How to fix your lifestyle and save money?

The heart and mind wants what it wants, that’s a given.

Some of those desires can weigh you down mentally or financially when you feel there is no progress. Because priorities keep changing and surprises hit when you least expect, thereby hindering your efforts. A lifestyle fix then becomes inevitable.

Feeling content by achieving everyday goals is a great way to wind up the day.

So striking a balance in your daily activities is crucial.



There are many ways to deal with lifestyle problems. And I am going to list a handful, from my own experience and from people around me. Often these small things we ignore can grow to become bigger problems. Therefore it is important to address these issues at the right time. 

Speaking of time, time is of the essence, time is money, time is ticking. No time!
Time is everything, no wonder it’s so precious.

Harmonious with nature.

There was a time when life and nature stood synchronized.
Waking up before sunrise, working in the field and farm, eating the harvest and going to bed at 6.

Besides daily chores, field work was seasonal and so is harvest. Between harvest, people were preserving food and preparing for the next sowing. Life was simple and in balance.

Cut to the 21st century, we are up against time, trying to make more from less, thanks to capitalism and consumerism. Technology has made sure we are always distracted. Our private lives are open to strangers, to seek validation and acceptance (social media, status etc).

We spend more time worrying about being successful and acceptable in a society that values financial success. All this while compromising health and it’s getting worse by the day.

In this post I am hoping to nudge youngsters into adopting a healthy lifestyle who are venturing out to achieve their dreams and desires. And it’s not surprising that a balanced life can save time money and money.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. None of these tips may work. Treat these as a guide. Judge everything I have to say. Check for facts. Make your decision. Fail and learn.

Free advice has no value, which is ironic because everything I have to say in this piece may sound like one. Still, my hope that this could benefit at least 1 youngster gives me courage to publish this piece.

Let’s get into saving money right away.

I’d be right to point out that many think lifestyle means fashion, party, travel, leisure and such. “Lifestyle” is everything you do on a daily basis.

There is no particular order to it, so I am starting with Habit.

Habit

Cultivating habits is part of the growing process, some good, many debatable. Old habits are hard to beat. Often our actions are simply a habit rather than necessity.

For example, Smoking and drinking. Why do you do it? Whatever your reason, I dare to call it outright stupid. You are spending time and money to lose your senses and damage your health. If that is not convincing enough, I don’t know what is. And don’t forget to add soda (including “diet”) to that list. With soda, the sense part is metaphorical.

Junk food is a habit period. Easy access to food means binge eating. The habit of craving for taste is more prevalent when food is everywhere. Eating for pleasure is a serious problem and will hit hard sooner or sooner.

Habits are hard to change, list those habits that waste money and compromises your health. It might motivate you to change. It may be surprising to know that what you eat has a direct influence on your state of mind. [ gut health for a happy mind ]

Food

Besides making life sedentary, technology, particularly food processing has made it possible to grab a bite of delicacy from across the planet.

Regardless of their tall claims of fresh, natural and healthy, food made at factories, in other words, outside home, is a great source of inflammation.

The younger generation is ignorant of this fact. It’s not their fault, so I will comfortably blame the education system for its lack of interest in including diet and nutrition as part of the school curriculum.

Parents, especially where both spouses work, are partly entitled to take the blame since they often don’t find enough time to cook healthy meals everyday. Which means, kids are fed junk throughout their childhood and when they realize they have been eating wrong all the way it may be late.

Also what fascinates me is the fact that educated people believe diet soda is better!

It’s not surprising that health care professionals are on that list. Free junk food at a health conference? 

Here is a quick list that can save money on food

Local fruits vs exotic fruits: High prices keep many away from fruits plus the messy nature of fruits isn’t very encouraging. Go for local and seasonal fruits, they are a fool proof way to build immunity and health. 

Restaurant vs Home cooked food: Dealing with store bought inflammation is challenging because taste and convenience overpowers all wisdom.
In the fight between time and money, time has the upperhand while money? Eh that’s fixable, pay later?

Tip: Cook at least one simple meal a day and use this opportunity to fix and improve health while also making this time an excuse for bonding with people you care about.
Heard of one pot recipes? More motivation here>  [ Why you should cook? ]

Green tea: When it comes to tea, the only color I have a problem with is green. Green tea overly promoted. I can assure you, it doesn’t burn your belly fat, your favorite celebrity is only doing her job. 

Besides not burning any fat, Green tea costs a lot, so I suggest, find some flower or leaf, boil it in some water and be done. Or better yet grow some flowers and herbs. 2 pots is all you need.

Capitalism dictates that you spend money to save money, Buy 1 Get 1? And Buy more, save more?

Stop spending money on food that jeopardizes health so you save money not only in the present but also in the future. Think about the insurance plans that don’t cover all ailments where you may have to spend from your pocket. Also as you age insurance premiums rise too and you end up paying more.

Shopping 

A big ticket item on lifestyle list that can break your bank. Shopping is where one could waste more money without realizing it.
Those deals are designed to look irresistible. Bank offers, pay later, EMI are all smart traps to make you spend on things you don’t need. 

Self-made brand ambassadors 

Obsessed with brands? It’s a good thing if you have a lot of money to dispose of. But when you are working for a salary, it gets difficult to justify spending on exclusive materials that don’t improve your wellbeing in any way.

Imagine being a living mannequin promoting other brands at your expense.
Excuse me for the strong words, “Truth is bitter” they say!

Status, exclusivity, personal identity whatever is the reason you are into branded possessions, it’s important to remember that you are not your possessions.

Your life is at best decent. I am being generous here! So why bother with premium possessions? 

Impulse buying

It’s the festive season and It’s raining “offers”. All of a sudden those items at the bottom of your wishlist seem like a must have and shout for your attention. Things that you might not want right away, now seem like a worthy candidate for a spare or backup. They move to the cart, more spending is more saving!

Control your excitement, cleaning up the clutter takes more time and is a mind numbing exercise. 

Spend sparingly.

Beauty & Hygiene

Heavy metals in ground water and vegetables, poor air quality and global warming, these are matters we whine and rant. 

What about everyday beauty and hygiene products?
Chemicals like phthalates, paraben, lead and formaldehyde that we literally apply over the skin everyday? Reproductive and developmental problems, hormone disruption, neurological problems in children and all sorts of cancer are some of the causes of exposure to those chemicals.

A soap for the face, one for the body and one for the genitals? come on.

Should we hold a placard and accuse the manufacturers? or stop using them to fix the problem?

Spending to look good at the cost of one’s health is not a wise investment. 

Fancy motorbikes &  Electronic Gadgets

In a middle class nation like India, a motorcycle is the first means of private transport.

It’s a dream for youngsters who are starting their professional career.

A decent motorbike that costs a fraction of a fancy one can get you to places for 5 to 10 years. And it can do that with less fuel compared to bigger ones.

Moreover fancy motorbikes are designed to break your spine besides being fuel guzzlers and costing more. Those high raised handlebar, high raised seats that make you lean over the handlebar with straight arms? These are perfect ingredients for bad posture that will eventually lead to spine injuries.

It gets worse when you add “potholes” to that list.

A lifestyle without technology is hard to imagine, right? Technology evolves every few months, and it’s bigger and more of the existing tech. Meaning, nothing revolutionary.

How many cameras does your phone have? 8MP is sufficient to print a photo the size of A4 or letter and what do you do with all those remaining megapixels?

My 4G is choppy and yet to reach full potential and I am bombarded with marketing mails for 5G phones. Some apps need the latest OS version to work, which means my 3 year old display intact phone has to be abandoned soon, sorry e-rupee you have to wait, UPI is king for now. 

Frequent upgrades of electronic devices adds to E-waste problem. [ Read my rant here]

Subscriptions

Is “subscribe” the most abused word in the online world?

Entertainment

How many OTT subscriptions do you have? Don’t answer, It’s a rhetorical question.

Do a fact check on all the subscriptions you have and ask yourself “does it bring any value?” Is it eating into my sleep time? Is it worth it at all? And then ask how much can I save if I cut down on unnecessary subscriptions and sleep more?

Entertainment is necessary as part of balanced lifestyle, so aim for quality content. Subscribe only when needed and as much needed. “Rent a movie” is a worthy option. You could buy monthly subscriptions once in a few months on your favorite OTT and catch up on all the good stuff.

Fitness

Don’t like the way you look? blame it on the Food and Entertainment industry.
That’s a deadly combination when it comes to compromising health.

When you realize it’s time to fix your body, the first thing you are likely to do is jump on to a fitness program, right? First you buy a GYM membership and then you start hoarding all the fitness attires and accessories! Because you are determined to get in shape?

So you spend a lot on things you already have, but this time with a “fitness” or even better a “sports” prefix; the regular water bottle now becomes a sports bottle, regular shoes now have to be running/walking/jumping shoes, you get the idea.

And we know what happens next. It’s like the new year’s resolution that only lasts till the 31st of January.

You don’t need the GYM unless your muscles are your bread & butter idli and chutney.

If you have to choose between health and fitness, I suggest health. It’s easy to fix with food. Yes, that simple. [ 10 Fat loss mistakes ]

A Word on fitness devices and apps, meh!

If you are this far, I appreciate you for taking interest in improving your lifestyle and health. Tag along this journey is going to end in a minute.

Travel

5 days of work and 2 days of life seem to be the new work life balance.

Enjoying life is the mantra for youngsters. Sure. But are you really enjoying it?

While enjoying the weekend, you are thinking about the next 5 days at work. Then there is the checklist type of person who wants to hit all the places possible in that short trip. 

A significant portion of your savings can vanish with poor or unnecessary travel plans.
Discover local places, there is so much to see. It also helps the local economy and you spend less.

A beach is a beach be it local or one on the other side of the planet. 

DIY Skills

I know a lot of engineers who don’t know how to hang a photo on a wall, let alone drill a hole. Here is the thing with DIY skills, to do it yourself you need skills and to acquire skills you need to start doing it yourself.

Leaky taps, loose tiles, missing buttons, broken switches? start fixing it, yourself.
You get better the second time and comfortable the third time. Fourth time is child’s play.

Besides saving money, such chores lifts your mood and confidence.

Conclusion: You have to do your math

Not the one used to send rockets, but a simple one that adds up things for a better lifestyle.
Everything you read above translates to savings. Health saved is wealth saved.
The problem being excitement where youngsters prioritize career and money over a balanced lifestyle.

Doing your math at the right time brings success. Which can only be done with proper guidance that no school or university teaches.

Too lazy?, a budgeting or expense tracking app will do the math for you. All you have to do is note down every penny you spend right from your first salary.
The data speaks for themselves and you know where your money is going.

The next time someone is giving you free advice, stop and ask yourself, why is he doing it? If the answer is because they care, take note of their advice even when you have no intention to act on the said information.

I will see you soon in another post, thanks for signing up. You haven’t yet? Please Do.
Cheers.
Vimal Mohan.

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