Many of us would like to shape up and adopt a healthier lifestyle, but it is not just a lack of willpower that is holding us back. A large proportion of people feel that the associated expense is preventing them from achieving their goals.
However, there are ways to maintain a nutritious diet, create an effective exercise regime and treat minor ailments without breaking the bank. This means that, even if you are facing debt solutions, you can ensure the wellbeing and happiness of yourself and your family.
Many people turn to fast-food restaurants, takeaways and ready meals, since they tend to be the quick and convenient option. Some consumers are also of the opinion that they are cheaper than the alternative, but choose your ingredients wisely and this is simply not the case.
When it comes to deciding what to make, you don’t need to spend a fortune building a library of cookbooks. Simply pick one up from your local library, or access the abundance of healthy and nutritious recipes on websites like BBC Good Food.
Don’t spend a fortune on fancy equipment either – you can usually get by without a particular size of cake tin or a food processor. If not, you can always avoid these recipes and try something else.
Nor is there any need to pick up expensive ingredients that you will only use once. There are plenty of delicious recipes that use the foods you could find at the corner shop, although your local market is likely to be the best bet for cheap produce.
Think about utilising cheap ingredients, such as offal, when creating dishes. Many of these foods are avoided due to fashion rather than taste, so you shouldn’t be shy about giving more affordable produce a try.
You can find plenty of information online about creating a balanced diet for you and your loved ones, with the NHS Change4Life site being a particularly useful resource. There are even shopping tips which allow you to save money at the checkout.
When people think about getting in shape, they visualise hours on the treadmill and an expensive gym membership. However, improving your fitness doesn’t have to mean going to a leisure centre – you can work out your whole body without spending a penny.
The NHS recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. In order to achieve this, you could walk quickly to and from work – this could even save you money on transportation. You could also go hiking or cycling.
You should also complete muscle-strengthening activities twice per week. Exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, tricep-dips and lunges are all fantastic, and they work out different parts of the body. Heavy gardening will also help you to improve your condition.
Get the kids’ heart rate up by encouraging them to run and play outside with their friends. You could also take them to the local park to use the monkey bars and climbing frame, or see if there are any free after-school sports programmes.
If you’re in the pharmacist with a headache or a child with an upset stomach, it’s likely that you’ll reach for the product that claims to work quickly and more effectively. Branded packets tend to be more eye-catching, and make some impressive claims.
However, the generic drugs, which tend to be far cheaper, usually work in exactly the same way. The same goes for products such as plasters and bandages, so make sure to compare prices before making a purchase.
If you have a prescription, you may be able to make savings by finding out whether you are eligible for financial aid. For example, women can receive free medication throughout the pregnancy by signing up for a maternity exemption certificate or card (Matex).
Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants and other welfare recipients, under-18s in full-time education and pensioners may also be eligible for free prescriptions. Information about entitlement is detailed on the NHS Choices website.
People who are on a number of drugs could benefit from a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), which works like a season ticket. Patients who need two items per month could save around £70 by signing up for an annual PPC. Ask your doctor for more information.
Stef went through a Debt Management Plan with the help of debtfreedirect.co.uk after losing control of her finanaces and getting into large amounts of debt, she now writes articles based on her experience in the hope of helping other people avoid getting into the situation she was in.