Try and sort out any conflicts you have, admit your mistakes, apologise and move on.
  • Let your employers know. Work-related stress is a huge one for the UK – so letting your boss or HR manager know you’re stressed can go a long way. Most businesses are making an active effort to support their employees suffering from mental health problems.