Budgeting tips

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Budgeting, is a must if you want to get anywhere with your finances. I am not a financial advisor, actually far from it. I am more like one of those people who have to consciously make an effort not to spend all my hard earned dollars on clothes and shoes! Often I hear from clients that getting fit and eating healthy costs too much money. Of course if you are budgeting and trying to save you want to get fit and healthy without it costing you the bank. Over this past year I have really looked into how I can cut back on my spending in this department so I can save money.

Save money by reducing your spending

For me the things I spend the most on is training, races, clothing, and groceries. Lets tackle the easiest thing first, reducing my spending on clothing. I have developed a mantra for when I go out shopping “No impulse buys”, which I repeat to myself over and over, till I eventually walk away. My worst impulse buys usually start off as an innocent run down to the shops to grab milk. It was even worse when I used to teach aerobics classes in gyms situated in shopping centres. I would workout, teach my class and because I felt so good and didn’t feel like driving home yet,  I would go down stairs and walk around Westfield shopping centre on late night shopping night. The result being- I owned an excessive amount of clothing that I didn’t need.

Last month, I also told my boy friend to ask me “do you really need that?” whenever I am thinking about buying something. I did this on purpose, because I know this question makes me think. It sends me into a spiral of thoughts about if I would (A) use the product or (B) how would it feel to see my bank account drained of that money. Thats enough to make me stick to my goals and walk away empty handed.

If you need an extra hand with budgeting and tips to save money, I found this website which was designed by the Australian government to help people out with their finances. There are lots of useful tools; budgeting planners, savings calculators and even ways to save money on a wedding.

My next big goal over the next few years is saving money for a deposit on a house, paying off my dreaded study debt and getting married. That’s a lot of money! At least with the trackers and exercises on the website I have now forecasted how much to save and a realistic time frame on how long it will take. It got me thinking, how can I save more money on my training and groceries, my next two biggest spends.

Budgeting & saving tips for exercise training

Now this is a huge decision for me, I have always owned a gym membership since I was 17years old. From the ages 20-27 I never had to pay for a gym membership because I worked in the gym. Over the past couple of years however, I have been forking out a monthly payment and this year I have been paying for triathlon coaching too. That’s a lot of cash!

Getting rid of my gym membership gave me a saving of $56 a month or $672 a year. Due to my new interest in Triathlon and attending squad training sessions 4 days a week, I find I have only been using my gym membership 3x week for roughly 20-30min. Frankly I don’t think it’s worth it, and saving that money is tempting.

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Like most people I have accumulated a garage that is full of gym equipment, this is also the bits and bobs I used to use to train clients down at the local park. With a few more items, I could have a fully operational gym. So that’s exactly what I did.

I searched trading sites like gum tree and Ebay to find used gym equipment, turns out exercising at home is more convenient and a time saver. I get to be my own DJ and I don’t have to change my workout because the equipment I want to use is occupied. I can also pat my dog and spend time with him during my workouts.

Save money by eating left overs

The grocery bill is a common money sink most families and singles struggle with. I will confess, I am a sucker for the latest and greatest ingredients. I love all the gourmet expensive ingredients quinoa, olives, antipasto and kale. But with $5 here, $4 there you’re soon looking at 3 small shopping bags costing more than $150! It truly is a crime. This week I vow to not go grocery shopping saving that = $150. Now I am not advocating that you starve, let me explain.

I do this at least once every 2-3months, when I have accumulated too many ingredients in the cupboard I feel guilty that I’m hoarding so much food. I call this the Armageddon week. It’s a week set aside every month to eat through left over bits and pieces, and tinned goods you didn’t use.

If you’re one of those house holds with multiple cereal boxes all half used, why don’t you mix them together and make something new and exciting?

This is my creation Kellogg’s bran topper, Macro muesli, Barley Max Goodness foods rolled oats and barley with left over trail mix. When I mixed them all together it made a delicious cereal I was very happy with.

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Budgeting meal ideas for lunch

Planning main meals on leftover bits and pieces is a lot harder. Here is an example of an Armageddon week lunch. I cooked up the remainder of some left over quinoa, I opened up a can of tuna I bought in bulk on sale last week for 99c each and coupled this up with left over frozen peas.

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One quick saving tip is buy tuna and salmon tins in bulk when they go on sale. They are perfect for the on-the-go snack or protein before training. It’s a high protein food that can help with your training recovery because of the omega-3 content.

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As for the next few dinners ill be having turkey loaf and veggies. This recipe is super “el cheapo”, but also healthy. I usually buy turkey mince for $4 for 500g, it’s the cheapest mince and it’s low in fat compared to beef mince.

To make my healthy turkey loaf, I used my left over ½ cup rolled oats, 6 eggs from the fridge, mince and BBQ sauce. We had 3 cartoons of eggs accumulating in the fridge. This is what happens when you don’t shop with a list! I also had an almost empty bottle of BBQ sauce I used to decorate the top or you can also use sweet chilli sauce. Boil 4 of the eggs. Put the rest of the ingredients put in a bowl and mix! Oven bake for 30min, serve with steamed frozen veggies. Food waste, wastes money! Get on to this food storage issue before you throw your money in the trash.

Save money by budgeting your cooking time

Another tip is to try to cook only a few days a week. Personally, I only cook twice a week. When I do cook though, I make a few big dishes in bulk. This may be a bit more difficult for large families. Instead of cooking meals in bulk it may be an idea to make pasta sauces, soups and casseroles on the weekend, to save time and money.

I make a few dishes to eat fresh or refrigerated and a dish to freeze. This saves time, but also saves on your power bill. Electric stove stops chews through energy and is one of the biggest contributors to expensive power bills. Your fridge is also an energy sink hole. These days most households have 2-3 fridges, which is crazy when you think about the amount of money wasted in electricity and how much food is sitting and storing in 3 fridges. You don’t need that much food on hand every day. In most suburban areas, the grocery store is literally a 5 minute drive away. You will not starve with just a single fridge.

I hope this got you thinking about how to be more savvy with your hard earned cash. Do you have anymore ideas on budgeting to make healthy living cheap?

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