5 things you can do to boost your wellbeing and save money

Wellbeing and money are linked in so many ways. Money troubles can cause poor mental wellbeing. Sustaining good physical wellbeing can sometimes cost a lot of money – think the gym and organic food. Trying to manage wellbeing and money can feel like a juggling act, so we’ve put together 5 ways you can boost your wellbeing and save money!

1. Make a meal plan and bulk cook

The benefits of making a meal plan (and sticking to it!) are huge! A meal plan will ensure you know exactly what you’re eating and when, stopping you from overspending in the supermarket and wasting food. If you can take the extra step and bulk-make your meals in advance you will also save yourself time and money. Often buying ingredients in bulk and then freezing them (pre or post meal prep) is cheaper than buying on an ad hoc basis, meaning you can buy better quality, nutritious foods without having to break the bank. Cooking in bulk is also a more efficient use of your oven’s energy – saving money on those gas and electric bills!

Click here for info on what foods you can freeze and how best to store others, so you can minimise waste and make the most of bulk buying.

2. Eat less meat

Switching to a veggie diet or even adding a few veggie days to your weekly meal plan can have extensive health benefits. From reducing cholesterol and the risk of cancer, to promoting a healthy gut and clear skin, fruit and veg are a key element to an all-round healthy lifestyle. Plus, growing fruit and veg has less of a negative impact on the environment than meat farming. They use less water resources and the farming of fruit and veg emits less greenhouse gases. So, as well as being good for your heath, they are also good for the health of the planet!

And if that wasn’t enough to sway you, fruit and vegetables are much cheaper to buy than meat products, so you can save money and give your body the nutrients it needs.

Check out your nearest farm shop for locally grown produce or visit your supermarket and try where possible to get British grown goods to keep the carbon footprint down 😊 And don’t forget, if you don’t fancy becoming a full-time vegetarian, try just introducing a few veggie days and take it from there!

Check out some easy veggie recipes right here or go one step further and have a go at some vegan recipes!

3. Get some outdoor exercise

Studies show that being outdoors in nature is good for our physical wellbeing, but also our social and personal wellbeing too. Nature and green spaces boost our happiness, improves our social interactions with others and brings us a sense of calm. Whether you live in a rural location or in a town, there are green spaces everywhere. Local parks, woodlands, walking and cycling trails… There’s something for everyone.

So instead of sinking several hours into binge watching Netflix, or confining any exercise you do to the gym or your living room, why not head outdoors for a run, walk or cycle? It could save you money (around £300 a year!) by cancelling a gym membership, so if you’re not making the most of it (anyone else guilty of this?) or you simply want to find a cheaper way to workout, it might be time to switch to the ‘outdoor gym!’ Plus that money saved could be spent on a bike, that could also then double up as sustainable (and free) transport for you! No more paying for a bus pass.

Take a look at this New Year Exercise Plan from the NHS and National Trust, for great ways to use the ‘outdoor gym!’

4. Get a handle on your finances

The links between finances and mental wellbeing are pretty extensive. When feeling low 93% of people are likely to spend more – impulse buys to make themselves feel better. 78% of students say money worries negatively impacts their studies. Financial stresses lead to increased anxiety and poor mental wellbeing. So, it’s very important to have a good understanding of your finances and manage your money correctly.

Use a template to put together a budget plan – include your incomings (wages, student loan, bursaries etc.) then skim off 5-10% from that total and pop it in a savings account. Then minus your essential outgoings (rent, food, bills etc.). What’s left is ‘disposable income’ for socialising, treats and other non-essentials.

If you are struggling money wise, try to find cheaper alternatives to your non-essentials. Love clothes shopping? Check out the charity shops. Fancy a snazzy meal? Get Googling for recipes and turn your hand to a home cooked meal that’s a bit out of the ordinary.

Plus check out this handy page from Save the Student, for budgeting templates, tips on making your money stretch further and more information relating to your finances!

Don’t forget too that you can reach out to the UoG Money Advice service for further support and guidance.

5. Quit bad habits!

Smoking and binge drinking are two unhealthy and expensive habits… They’re also very addictive and quitting can be challenging. But cutting these out are two ways to significantly boost your health and your finances!

We all know the health impacts of smoking, but have you ever done the calculations to see just how much damage it’s doing to your bank balance? Smoking even just 5 cigarettes a day can cost you over £900 a year! So to give your finances a substantial boost and improve your health, have a look at these ways you can quit smoking.

Binge drinking is another expensive habit and is also detrimental for your health and wellbeing. As well as having physical impacts on things like the liver and kidneys, alcohol is also a depressant and can lead to poor mental wellbeing.

Now being a student generally does mean parties and nights out with friends, which often leads to drinks occasionally the dreaded hangover the following day. But small changes in your habits can help you to drink more responsibly and minimise the risk to yourself. Think alternating between an alcoholic drink and water, not going out on an empty stomach and limiting the number of days you drink in a week.

Plus by reducing the amount of alcohol you drink you will save money! £30 a week on nights out totals up to £960 over the academic year but reigning it in can seriously reduce that figure and boost your bank balance.

Check out these suggestions from the NHS for ways to drink responsibly and learn what impacts alcohol can have on your health.

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