Category Archives: Health and Fitness

10 Instances when being Lazy Saves you Money

10 Instances when being Lazy Saves you Money

In the financial world, there is a plethora of books, articles, and blogs dedicated to providing strategies and plans that help you become the most financially savvy version of yourself. Time after time these resources hammer home messages of working hard, staying motivated, and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise in order to be as financially successful as possible. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of frequently promoting the these worker bee messages, and in full honesty, I do believe in them; however I am a human, and “working hard” does not always make it onto my agenda. Sue me.

Sometimes, I don’t want to work hard. Sometimes, I’m in such a sloth-like mode that sitting on the couch isn’t lazy enough for me—I must LAY on it and not move until I’ve watched eight episodes of House of Cards in a row. Maybe nine.

In a recent moment of extreme relaxation, I realized that a lot of my “lazy” traits and tendencies toward “taking it easy” are actually excellent money savers. This post is my love letter to the couch potato living inside of me and all my fellow veggers out there. The next time you are shaming yourself for not staying out late enough to see the sun set rise, read this and remember that sometimes it “pays” to be lazy.

1. Slacking on Holiday Décor

Do I feel like a bit of a Grinch when I don’t fill my home with holiday cheer each year–Yes. Do I save money and time by skipping it–Yes.  Am I losing any sleep over my lack of Christmas lights–No.

2. Skipping Sporting Events

One of my favorite leisure activities is going to sporting events, but on the rare occasion that I’m not into the idea of parking a half mile away from a stadium, navigating crowds, crawling across the laps of 12 people I don’t know to get to my seat, and maintaining attention on an entire game, I take solace in the fact that I’m not just a loser…I’m a money-saving loser.

3. Early to Bed

Falling asleep on the couch at 7:30 on a Friday may create subtle feelings of embarrassment when swapping weekend stories with my friends, but I am fully happy to catch those extra ZZZ’s (and the newest episode of Hart of Dixie—guilty pleasure alert).  Also, if you are snoozin’ you definitely aren’t out boozin’, eating, paying covers, etc.

4. Water-less Sunning

Going to the pool is quintessential summertime in my mind, but some days the furthest I get my bikini-clad self is out my backdoor and onto a patio lawn chair. Ten minutes of driving for 60 minutes of sun feels like a large investment on the sloth days. I must also clarify that when I say “sunning” I mean letting the sun warm my SPF 70 slathered body–it’s the feeling of being scorched that I’m enjoying more so than destroying my skin.

5. Leftovers are my Jam!

…Because when I’m too lazy to cook and clean my kitchen I make the most of what I have and stretch my meals into leftovers multiple times a week.

6. Wedding Simplifications

My neglect towards having programs, menus, place cards, additional decorations, and run-of-the-mill favors at my wedding was mostly due to a lack of desire in adding additional tasks and planning to my to-do list; however it also helped me save several hundred dollars at the least.

7. Love of Yoga Pants and Elastic Waistbands

Sometimes the idea of changing out of my yoga pants and into “public clothes” is enough of a deterrent to squash any desire of leaving the house for any reason–shopping, dinner, ice cream, etc.

8. Afternoon Naps

When a post-workday nap trumps Happy Hour, you can save yourself at least 10 bucks and some calories—why is it only the fried foods that go half-price!?!?

9. Mediocre Workout Routine

This is hard for me to say because I do place my health high on my list of priorities, and I’m at my happiest when I’m making sure that I get enough cardio and strength exercising in throughout my week.  My lack of motivation to sign up for races, gym memberships, and the such save me money by eliminating gym membership fees, putting less miles on my running shoes, etc.

10. Stay-Cations instead of Vacations

Stay-cations are a lazy mentality’s dream come true! Days off work, nowhere to be, nothing to do, and consequently–nothing to pay for. A little R&R is good for your mind, body, and budget.

 While the idea of being a go-getting, mega-hustling human being 100% of the time might sound appealing, the truth is that it is simply unrealistic—unless you are Sam, but that is an entirely different story in which her stamina is the exception to the rule 😉  Most of us need breaks from intensity and to-do lists every once in awhile. Why not enjoy the silver lining while you are at it?

What is your favorite way to get lazy, and how does it help you save money?

Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Follow on BloglovinBrittany
This post is linked up with Savvy Saturdays,  The Thrifty Couple and Thrifty Thursday.

Healthy Habits could Help your Budget

header

In general, I like to think that I make an effort to live a lifestyle that is filled with mostly healthy habits. I like to be comfortably active—which to me means enjoying a peaceful jog on a Saturday morning, sun salutating my way through some relaxing yoga, or playing a semi-competitive tennis match. There is no sprinting or “maxing out” included in my workout game. My typical diet consists of mostly healthy foods (God bless that 80-20 mantra), and I make a conscious effort to keep my mind in a healthy, calm state.

Recently I have taken my typical, healthy habits and kicked them up a notch, and what I noticed—aside from me wanting to eat brownies so badly that I second guess the decision of walking past fallen pieces that are laying on the floor without eating them—is that my day to day budget has fattened up a bit. I mean, thank goodness, right? Whenever I am venturing outside of my comfort zone in the world of diet or fitness, aka not eating dessert every day, in order to achieve a long-term goal that is awesome but very abstract and seems like an empty promise in the beginning, I am glad to take any silver lining I can get!

It’s an everyday battle to eat really healthy and exercise , but knowing that my healthy habits are benefiting my budget and bank account in addition to my body is the motivation I need to help me go that extra mile…when what my belly is begging me to do is eat that extra cupcake!

1. Healthy Smoothie Habit: I can’t get my smoothie from a drive through and know exactly what is in it, so I’m forced to make it at home. I get home from work, put my veggies and fruit in my bullet, blend, and drink that down. Now I have a healthy ritual that also saves me money.smoothie habit

2. Regular Workouts: Workouts are good for your body, but Dang! That is a time consuming process. Get into workout clothes, do workout, cool down/stretch, shower, wet hair problems…When all is said and done, I’ve used up at least an hour of time during which I could have been out spending money.

3. Alcohol Abstinence: Refraining from alcohol during this time frame has probably had the biggest impact on my overall health. I sleep better, keep a routine, my skin looks better, and I’m less bloated. To top it all off, I’m not spending money on overpriced drinks!

4. Sound Sleep and Lots of It: When I’m exercising and eating well, I not only sleep better but am able to maintain a consistent sleep pattern as well. Plus, I need that extra sleep to help my body recover from my own personal version of hell—leg days.  More sleepy time means fewer opportunities for exhaustion-induced mindless spending.

sleepy time

5. Packing Lunch: When you are hard core watching every bite you put in your mouth, the very idea of trying to navigate a restaurant menu or convenience store while in a pinch over your lunch break is too overwhelming to take on. I’d much rather throw some tuna and an apple in a lunch box and call it a day. Clearly, I lead a glamorous life.

6. Drinking Water: If I’m hitting my daily water-chugging goals, there is little room for any other beverages, and that means I have ended my 3 o’clock dates with the Diet Coke vending machine at work.

7. Social Activities: Most healthy social engagements also fall into the low-cost category, so that has been double fist-pumping victory for me lately—Here’s to you hiking, biking, going on walks, and having a picnic.

walking

That 1-2 punch of knowing that I’m helping my body and my bank account when I walk past vending machines, skip that second beer, or hit the sack early really helps me stay on track with my healthy habits. Does anyone else feel the same way, or am I really stretching (pun alert!) to find reasons to stay on that healthy bandwagon? In addition to monetary accomplishments, what else motivates you to stay on track?

Follow us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter!

Follow on Bloglovin

 Brittany

 

This post is partying with Sarah Titus and Frugal Friday Link Up,  Thrifty Thursday at Living Well Spending Less, and *Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Autoimmune-Protocolling Around the World*

How to Stay Sane and Maintain Friendships while Living on a Budget

Sometimes when you are fighting tooth and nail to get out of debt or save a large amount of money for a future expense, such as a down payment on a house or college tuition, your intensity takes you across a fine line, and your healthy determination becomes an unhealthy obsession. If—okay, okay, WHEN—this happens you have to take a step back and remove your blinders because money is just money, and being a miser not worth losing out on relationships and monumental occasions with your friends and family.

We all know that being financially fit is an important part of survival in today’s world, but there are other parts of life that are just simply MORE important. When you feel yourself over-stressing about monetary situations that are minor blips on the radar of life, fearing that your friends have forgotten you exist due to your new hobby of hermit-ing (pretty sure that’s a word I just made up), or shaming yourself for the lack of love you’ve been sharing with others, it’s useful to have strategies to get yourself back on track to living a life you love—and keeping your relationships with your peeps alive and well.

Just because you are “on a budget” does not mean you are destined to eat Ramen alone every night. There are some ways that you can make sure you keep a level head about money matters, maintain positive relationships with your friends and family, and continue to share love with your peeps no matter what kind of budget you are following.

word art

1. Brainstorm a list of your current life priorities, and put them in order. When you see that money isn’t at the top of the list, you can motivate yourself to quit acting like it is.

priority

Money can buy you things, but consciously examining your life priorities reminds you it’s not the only path to a full life. Don’t let yourself forget that!

2. After you master the art of saying “no” every once in awhile, make sure you balance that out by saying “yes” every once in awhile too. When you first start picking and choosing which activities or items to spend money on, it can be difficult to walk away without forking over dough. After a little time has passed and you begin to notice progress with your finances, it gets easier to say “no”, and you might find yourself having trouble saying “yes”. Make sure you stay involved in activities and relationships at the top of your priority list because these are the best parts of life.

photo credit: www.capescoaching.wordpress.com

photo credit: www.capescoaching.wordpress.com

3. Talk to people. The gift of gab…never. stops. giving.

talking on the phone

photo credit: www.elephantjournal.com

4. Share what you can. If your budget doesn’t allow you to dole out the big bucks to frequently treat your friends or family to the finer things in life, make a valiant effort to make the best of what you have and give what you can. Invite them over for home cooked dinner or lend them your favorite shade of nail polish. Stumble upon a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for an item you only need one of? Shop with your friend, and share the wealth. Get a promo code via email that you aren’t going to be able to use? Go ahead and forward that to a near and dear who will. When it comes to sharing, think outside of the box and give what you can. Others will appreciate it, and you will enjoy it.

cupcakes

If someone gives you half a dozen cupcakes, give four or five to your friends.

5. Plan activities that aren’t expensive. Who says your only social interactions have to revolve around buying food, drinks, or clothes? Nobody—that’s who! Take the reins, and set up wallet-friendly fun like brunch at your place, going for a walk or hike, cheering on your alma mater in a sporting event, or chatting while your dogs go wild at the dog park.

taking reins

Hiking the Bell Trail in Sedona, AZ was free and exhilarating.

6. Cut yourself a little slack. Whenever I feel like I’m not doing as well as I wish I was—with money, relationships, just being a good human in general—I remind myself that my (perceived) “failure” probably isn’t a very big deal in the whole scope of my life or anyone else’s for that matter. And please know that “I remind myself,” is actually code for, “usually after about five rounds of beating myself up over something insignificant..I remind myself”. Everyone is their own worst critic. If you feel like you messed up or aren’t meeting the standards you have set for yourself, you have to let it go and find a way to move forward. If you can’t do that, you just get stuck.

When you start to feel defeated about money or life, try to see yourself from your dog's point of view.

When you start to feel defeated about money or life, and all else fails–try to see yourself from your dog’s point of view.

 For more information about how to start making progress on getting out of debt or gaining control of your finances, check out our Getting Started tab at the top of our page.

Follow us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter!

Follow on Bloglovin

 Brittany

 

 

 

 

Healthy Staples for Less than $25 a Week

On Sunday, I went to grocery store and spent just under $25 on all of this, which is enough to feed my fiance and I for a week. Read on to see how you can spend about between $25 and $50 per week to keep your healthy habits a priority without wasting money.

On Sunday, I went to grocery store and spent just under $25 for all of this, which combined with our stocked staples, is enough to feed my fiance and I for a week. Read on to see how you can spend between $25 and $50 per week to keep your healthy habits a priority without wasting money (or food)

Through trial and error I have learned that there are THREE cardinal rules when it comes to consistently keeping healthy meals on the table without upping your grocery spending.  I am SO happy to share these rules because they also debunk one of the biggest myths out there regarding healthy eating (which also happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves). The next time you hear someone say, “I want to eat healthy, but it’s just too expensive,” you can flick them on the forehead, and then refer them to this website because they are wrong. Sometimes keeping healthy foods in your diet is more time consuming or more laborious—yes, making a smoothie with fresh ingredients is more time consuming than cruising through a drive through and picking one up—but labeling healthy eating as “too expensive” is a farce. Here are three steps you can take to make sure $25 affords you the healthy essentials you need to get through the workweek.

STEP ONE: Know What You Have

Before hitting the store I take inventory of the staples we have in our pantry and refrigerator so I know what we can use as the basic backbones of our meals and if there is any item we need to replace during a particular week. I try to only pick up 1-3 of these items per grocery trip because they are usually pricier.

Backbones

STEP TWO: Know what’s about to go Bad

 Before hitting the store I also take inventory on all fresh produce and leftover meat that needs to be used soon in order to avoid the garbage disposal. I do this for two reasonsFirst, I will either need to buy more, and second, I might need to grab other items from the store to compliment the needs-to-be-consumed-sooner-rather-than-later items that are already sitting in our fridge.

Here is an example of my need-to-use-soon inventory from this past weekend’s grocery trip

Here is an example of my need-to-use-soon inventory from this past weekend’s grocery trip

STEP THREE: Create a Specific List of what you Need to Buy and a Rough Weekly Meal Plan

Once I know what basic backbone foods we have and what food items are about to go bad or have completely vanished from our refrigerator since our last trip to the store, I sit down and simultaneously create a ROUGH meal plan and grocery list for the week. I say “rough” because we never exactly stick to it, but it does help us save money by wisely using leftovers to create different meals that don’t leave my fiance completely bored and begging for “something different”. For example, if we have grilled chicken and baked potatoes on Monday, it makes perfect sense to shred the leftover chicken to make some delicious oven fajitas on Tuesday.

A sample of how we take our meals day by day to get the most out of our budget and our grocery items.

A sample of how we take our meals day by day to get the most out of our budget and our grocery items.

Based on the two lists from Step 1 and Step 2 and the food items I purchased for less than $25 (pictured at the very top of the post), I created the above meal plan above to get us through the work week! Easy as 1-2-3 and less expensive than one night of ordering pizza and garlic bread :)

Healthy eating myth debunked!!

Follow us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter!

Follow on Bloglovin

 Brittany

Frugal Fitness Rave: Tone It Up

tone it up

Confession: I am a Bravoholic. If you are one of those of people that spend their free time doing things that make the world a better place, I should probably define that term for you.  A  Bravoholic is a person who is addicted to the (mostly) mindless reality TV series found on the Bravo network and also has a special place in his/her heart for the mega-genius Andy Cohen. Most of the shows are appealing to me because they are a COMPLETE escape from anything related to my life, but when I started seeing promotions for a new show called Toned Up that was premiering in January I was instantly counting down the days until I could start watching…and then I was hooked.

After watching a couple of episodes—and getting inspired by Karena’s arms and Katrina’s tush—I decided to get online and see what their brand had to offer. What I discovered was an awesome resource for any active (and financially restrained) girl who is looking for total body or target-toning moves, as well as several other fitness and health related resources like nutrition plans, recipes, and lifestyle tips.

 My Top 5 Favorite FREE Fitness Videos brought to you by Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up

1. Brand Spankin’ New Booty Routine

Brand Spankin New Booty

2. Love Your Arms and Abs

Love your arms and abs

3. Love your Total Body

LOve your total body

4. Love your Abs

Love your abs

5. Aloha Thighs and Waistline (this link will actually take you to two separate videos, but they are on the same webpage so make sure you scroll all the way down)

thighs and waistline

I only listed my 5 favorite FREE strength training videos to pair with my cardio routine, but if you head over to their website, www.toneitup.com, you can find links to more information about fitness, recipes, lifestyle, and nutrition programs. Plus they are cute, fun, and obviously huge supporters of girls feeling and looking good about themselves. If you are frugal and a fitness fanatic, you really need to check these two out!  

We want to know: have you watched the show, tried the workouts, or signed up for their programs?

Follow us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter!

Follow on Bloglovin

 Brittany

Exercise for Your Life and Budget

Brittany did an awesome post about staying fit without shelling over precious, hard earned money toward a gym or studio. Brittany is also lucky enough to live in an area where you can workout outside all year long.  Unfortunately, people who live in an area where it’s cold, dark, and snowy for several months out of the year need a play to maintain or increase their fitness level during those dark and dreary months. This post lays out various options – free or pricey – that works for your fitness needs.

1.  Home Workouts: Many women can get exactly what they need to fulfill their health and fitness goals from their own living rooms. Workout DVD’s (I love anything Jillian Michaels), fitness apps, a treadmill and some weights will allow you to sweat it out without spending money (and guilt) on a gym membership. When the season is right, running or working out outside feels amazing!

Cons: If you’re the kind of person that can’t hold yourself accountable and your living room is just not the place that you feel you can push yourself, this plan is not for you.

My Plan: It’s beginning to get dark and cold in the morning and afternoon, making it hard to run outside. Since I’m no longer training for a marathon, I’m focusing on light weight circuits that incorporate cardio. Jillian Michaels and personal circuit workouts could give me exactly what I’m looking for to maintain my fitness level. I have also been shopping online for used treadmills. I love watching exactly what I want on TV while running on the treadmill.

Selfie

My awesome selfie after completing a great Jillian Michaels’ No More Trouble Zones DVD in my living room.

2.  Yoga/Pilates Studios: I have never been a long-term customer of a yoga or Pilates studio, but I have utilized a free or inexpensive workout deal here and there (thank you, groupon). I’m not a huge yoga person, so spending over $30/month to participate in yoga classes a few times a week is not my cup of tea. If yoga or Pilates is your heart and soul and main source of exercise, $30/month would be a great way to spend your money.

Tip: A lot of yoga and Pilates studios offer a discounted month trial.  Go for it! It may change your life! Groupon is also a great way to trial some classes for a discounted price.

My Plan: I will be dipping my toes in the yoga pool (as a post marathon gift to my tight running muscles) by taking advantage of a local yoga studio’s 2 week discounted trial.

Exercise Yoga

3.  Local Gym: I’m thinking of a gym like Gold’s Gym. These gyms are typically around $30/month.  Included is cardio equipment, various fitness classes, and a variety of weights. This is actually another plan (besides the home workout) I’m looking into now.  If you’re not fortunate enough to live in a climate where you can workout outside all year round (I’m looking at you, Brittany), this is a good 4-5 month option. This way, you can run and cross train when it’s dark and cold in the morning or when it’s dark and cold at night.

AVOID: Feeling inspired and ready to increase your fitness level, you run over to your local gym, sign up for a few months at the gym…and never go. If you KNOW you’re going to utilize a gym AT LEAST 3 days/week consistently, go for it.  If not, buy a couple DVDs.

My Plan: I’m taking advantage of my local Gold’s Gym’s two week free trial to see if I will take advantage of their group fitness classes and cardio equipment.

Exercise Golds Gym

4.  CrossFit: I have to include this. Not only is this really hot right now, but I love it.  I was a member of a CrossFit gym for a year or so during graduate school.  This particular gym had a great family atmosphere and it kicks your ASS! I was always so motivated to go to classes, loved my workout partners, and got in great shape.

Cons: I have a tendency to put on muscle pretty easily; therefore, CrossFit beefed me up without incorporating enough cardio (yes, CrossFit workouts are great cardio, but I’m a runner – I’m looking for AT LEAST 60 min. of cardio).  I was looking to lean out instead of bulk up.  The other MAIN factor of my not joining a CrossFit gym is price. When I moved to Kansas City  I couldn’t find a monthly membership for under $100. That’s just not in my budget right now.

My Plan: I create several circuit workouts based on what I learned at CrossFit, allowing me to reach my fitness goals without spending the money.  I REALLY miss my workout friends though! You can also find some groupons for CrossFit classes. Sometimes you can find enough deals to last the whole winter at various gyms at a discounted price.

  CrossFit

Remember: The best choice for you is just that…for YOU! If you can’t workout at home due to lack of self-motivation, don’t do it! If you know you won’t utilize a gym, don’t spend the money on it.  If you’re not sure if you’d be into yoga or CrossFit, don’t buy a year membership just to try it.  Most gyms have trial periods.  My advice is to make some short and long term fitness goals and utilize various trial periods to shop around and see what works best for you, your goals, and your lifestyle.

Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Follow on BloglovinSam

The Anti-Gym Membership: AFFORDABLE YOGA

Taking care of my body and mind is a top priority in my life, and yoga is one of the best ways that I accomplish this daunting feat. I love, love, LOVE yoga. It packs the one-two punch of quieting my mind and tightening my body simultaneously. In the world of a busy 26 year old girl, multi-tasking is invaluable. I want to come home from work and clear my mind, but I also want dance on the weekend with assurance that I’ve got more moves than my arm jiggle.  Yoga helps me sleep well at night, strengthens my core (goodbye back pain), decreases bloat, and keeps me mentally sane (which is important if you want to build and maintain healthy relationships with people). Unfortunately, everything comes with a price—and the price of a yoga membership is too high for me.  My goal for this post is to help you see that while there are positive aspects of attending a yoga class at a studio, there are also good reasons to exercise your yoga practice as a free agent.

Price: Monthly memberships to yoga studios typically fall between $95 and $150.  This means that having access to a yoga studio with a “real” teacher could cost you between $1,000 and $1,500 a year.

However, there are many yoga apps now that cost less than $5.00, and DVDs can be bought for less than $15.00.  You could purchase a variety to keep you entertained and meditating for the entire year using less money you would spend on one month’s membership at a yoga studio!

*Cost includes purchase of yoga mat

*Cost includes purchase of yoga mat. Also note that the “per year” price reflects the “discounts” that are sometimes offered when consumers buy a larger package, such as a 3 month or 1 year membership.

Scheduling:  When your yoga practice takes place at a yoga studio, classes and times are set. You will need to adjust your life to fit their schedule. You might buy a monthly pass and feel good about the price because you have promised yourself that you will go to class five times a week. Easy enough—but sometimes trying to mesh your life and all its components with the studio’s set schedule becomes a stressor in itself. What happens when the only class time that works for you is also the time that you were going to meet your girlfriends for happy hour, have dinner with your boyfriend, go to that concert you’ve been dying to see, or tailgate with your friends? If you don’t go to yoga class, you feel like you are wasting your money, but if you do go to class you might be missing out on some other really great parts of your life.

However if you are a free agent yogi, class happens whenever and wherever you want it to happen. You also have the option of practicing alone or inviting your friends to join you! This eliminates all potential for schedule-related stress, and you will likely be able to practice yoga more frequently and have more money left over at the end of the month to put anywhere you please!

How to Create your own Yoga Environment: You can build your own yoga studio anywhere using only three items: a yoga mat, a reflection (optional but I’ve found it helps me with my form—use a mirror or glass door—get creative!), and an instructor of your choice—DVD, app, fitness OnDemand, routine found in your favorite fitness magazine, or a talented friend—could all act as your teacher. If you need some recommendations, my favorite DVD is Body By Bethenny, and my favorite app is Yogastudio. Both provide me with a great out-of-studio yoga experience, and in case you are worried about my intentions, nobody is paying me for praise. I simply love using them and do so on a weekly basis.

Over the years I have successfully chair-posed and backbent in small apartments, my dorm room, basements, and patios. Right now it is over 100 degrees in my backyard, and my patio has become my sweaty yoga oasis.

Over the years I have successfully chair-posed and backbent in small apartments, my dorm room, basements, and patios. Right now it is over 100 degrees in my backyard, and my patio has become my sweaty yoga oasis.

Remember that we are all different, and it’s likely that each of us will find the most happiness in our own unique yoga environment. I know that I can’t have a phone within eyesight, and feel better if I flow outside. The key is to learn what works best for you, and find a way to make that environment your personal yoga studio reality.

Compromise: For those of you that love the atmosphere of being in the studio with an instructor and can’t stay out of there forever, compromise with your wallet. Many yoga studios will offer daily deals, new member specials, and Groupon features. If you value this experience, take advantage of the deals when they are happening. You can join class every once in awhile without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.

Namaste

Brittany