I thought up this series because BLC & I have decided to try to be a bit more responsible with our money but still wanted to maintain our healthy lifestyles. While I have some knowledge of how to workout & eat for cheap – I definitely don’t have all the answers!
So I asked my fellow Sweat Pink & Girls Gone Sporty Ambassadors for some help. & lemme tell you, they are turning out to be a wealth of knowledge!
I knew that if their tips would help me, they will probably help you, too! & that’s how this series was born! If you are interested in being featured on my Healthy Living on the Cheap series, please email me at email@example.com!
So without further ado…Meet Tammy from Ginger Mantra!
Healthy Living on the Cheap Spotlight #8
I am currently training for my first half-marathon in February, so every day seems to be a new obstacle or struggle, but I am pushing through!
What is your favorite budget friendly meal?
In our home, we love great food on a budget! We are constant lovers of different types of food and we often find ourselves having Mexican dishes at least once per week in different varieties. One of my favorite dishes to make that always allows for lunch left over’s would be my Chicken and Green Chili Enchiladas.
What is your best suggestion for working out on the cheap?
Investing in simple exercise items from a local sporting goods resale shop or your local Wal-Mart may often save on the costly gym fees that may not be available on a strict budget. A simple home-gym setup of an exercise ball, medicine ball, exercise bands, dumbbells and a yoga mat, may be all you need to get a great workout in on a budget. I live in a college town and can often gain access to our football stadium to run ramps or stadium stairs. But, if you don’t have this option available, how about hitting up a tall building with a staircase? I’ve hit the Capitol Building in Tallahassee and climbed all 21 floors during a break from sitting behind my desk at my day job all day. Talk about getting the heart pumping. These simple things can help break up a cardio workout of just hitting the road for a run.
What is your favorite budget-friendly way to relax?
My favorite budget friendly way to relax would be a wilderness campout with my husband that includes some hiking. We love to travel to North Georgia over Thanksgiving which gives us the opportunity to hit Appalachian Trail hiking areas. These kinds of trails with the elevation that North Georgia has to offer are not always available in our low-land Florida. But thankfully for us, we are near some great hiking near the Apalachicola River called Torreya State Park. We have steep heads which allow for some terrain and certainly a good cardio and leg workout for the simple amount of a park entrance fee.
How often do you eat out?
On a budget ourselves along with the love of quality great food, my husband and I often find ourselves eating out less and less. We seem to have become food snobs in search of quality food at a reasonable price. Living in a smaller city, even though the Capital of Florida, it’s often hard to find a good restaurant that can maintain quality and flavor to keep us coming back. That being said, we generally eat out at least once every couple of weeks. From our favorite local wood-fired pizza restaurant to my favorite local lunch spot, it’s money well spent for us when we decide to eat away from home.
If you have a favorite restaurant/fast food joint, what is your go-to meal that is healthy and (relatively) inexpensive?
One of my favorite local “healthy” restaurant options would have to be a place called The Crepevine. You can order breakfast crepes or lunch crepes any time of the day and they also have a few select dessert crepes (which I have never tried myself). My favorite go-to crepe is called The Wobbles, which includes a choice of cheese, 3 fresh veggies and grilled chicken. You choose a “sauce” that you can opt to get on the side, and I love the Cajun Sauce. Lower calorie and full of flavor for just $5! Amazing food when you are on a budget for fast food.
What is your best suggestion for socializing without breaking the bank?
My best suggestion for socializing on a budget would be potluck get togethers. Picking a food theme and having friends bring a dish to share often allows you the socializing arena without the expensive cost of going to a restaurant. If you want to socialize including libations, have people BYOB. Simple selections of blended wines are often less expensive that elaborate high-priced brand name labels. I like to use these types of gatherings to venture out and try new wines and/or beers (my husband is the beer drinker) that may compliment the potluck dishes. Non-drinkers or non-drinking parties, a good blended punch without all the sugars are a great option. My favorite sparkling water is from the brand LeCroix and I love the berry flavored water mixed with Crystal Light for just 60 calories or less depending on your drink choice.
What is your one splurge that you just can’t give up?
I really don’t have a big splurge right now. I used to love to get a massage or pedicure every few weeks. But have found less and less time for myself to plan these around working my day job and working for myself. I hope to get back to them very soon!
How do you keep track of your budget?
I keep track of my budget with an excel spreadsheet. I generally keep track of all scheduled bills at least 6-8 months in advance. Since I get paid from my day job hourly, each month can be different and I only get paid once per month. So knowing and planning ahead for paying bills is imperative especially during the winter months when the holidays are approaching. A chronic last-minute gift giving shopper, I often find these to be the most difficult months to spread my dollars, but making a lot of wallet friendly items from scratch are welcomed and often expected when it comes to gifts from me at the holidays.
What are your top 3 “Best Living on the Cheap?” Tips?
Always have a meal plan. Plan ahead for breakfast, lunch and snacks during the day and also make sure when you make dinners, if you can make them stretch to lunches then you should take advantage of that.
Just for fun – What is the best deal you’ve ever gotten?
My best deal thus far would have to be planning my honeymoon in 2010 and realizing that all my saved SkyMiles were not enough for me to save on any of our travel flights. BUT, in looking into further options available for using SkyMiles, I found that you could use them for not only merchandise, but other travel items like hotel rooms! We took our honeymoon on the West Coast and drove for two weeks from San Francisco to Seattle and one of our stops that we were unsure of where to stay happened to be in Portland, OR. Looking through the hotels and the high cost of downtown Portland, I decided to see what my SkyMiles could get me for a room at the Westin. It happened to be that we were able to get a Master Suite for just 15,000 miles. I was so excited to be able to put the miles to good use and enjoy an amazing night on our honeymoon at the Westin!
Thanks again to Tammy for all of her tips! Definitely head over to her blog, Ginger Mantra, to connect!
For some other Healthy Living on the Cheap Spotlights: