How to get healthier, fitter and save money all at the same time

In our guide to getting healthier, fitter and save money all at the same time, we will give you some simple tips about how you can change you life for the better, get fitter and healthier while saving cash all at the same time. Too many of us focus on selecting one lifestyle change we will attempt in the New Year, like giving up smoking, but why not go the whole hog and give your life a health, fitness and money audit all at the same time? Read on for a few simple tips on changing your life for the healthier, better, richer and fitter!

Cancel expensive gym memberships and use the great outdoors

The great outdoors is so beautiful, but we rarely appreciate its full beauty. Even when we pay to work out we cut ourselves off from the great outdoors to sweat it out indoors. This year you could quite easily ditch the expensive gym membership which comes out of your bank whether you go to the gym or not, and use the local park as a substitute gym. You can use the walkways as a running track, the park benches as a support for doing arm dips and you can bring your yoga mat to do a few stomach crunches on the grass. There are many things you can do to increase your heart rate like jumping up and down or doing sprints so any kind of workout is just an open mind away! Use the money you save in a positive way: to buy a relaxing holiday or to kickstart your own startup project (check out the business funding guide here for more info on this.)

to avoid the need to get business loans or finance to start the business of your dreams!

Walk, don’t drive

Walking is a great habit and it does not cost anything so why don’t we all walk more? Walk to work, walk to the shops, walk anywhere! The trick to making walking work for you is to plan extra time in your day for the walk and learn to enjoy walking. Bring the doggie with you and see how much he appreciates getting out!

Ditch expensive habits

Ditching expensive habits is a great way to get fitter, healthier and to save money all at the same time. Perhaps the best change you can make in this vein is to give up smoking. Giving up drinking is another way to guarantee a healthier, fitter and richer you in 2014. A great way to survive the ‘giving-up’ process is to chart your progress and give yourself credit for the progress you have made. If you fail, start again, and see how far you go in six months. Too many people have an all or nothing approach which they ditch when they get a knock-back.

If ditching is too extreme, reduce unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking

Ditching is a dirty word for some of us who are really hooked, so instead of choosing between ditching and going all out in indulge mood, why don’t we just aim to reduce our unhealthy habits? So smoke one less cigarette a day, or have one less bottle of wine per week? As the saying goes, every little helps!

Get out by debt by working towards your next promotion

Do you dread Monday mornings and yearn for Friday night every week? In his lifetime, the average man spends a solid total of eleven and a half years at work but only 115 days laughing. As such a massive proportion of time spent alive, we need to make the very best of our careers with the aim to actually love going to work!

You can start right now. If the only thing stopping you from the next promotion is a qualification – get it. If that qualification will cost you money, use your savings, work part time in an easier job or ask for money for your next birthday. It will be worth it. Anna Green (a blogger for the wonga brand) outlines some of the best routes to pursue to achieve your goal.

Open University

A degree is not just a qualification attained in your late teens and early twenties; there are thousands of mature students working towards an Open University degree from home in their spare time. Don’t imagine that student loans are only for the youngsters, they are also available to older students who are in work, depending on their situation. More than one million students in England pay their fees annually with a student fee loan. It doesn’t affect your credit rating and is not means tested. Alumni include Joan Armatrading, Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge, Mylene Klass and Lenny Henry, so you will be in good company.

Mind Tools

Mind Tools is a website established in 1996 which helps more over 15,000,000 people every year with leadership skills, problem solving, time management, communication and a wide range of other tools to improve your potential. They can help make your working life happier, increase your chances of that promotion or even give the boost to help you change career direction. It’s a membership only site which costs 75p for the first month, then £12 or £17 month depending on which level to take up.

Local College

Some employers might allow you to study at college one day a week, or you could find an evening class. This might be to study a subject related to your current career, or something totally different to expand your skill-base or simply for enjoyment. Send off for prospectuses of the colleges in your area to see what they offer.

Clearing your head

Another tool, free this time, includes some help from your partner, close friend or maybe a parent. Turn off the TV, ignore your mobile phone and make yourself comfortable. On a large piece of paper, mark two columns; one for pros and the other cons. Think of at least ten things to put in each column about your current job. Think of the big things (maybe money) and the small things (friends, local pub, good canteen) and you’ll soon realise how much you love or hate your job. On another piece of paper, write down ALL your skills. This could be qualifications, hobbies, personality traits etc. When you’ve done all this, you can work out what job you really could be doing. It’s never too late to change direction, and if it makes you happier, go for it!

Start Investing with $100 or Less

There are a variety of reasons why people may put off investing. These include money, time and fear. Each of these factors is closely related.

You may have a small budget that limits investment choices. Mutual funds, brokerage accounts and even bank CDs often have minimums beyond smaller sums. Juggling a busy schedule may leave little time to research investments and make informed decisions. With little money or information, we may not feel comfortable investing.

Thankfully, there are investments suitable for smaller budgets and time.

Here are a few ideas:

Direct Stock Purchase Plans (DSPP):

Attractive Features of DSPPs include:

  • Low Minimum-often just 1 share is required.
  • Brand Name Companies
  • Easy to Diversify on a Low Budget

Numerous companies offer a direct way for you to buy shares. These are typically brand names with established market positions. As a result, you will likely recognize the company at first glance. You should still make a performance based decision to buy shares, but higher recognition may increase comfort levels.

You can often buy just 1 share of stock to get started. Smaller investors, money managers such as Elliott Broidy or mutual fund companies may all consider DSPPs.

With a limited budget, you can purchase shares of companies in different sectors to easily diversify.

Cons of DSPPs include:

  • Time-you should still research the companies, despite brand names. Note: This is on a relative basis. DSPPs are time efficient compared to more complex choices.
  • Management- You will make the buy and sell decisions.

Mutual Funds:

Benefits of Mutual Funds include:

  • Minimums may be just $50 if you commit to monthly contributions
  • Diversify among asset classes, countries and styles
  • Professional Management
  • Easy Tracking

Several mutual funds offer professionally managed portfolios of stock or bonds with low minimums. Different mutual funds have unique objectives, which can range from American stocks to overseas investing, among others.

A mutual fund also saves you time from having to research stocks and closely follow market conditions.

Cons of Mutual Funds:

  • Little control.
  • May not be cost efficient.

Mutual funds have expense ratios, which vary greatly and affect your returns. Time should be taken to consider upfront and ongoing fees.

Cost efficient choices: Index funds are low cost options that track major benchmarks, such as the S+P 500.

Additionally, mutual funds offer little control, as you are turning decisions over to the manager.

REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts):

Features include:

  • Liquid form of real estate investment
  • Real Estate exposure without owning property
  • Passive income from dividends
  • Prices often move separately from other stocks

Investing in real estate requires capital, market savvy and financing.  For those with limited budgets and time, a REIT offers exposure without owning property.

REITs are publicly traded and can be bought through a discount broker, often with just one share. You can also earn passive income on a monthly or quarterly basis, as REITs pay out money from collecting mortgage interest and rental income.

Since real estate has a negative correlation to stocks and bonds, buying REIT shares can lower risk in your portfolio.

With monthly and quarterly income, REITs offer an additional revenue source. When real estate in the portfolio is sold for a profit, REIT shares can increase in value. Unlike owning real estate, you can sell shares at any time.

Things to consider:

  • Volatility, REITs may have large price swings
  • Real estate should be considered after core investments such as stocks or bonds are made.

Getting Started:

Compounding is incentive to get started now with smaller budget. The above choices allow you to invest based on time horizon, risk tolerance and personal factors.

The Chick Kit

The other day, my friend/employer gave me 2 Altoids tins. She has a ton of them that she uses to make mini kits and uses for storage.

She told me to turn each Altoids Tin into a post for each of my blogs. Apparently, she must think I need to put out more content, since I’ve totally been failing in that department. So here we are.

I had considered decorating the outside of it and making it awesome, but I suck with that craft shit. Sometimes plain-Jane is the way to go; especially when you’re trying to be inconspicuous or whatnot. You know what I’m talking about.

I had also pondered just being a smart ass and posting an image of the Altoids Tin on each blog as a post titled, ‘Altoids Tin.’ Obviously I decided against that idea.

Let me introduce to you The Chick Kit. Stop praising my brilliance, you haven’t even seen it’s contents yet. Silly you.

the chick kit altoids tinAnd once unpacked:

the chick kit altoids tin 2

I tried my best to link to items online (that would be the pink text) in case anybody wanted to make one for themselves or for gifts. Now, onto the contents:

 

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