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Top Money Saving and Comping Tips from a 21 year-old Student keen to make my limited budget stretch the semester!

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Monday, 11 January 2016

New Years Resolutions: Weight Loss on a Budget

Many people up and down the country and struggling into their second week of New Years Resolutions, wondering how they will make the next 50 weeks. The answer, shake it up a little. But stop. Before you go online and buy books, spiralizers, tablets and many other fad (and expensive) weight loss solutions, think - how can I do this on a budget?

To start with, fad diets are not the way to go. Personally I am very against them for a number of reasons. Not only are they aimed mainly at making money, they are not sustainable and, a lot of the time, they are NOT healthy. For me, if people want to lose weight, it should be in a way that is healthy (read slow and steady, not sudden weight loss) and shouldn't cost you the world. So, for those who are wanting to shed the pounds, without making their wallets lighter, read on!

1) Youtube is Your New Best Friend

Youtube is a wonderful place where I can spend many happy hours. Alas, it is not only cat videos that reside there (yes, really) I use it for maths help, comping inspiration (check out Superlucky Di) and fitness videos! Rather than spending money on fitness DVDs, simply go over to Youtube where you can find all sorts of different exercise videos! This means that if you are in the mood for yoga one day, boxfit the next and crazy dancing the day after, you have all the videos you need! This keeps your fitness more interesting and therefore you are more likely to stick at it! I love to type in 'learn the dance routine for,..' and then my favourite song that's currently stuck in my head (Sax by Fleur East at the moment)! That way you are learning a new dance routine (look out for me in the nightclubs of Glasgow!), having fun and keeping fit at the same time! What's not to like?

2) Bulk it up!

Vegetables are one of the cheapest and healthiest foods you can buy! As I previously mentioned in my baked bean recipes post, I like to bulk up my meals with vegetables. Rice can be bought reasonable cheap, but many people will be trying to cut down on the amount of carbs consumed so I create rice like texture from vegetables. A 'grate' way to do this is to cook slightly less rice and grate carrots or courgette in to bulk it up, or add some peas. This adds colour and flavour to the rice as well as making it less calorific.

Along the same lines, when making mince dishes like bolognese, try adding an extra tin of tomatoes and using oats to soak up that extra liquid, 1/2 a cup should do it but feel free to add more or less depending on what texture you like! This, along with plenty of veggies like carrots, mushrooms and peas will make your mince dishes stretch much further, allowing you to freeze extra portions for another day! Similarly, adding lentils to mince dishes gives it extra flavour without reducing the protein (note that oats have protein too). Both these additions have less fat and are cheaper than just the mince on its own, and bulking out with veggies is a great way to get your 5-a-day in!

3) Explore!

Walking beats the gym on so many levels - the fresh air, seeing new places, catching up with friends and IT'S FREE! Gym memberships can be expensive, especially if you end up not having the time or motivation for it later in the year! Why not try walking first to see if you can shed the weight without the gym membership? If you live in a city like me, there will be so many places you can go! Walking round museums, parks and old churches burns the same calories as if you were walking on a treadmill and the time will fly by so much faster as you will be interested in going to see things! It's a great thing to do with kids as it takes them away from the tablet or computer and can be very educational! If you live in the countryside, well all the better! Doing a quick google search can reveal loads of walks right on your doorstep that you maybe didn't even know about! Map my walk is a great free app that can show you routes other people take and you can log your own route! Call up a friend and see if they want to join you - away from the computer screens and constant wifi of coffee shops, you will be able to have a proper catch up without spending a penny (no temptations overpriced coffee and diet-ruining cake)! Even when its raining me and my friend donned the welly boots and got out there!

4) Soup-er Savings

A great warming lunch, especially over winter, is soup, with or without a good chunk of bread. It's very healthy and, if you use lentils and pulses to bulk it out a bit, it can be protein packed and therefore stop you snacking as much later in the day. Fresh soup can cost a couple of pounds in the shops but I managed to make 9 portions for just £2.57! I used a whole 1kg of carrots (45p), 2 Baking potatoes (25p), 500g red lentils (£1.10), and a bag of value mixed vegetables (77p) and some spices and seasoning to taste along with as much water as you like to make to your desired thickness. This worked out at just 29p per portion- cheaper even than the value canned soups and with much less salt! These other portions can then be frozen for soup any time! One way to make this even cheaper is to pick vegetables that are on the cheap because they are nearing their sell-by date or are going off in your fridge. Once its all cooked and blended together, no one will know! So go on, be adventurous and let me know any delicious budget friendly soup recipes you come up with!

Good luck with your new years resolutions - maybe this way you will be able to join me in my Money Saving New Years Resolution as well as getting healthier. Let me know how you get on by commenting below or tweeting me @LaurieBeat

Love and luck,

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