Anyone who’s ever been to uni or known a uni student will know one thing: we are always broke. No matter how much we work or how little buy, we never have money. So being at uni for two years and living out of home for two and half years (on the complete other end of the country to my family), I have become quite good at being broke.
I’ve learnt how and where to cut my spending so I save almost a third of my fortnightly income, every fortnight. Let’s begin with the obvious…
What are you are spending your money on?
My biggest tip to work this out isn’t just to think about it for five minutes and move on. Actually go through your last month’s bank statement and write it down everything you’ve spent money on (every. single. thing. No cheating because you don’t want to acknowledge that you spend $50 a week on nuggets).
Now, get your diary or a planner and write out anything that is direct debited out of and into your account for the next two weeks (think gym payments, private health insurance, loan repayments and even your income from work) on the days they come out.
Here comes the hard part…. Think of how much play money you want for that two weeks (for emergency coffee’s or whatever) and halve it. Yep. Halve it. Take that amount out in cash and stash your cards away for two weeks.
Now I know what you’re thinking; ‘but I need my card for emergencies’. Bulls**t (in the politest way possible). What actual emergencies are you going to come across where you need access to all of your money right then and there? None. Its comfort for you, that’s all.
For the next two weeks every time you go to spend your pocket money and you see it slowly dwindling with every purchase you will start to second guess your unnecessary purchases which is annoying to start with, but then you realise where your money is being wasted.
Do this for two weeks and see how you go. You might realise that your pocket money was actually enough for you which is great! Keep going. Or you might realise you only need another $10 to get you through a fortnight without going insane. Keep going. I promise you will save money.
Lastly! Try not to over budget just so that you 'don’t go over'. For example: don’t budget $400 for groceries when you’re a single person who only usually spends $80 a week on food. That’s just silly. Go as strict as you can to start with and see if you can do it. Then allow yourself more money where you need it.
I have become a pro at cutting out anything unnecessary. Seriously, I don’t get my nails done, my hair gets cut twice a year if I’m lucky, I probably go out for drinks three or four times a year and eating out is only for special occasions. If you want to save for something you really have to cut back anything that is unnecessary. The more you can cut back, the less time you need to budget so strictly so really try your best!
Another area I think I’ve mastered (in terms of spending as little as possible) is groceries.
When my boyfriend and I started living together (almost two years ago) I helped him with his budget. I told him that we could make our weekly food budget $100 between us ($50 each) and still eat health-ily (is that even a word?). Did he believe me? No. Did we do it? YES! Even better, about three months ago I decided to try and get that figure lower and increase our healthy food intake…. Do you think I was able to do it? Heck yes I was! And I still am doing it to this day.
Our weekly groceries now cost us $70-$80 between us (a tiny $35-$40 each a week on groceries).
For me (and for almost everyone else in the world), the Christmas period was all about overindulging in yummy food and a few too many drinks with friends and family. In the first few days or 2017 I heard of the ‘Microbiome Diet’ so I thought I’d do a bit of research to see what it was all about. I wasn’t actually looking for a diet to start, I think I just wanted to feel a bit healthier by looking into health related articles (slightly sad, I know). Through researching the microbiome diet, I learned about kombucha.
I had never heard of kombucha before and I wasn’t sure it would be as nice as people on the internet made out. Tea isn’t my thing at all - I’ve only just started drinking green tea and even that took me a few goes at convincing myself I liked it – so I figured I wouldn’t like kombucha. Plus, the whole idea of drinking something that ferments with a weird, mushroom looking thing that’s alive didn’t sound overly inviting to me at all. But the more I read about kombucha, the more I wanted it to be something incorporated into my diet for all the amazing health benefits… so I just prayed that it tasted good as I headed to my local health food store.
It. Was. Amazing. So deliciously light and fizzy and the one I tried had such a nice flavor. I knew I had to learn how to make it.
Fast forward a few weeks and I’m ready to make my first batch. I’ve bought a big glass jar, two glass bottles (one litre each) and tomorrow I’ll be picking up my SCOBY.
I have recently been given a Fruit Ninja by my boyfriend’s brother. He said his reason for giving it away was this:
‘I found myself having way too much fruit (in smoothies) – sometimes up to 8 pieces of fruit first thing in the morning’.
I have always loved a good juice or smoothie but I am cautious of having too much sugar (I mean natural sugar – I always avoid refined sugar). There is also the Australian recommendation of 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day, which got me thinking…
Can I make smoothies that are more vegetables than fruit, without going overboard on the amount of veges/fruit in them and without them tasting like lawn clippings?
Through trial and error, my answer is YES!
Here are some of my favourite, healthy smoothie recipes for you to try and hopefully love as much as I do.
PS. I make my smoothies for my boyfriend and I, so if you want to make one serve, simply halve the amounts of each ingredient or if you have icy-pole makers, use the second serve to make your own healthy icy-poles.
Blue Avo (not weird I swear)
One quarter of an avocado
One tablespoon of natural Greek yogurt
Handful of blueberries
Half a banana
Half an apple
Five ice cubes
* You can add water as necessary if you want a runnier consistency
Blend until creamy and delicious!