5 TIPS TO MANAGE YOUR EXPENSES DURING LOCKDOWN

Are you facing financial challenges due to the blight of COVID-19? You know the present-day hardships and seriousness of the situation. You’ve been stood down, your rostered hours are reduced and your business is operating at loss. You want to guard yourself and your family from financial hardship.

You’re certainly working hard to make ends meet since neither of us is born with a silver spoon in our mouth. Though it’s tough at the moment, you firmly believe that hard times are short-lived and that once this hardship is over, wealth will knock your door again.

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Last month, we had various discussions within our family to figure out the most suitable approach for reducing our monthly expenditure, as we wanted to carry out the strategy to save for a rainy day. Though we aren’t the penny pinchers, and neither you, we respect the money we earn.

In this blog post, we brought together for you some tips by which we saved a little over $1000 in the month of March!

1. Avoid shopping luxury items

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A handful of luxury items are those you never regret upon, and you adore them indeed! Though the circumstances have changed, hence you should hold off purchasing luxury items and allow space for saving a few bucks.

Last month, as we thought of shopping three items-a handbag, pair of shoes and a pair of earrings worth of $800 all-inclusive, the circumstances quickly escalated and so, our choices. Though it was a generous deal for us to buy all three items at once on a sale price, we just ended up buying shoes and saved $600 straight! (It’s quite valuable for us).

2. Delaying long-term financial commitments

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Yes, you heard it correct! It was the primary thought popped into our head. Unless you must upgrade to a new mobile phone, or moving into a new house is an absolute necessity, limiting your non-urgent financial commitments will keep your expenses minimum.

We postponed our long-pending plans of upgrading from a Sedan to luxury SUV due to the uncertain situation. We’re quite convinced to purchase the New Mazda CX 9, a luxurious car with generous boot space, perfect for our family of four to travel long road trips. 

Though our plan is yet in place, but some other time.

3. Shop for groceries, sensibly

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You’re sitting pretty and comfortable since you’ve got quite enough stock to feed your family for at least the next two months. However, did you know that you could’ve saved pretty penny if you bought as needed?

Earlier when the panic-buying began, we gave stockpiling a second thought and while the toilet paper panic was in full swing, we stocked only two-weeks of groceries and a few other items as needed. Believe it or not, we saved at least $350-$400 in the last month just by shopping sensibly.

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Though you aren’t stockpiling anymore, it’s a good idea to keep checking your inventory and grab your grocery list to the store to avoid throwing random items into your cart that you often don’t eat.

To get a detailed guide on what to buy, we found an interesting article on CNBC.com HERE.

4. Choose mobile phone plans wisely

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Did you examine the alternatives to manage your mobile phone expense yet? If not, you’re probably under the impression that changing your current plan might save you just a few cents. Frankly speaking, it’s the other way round.

Tailoring mobile phone plan for your present needs will save you a fortune. Last month, we reduced our mobile bill expense by 50%. Wondering how?

Online study and work from home caused a decline in data usage and more reliance on the Wifi connection. We switched our provider to another provider, offering the service perfectly in line with our current needs and saved $50 per month altogether, compared to the $100 each month we paid over the last couple of years! Bear in mind, though you need to do some research to find the most suitable deal for yourself.

5. Restrict restaurant delivered meals

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We’ve been reiterating in our previous posts, that home-cooked meal maintains your weight and body composition. Did you know that you can maximise your savings by getting into the habit of home cooking?

Since the social distancing rules put in place, we’ve been cooking food more often at home. Though, we were astonished to know that home cooking saved our food expense by 60%-it’s quite generous saving and we knew that was achievable!

Here’s how: On average, a home-cooked meal cost us $20, compared to eating out the same meal for $50, saving $30 on average for every meal! And almost $120 every month.

money save GIF by Superfit Foods

The exciting part-remaining food items can be kept and stored for the next meal, consequently saving more bucks in your wallet and leaving you stress free.

Conclusion

Planning your savings is crucial to achieve money goals. With limited opportunity for you to earn extra income due to COVID-19, you can tailor your expenses to suit your needs and circumstances. By avoiding to make financial commitments, cooking at home, holding off expensive items, shopping sensibly and spending carefully on mobile plans, we successfully achieved our savings goal for the big checks when they arrive.

Do you know of the other clever ways that helped to reduce your expenses during the present time? Share your comments below.

We hope this blog was helpful to you. Thank you for reading.

10 BEST TIPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT LOSS AT HOME

Last week, while we were writing to share with you some interesting activities you can do during self-isolation (read more HERE), something was constantly bothering us from inside and that’s crazy!-our health and well-being.

Do we really need coping strategies? Should we slightly change the way we do certain things or do we stick with what we always do? 

Social distancing and self-isolation rules are imposed for good reasons. But with fewer opportunities for us to maintain our physical fitness and more time lying on our favourite couch, sadly we were kind of getting accustomed to several unhealthy behaviours and ends up increasing our weight.

While swiping our facebook newsfeed, we came across this hilarious picture 😀 Literally these were our thoughts too!

Having lost 55 kgs last year, we’ve been constantly conscious about maintaining our weight loss while following the social distancing rules during COVID-19.

This week, we’ve got so many stuff to tell you on how you can keep losing and maintaining your weight while staying at home.

1. Add herbal tea to your routine

Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash

As you’re mostly sedentary these days, high chance is that you feel bloated and full right after a meal. Keep in mind though, it’s never too late to adopt a healthy habit!

We’re quite happy with a hot cup of Green tea after each meal and once in between (although, squeezing a fresh lemon is totally up to you).

Why? Because the experts say that it promotes smooth digestion and eliminates fatigue (as always, there’s a science behind this too).

Another great pick for us is the Ginger tea, which is best known to boost immunity (we quite need it as the winter is back in Australia).

Well, every cloud has a silver lining-we never tried ginger to calm our bloating problem until now. Oh, man! We’re pretty fascinated with the cure of magical properties of ginger.

You can try Twinnings Tea-their wide range of herbal tea and tasty infusions are quite promising and of course, we love their Green tea. Explore the variety of healthy infusions on their website Here.

2. Add healthy foods to your diet

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Quite of you agree that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Taking a few steps back from unhealthy food should give some relief to our incredible GP’s and doctors.

During self-isolation, we added more proteins, grains and fruits in our regular diet and you have to believe it! we clearly felt lighter, more energetic and fresher.

And in the long run, healthy foods are known to decrease the likelihood of gaining weight and improve general wellness. 

Orange is the top-notch fruit for you to have regularly due to its properties of strengthening the immune system and reducing constipation.

We replaced our everlasting craving of sugary drinks with green tea, thanks to the guidelines of the Healthline website. And oh! the cookies and cakes…with Greek Yogurt and Banana. And by the way, we love using the fresh and high-quality Farmers Union Greek Yogurt as a snack and side.

3.Restrict Junk food intake

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Oh! that mouth-watering smell coming out from a fast-food restaurant, and a pizza shop. We know it’s hard but it’s not impossible to hold out against.

If you eat a burger, pizza or an ice cream once in a blue moon, trust us, no big deal.

But, if you’re prone to regular intake of junk, remember the experts suggest that junk foods are very low in nutrition and high in unhealthy fats.

So, you may be putting yourself at greater risk of fatigue and weight gain.

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With reduced physical activity nowadays, limiting the junk food will make you as fit as a fiddle.

Giving up junk food may mean less tiredness for you and fairly reduced heaviness in your gut.

A good way to avoid unhealthy foods is to getting into the habit to cook your food at home. You can try super easy recipes from tasty.co. With tons of appetising recipes using super simple ingredients, this site won’t disappoint you!

4. Establish a house chore routine

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You’re right on the ball if you aren’t planning to keep rolling on the couch all day while self-isolating, because lying on the bed for several hours (apart from the sleep time, of course) can potentially give you tiredness, inactivity, dullness and even more crankiness, experts say.

Bending to sweep and mop the floor, picking up laundry, washing dishes and cooking are sorts of light exercises you should probably try to do everyday and are extremely beneficial to keep your body moving.

Light exercise is also important for those of you working from home, to feel refreshed and more productive.

We feel a million times more active and fresher since we spend more than 80% of our day doing various house chores (of course you do not have to be like us, but no harm in trying).

Run Workout Sticker by lululemon

5. Practice light exercise 

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

No longer going to the fitness centre or commuting by public transport? By now, you may be thinking of the ways by which you could replace those everyday fitness tricks.

Hang in there! Thankfully there are hundreds of light exercises you can do at home.

Experts suggest that working out in the morning is the best form of exercise to boost your energy and mood throughout the day.

You can try to take baby steps at first and make your way up later. We found this really interesting article on the Lifehack website Here, where we learned incredibly easy exercises to include in our morning routine.

So far, we’re working out 10 minutes in the morning and oh goodness, the workouts are great to fuel energy into our body for the day. Even our kids enjoy doing workouts with us!

6. Keep yourself active with Kids

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As your kids’ sports training sessions are now on hold due to social distancing rules, you’re probably worried about their health, growth and social development.

Luckily, self-isolation is kinda blessing in disguise for your kids because now they’ve got all your time in this world.

Here’s a great opportunity for you to amuse your kids and at the same time, to keep your body moving.

While staying isolated at home, we learned that our kids feel very happy and cherished whenever we get involved with them in their playtime, yet it’s a healthy sign that we feel satisfied!

Any sort of outdoor activities amuse them and to be honest, it’s an amazing feeling to see them growing. We play cricket, football, do crazy dance, jumping jacks, bowling. 

If you like to get more fun ideas for indoor activities, check Here

7. Wear Activity tracking device

Photo by Kamil S on Unsplash

An activity tracking device? How can a fitness tracker make you moving? These questions might pop up in your mind but believe us, it’ll be as helpful for you as it was with us during the initial days of our weight loss journey!

A fitness monitor is an easily wearable device to track your activity level throughout a period.

Fitness trackers such as a Fitbit and Apple Watch aren’t only helpful in maintaining your activity levels, but more importantly, they can prompt real motivation to keep yourself active-that’s exactly what it did for us.

Our actual weight loss journey started from the point when we bought Fitbit Flex 2 for the first time. An incredibly amazing device, waterproof, easily wearable wristband, affordable and accurate! Since we lost over 55 kgs, We’re so grateful for this device to be our best friend forever!

Just set your activity targets on the app and monitor your activity daily to achieve your goals.

8.Manage stress and anxiety

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We understand that it’s a tough time you’re going through right now-with lots of ongoing pressure, we soon realised that anxiety levels are unhealthy for us, our family and our relationships in the long run.

So, managing your stress is vital-Luckily, you’ve got heaps of relaxation techniques to relieve stress.

Yoga and meditation is known to be the best technique to take away your anxiety.

We found that closing our eyes in a quiet place is incredibly helpful to manage stress-listening to soothing music or reducing the caffeine intake in your diet should also work well.

No more nagging! At least building a house chore routine will throw the crazy negative thoughts away from you, reduce your mental stress and induce productivity.

We found more stress coping strategies for you on the Healthline website Here.

9.Skip a meal

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Ever tried leaving your gut empty for few hours? Amazingly, keeping your stomach light is a great way to prevent tiredness, inactivity, weight gain and bloating, experts suggest.

Skipping our lunch brought massive difference to our health-in a positive way. We successfully reduced our weight and maintained body composition.

But we faced few challenges-we used to feel little dizzy and lightheaded at first. By the dinner time, we got so much hungry that we ended up overeating, which is even worst because bloating hits hard!

Soon we learned the way out-eating snacks in between our meals.

You can avoid any sort of weakness by keeping healthy snack with you such as an apple or a banana, Greek Yogurt (Farmers Union plain yogurt), Oat bars (We like Uncle Tobys), low-sugar protein bars (we eat Carman’s) and no-sugar biscuits like plain Digestives biscuits (Mcvities Digestives).

10. Avoid oversleeping

Are you working from home? Rolling on the bed and on your laptop and mobile phone-not much physical activity is happening. Result-more frequent daytime naps!

Now it’s an unhealthy habit because the experts say that unless you’re sick (your body needs more sleep time), an 8-hour overnight sleep should be enough to stay healthy and productive throughout the day.

We remember having daytime fatigue-a pretty bad feeling that mostly prompted us to oversleep (because we were either doing nothing or just eating!) And so, we felt more tired, inactive, less productive, less focused and even crankier. 

We started engaging ourselves in various activities since, to avoid more groggy and crabby days. Writing this blog is indeed one of them! Thank God we’re right on the spot.

The final word

Self-care is essential for you and when it comes to maintaining the belly fat, no one wants to waste the effort made to shed it. Staying healthy while self-quarantined is no trouble and not tough at all-do little workouts and eat healthy, you’ll never be disappointed! By living a healthy lifestyle, you can always enjoy the real colours of life.

Thank you for reading our blog! We hope this was helpful for you.

We’d love to hear from you of the ways you’re managing to managing the weight loss while self-quarantined. Share in your comments below.

10 INCREDIBLY ENGAGING ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO WHILE SELF-ISOLATING

Stay Home Sticker by westwingde

You may have exhausted all the episodes of your favourite TV program, a season or two (on Netflix or Amazon Prime) is already completed or…. constant swiping of your social newsfeed may have suddenly got extremely uninteresting for you. These activities usually dominates your usual life, but while in quarantine, may fail to entertain you. 

About a month ago, COVID-19 forced our family to stay at home. We are studying online, kids avoid attending the school (surely to prevent themselves from the virus) and unable to visit the nearby playground. Basically, we are QUARANTINED at home! Our quite relaxing days (in the beginning) gradually turned into bored, tiring days. The worst part, our boys began to demand food like ten times in a day! (aside from the main meals) since they were feeling incredibly isolated.

We then transformed our boredom into these 10 activities that made a massive difference for us and we can’t wait to share them with you! 

1. Grow your own Garden

Whether you think of growing own vegetables in your backyard, plant fragrant florals, or merely trim the grass yourself, gardening will amuse you forever. If gardening is novel for you, tons of YouTube tutorials will help you learning. So be productive, fold your sleeves up and start digging right away! It’s both fun and adventurous. 

In fact, gardening is known to promote health benefits such as home-grown vegetables are healthier and burn calories (we surely love this to our maintain weight goals!) and strengthen your bones. Additionally, gardening may have mental benefits, relieving stress and elevating mood are few of them. Sounds great right? And if you wish to make it your hobby, remember it takes dedication that’s quite worth it!

2. Try new recipes

Tired of cooking the same meal every day? One incredible way to engage yourself in quarantine is to ditch the same, boring recipes for good. Replace the pricey takeaway foods with home-made meals. Home cooking in itself is an excellent start to a healthy lifestyle. It’s even cheaper and inexpensive way to tackle boredom, so saves for a rainy day!

Tons of creative recipes are available online to try a new Pasta (in fact viral these days) and we can bet…you must be already craving for it! 

Try our top pick site, tasty.co. We cherish their cooking tutorials since they’re both easy to understand and mouth-watering.

3. Declutter your home

Ever looked around your room and felt extremely overwhelmed by the clutter surrounding you? While you’re isolating, surely it’s a good idea to pick up all the trash out of your home. Better late than never.

We felt immensely relieved after finally decluttering our roof cabinets this March (mark it, 2020!). You can’t even imagine the amount of unnecessary stuff we got rid of. Even our backyard and garage had so much to throw away! (a broken chair is just one of them).

If you’re starting from the scratch, decluttering and re-organising could consume much time and effort. You can do this in parts, so start with the bedroom, and then proceed for the other rooms of your house each day. 

We’ve been using these garbage bags, available at Aldi stores, from 2 years and since they’re incredibly effective in holding the trash, we love to grab them every time we declutter our home.

4. Start your workout routine at home

Your fitness routine may have somewhat affected due to social distancing rules. As the gyms closed down in the beginning of March, we were quite anxious about our fitness (Us and gym are like two peas in a pod!)

Whether or not you have gym equipment at home. Either way, you can work out during self-isolation to keep yourself healthy and fit. Unpack your boxes and build your fitness routine at home. Work out or go for a solo walk, running or jogging. 

Exercising not only open up your muscles and relieve stress on your body but also will help you to maintain your weight goals and to keep your body in shape. 

5. Home Yoga

If you’re like us, who never had a chance to start a yoga routine, bring it on right away. For some of you, social distancing has indeed even effected yoga classes. 

Get the benefits of yoga while you’re self-isolating. A regular yoga routine may retain many physical and mental benefits to you. It could relieve your stress levels, maintain metabolism and increase flexibility. Regular meditation could improve your breathing and anxiety levels (they’re pretty high due to the current crisis). 

6. Build a daily skincare routine

Starting a daily skincare routine will help you get through this time while self-isolating. You’d probably stressed about losing your skin glow because you’ve missed a few facial therapies due to social distancing rules. Collect a few essential items to begin your skincare routine (facial cleanser, toner, facial scrub etc) and add it into your daily routine to keep up with the isolation. 

We regularly use Neutrogena and Garnier, since we like to stick with the products that suits our skin type, so we suggest to get to know your skin type first before deciding on a product.

7. Get closer to God

COVID-19 has certainly placed an extraordinary anxiety for all of us, and we personally believe that keeping your faith and getting to be closer to God will, undoubtedly, help you deal with the anxiety and stress.

Pretty much like us, if your incredibly occupied routines have already forced you to skip a few prayers, time has arrived to catch them now. Building a daily practice of spirituality will fortify your faith that bad times doesn’t stay around forever.

8. Get capacity back on your phone

In case you’re a bit like us and you’re so caught up with the active life, you’d have no time to chuck the waste of your emails and messages. Indeed, piles of photos in your phone and the unwanted friend’s list on Facebook has always bothered you, then the time, at last, arrived! It’s not as simple as it sounds like, as this process might take several hours. 

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We’re pretty sure that by the end of it, you’ll not only get desirable storage on your phone, but way better efficiency of your device and a great relief. 

9. Re-arrange your room’s furniture

Well, this one is undoubtedly an interesting pick for you, after all, you’re mostly staying at home. Re-arranging furniture won’t only refresh your mind but makes it creative too. Those items you found unnecessary while decluttering your home may now fit purposeful for you. 

We were extremely bored with the way our furniture was arranged in the living room. Hence, we decided to re-arrange our living room (thanks to the renovation program on TV, we thought why not today? After all, we’ve to spend the following days staring our furniture!

So Far Thumbs Up Sticker by Sherchle

10. Build profound relationships

Last, but not the least. In fact, it is highly recommended for you to avail this time and build deeper connections through productive communication with your family members and close friends. In this crazy, hectic life, you may be missing on the precious time your family starves for. Try to bond up with the members you’re usually less connected with. 

Get connected to your kids and play with them, speak to your parents and get to know of their needs (even if you just tell them that you love them unconditionally). Your close friends, siblings and even your partner will surely be impacted with these magical moments.

All in all, we’ve made a massive difference in our new temporary life (being quarantined). Now the ball is on your court which activity you’d begin with 🙂

Can you think of an activity you consider both interesting and helpful, apart from the ones in this post? Let us know in the comments box below.