Many people assume a healthy lifestyle means a big hole in the budget. Myths include: staying fit requires expensive gym memberships and eating well equals eating into your grocery bill. Wrong. If you want to take ownership of your health, you can easily do so without a huge expense. Here are my tips for living a budget conscious healthy life.

Make your beauty products

Costly beauty products are an unnecessary expense as you can make your own using ingredients from your pantry. Face masks can be made using honey, turmeric and lemon juice. Soaps can easily be made with shea butter and green tea, and mixing sugar and essential oils makes a body scrub.

Use a meal plan to manage a healthy lifestyle on a budget

It’s important to be prepared for your meals. Doing so ensures you don’t buckle and buy unhealthy and expensive take outs, splash out on unnecessary groceries or meander away from your healthy eating plan.

  • Breakfasts: Every Sunday I prepare five make-ahead breakfasts, such as frittatas or bircher muesli, which I store in the fridge ready to go.
  • Lunch/Dinner: One Sunday a month I batch bake four lunches such as a vegetarian Shephard’s pie with cauliflower mash, salmon coconut fish cakes or a veggie bake, and store them in the freezer. These can be served at a later date with a leafy green salad for a nutritious, satisfying meal. 
  • Snacks: A variation of humus such as turmeric and cauliflower, beetroot or carrot.
  • Drinks: Matcha green tea smoothie, watercress soup or a green tea and fresh ginger quencher to sip on throughout the day. This keeps me hydrated, my immune system in check and my metabolism high.

Make the most of your ingredients

To save money, time and avoid waste, I encourage people to consider how they can maximise a single ingredient. Roast a chicken for one meal, save the leftovers and boil the carcass for a delicious homemade nourishing stock, both of which you can freeze. In the following days, use the leftovers to make a mushroom and chicken risotto, soup and chicken salad.

Plan a healthy lifestyle on a budget by scheduling your week

Use your Leaders in Heels Planners to schedule your time so that you stay on track and avoid overspending. I usually write out the plan from 6am-7pm daily, and it will look something like this:

6 am – 30 minute at home yoga or pilates.
6.30am – Hot shower using one of my homemade body scrubs.
7 am – Enjoy a make-ahead breakfast and then make a tea to sip on during the day.
8 am – Start work.
10 am – Hummus snack.
Noon – Lunchtime!
2 pm – A soup or smoothie to ensure my body is getting extra greens, is nourished and energised.
5 pm – Finish work and then go for a brisk 30-minute walk or swim – anything to get some cardio and refresh the body/soul.
6 pm – Enjoy dinner with a big green leafy salad.
7 pm – Relax with a homemade face mask. I switch off all devices at this time as well. 

Exercise at home

30-60 minutes of daily exercise at home is a key component of having a healthy lifestyle on a budget. We must use our muscles consistently to ensure our bodies remain flexible as we age. Personally, yoga, pilates or a brisk walk or swim helps me release the busy day. 

About the Faye James

Fay-James-tips-for-a-healthy-lifestyle-on-a-budgetFaye is a 43-year-old mother of two who believes in living a healthy structured lifestyle to enhance confidence and energy. Adding to her achievements, Faye has recently published a book, The Life Long Plan, which shares more of her advice and tips. 

We’ve all had that night or two where we toss and turn watching the clock unable to sleep. But for some, a restless night is routine. While sleep deprivation is an issue that is often overlooked, it can have a major impact on our minds, bodies, and even careers.

While we sleep, our brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons. This process can only be done while we’re asleep. When we don’t get enough sleep the toxic proteins remain in our brain cells, impairing our ability to think. Lack of sleep slows our ability to process information and problem solve, weakens your creativity, and heightens your stress levels and emotional reactivity.

Check out these eight common sleep problems below along with tips to overcome them in order to get the quality sleep that your body needs.


If you suffer from an anxiety condition or even find yourself feeling anxious from time to time, chances are you’ve had trouble falling asleep. It can be challenging for anyone to relax their mind after a long day, but when you’re combating anxiety on top of it, you may find yourself struggling both physically and mentally to convince your body to fall asleep.

If anxiety is causing you to miss out on ZZZ’s, trying using a meditation app before bed. There are many wonderful meditation apps out there that can help curb your anxiety by relaxing your mind and bringing about more mental peace. Stretching is also a great way to reduce anxiety before bed because it helps combat tension caused by anxiety or stress by loosening up your body.

Busy Mind

Mental over-activity is a big problem and more and more people are reporting that they just can’t turn off their brains at night. When you’re stressed, your mind races with thoughts at night rather than shutting down. With each passing year, our societal demands get ever greater leading us to be “on” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This results in greater rates of insomnia.

In order to set the stage for sleep, we need to unwind and dim our mind. Make time to relax and unwind at least one hour before bed. Keep the lights dim and put away all electronic devices. Try reading, sketching, or journaling. Once you discover what works best for you, develop a nightly bedtime routine consisting of these activities. This will help create closure for the day, allowing your brain to begin the process of shutting off.


Pain is hard enough to deal with in the light of day, but when pain at night robs you of the sleep your body has been craving so badly it can be downright exhausting. According to the National Sleep Foundation, two out of three people with chronic pain have difficulty sleeping. This is because no matter what the cause of it is, pain can disrupt sleep architecture and affect sleep positions.

Sleep is the only time that our muscles, spine, and ligaments can completely relax. Sleeping on a mattress that is not suited to your body can actually cause or increase body aches and pains as it creates bad sleep posture, strained muscles, and unnatural spinal alignment. Foam layer mattresses are a good option because they fit to your body shape and maintain the same natural spinal alignment we have when we are standing. This evenly balances out the weight of our body, creating no pressure points and allowing our muscles to relax at the correct positions and lengths.


It can be difficult to get a full night’s sleep if hunger strikes during the night as hunger pains have been shown to keep the brain mentally alert. On top of that, not getting enough sleep can both lower metabolism and increase levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” that boosts appetite and can even encourage weight gain.

To avoid hunger pains at night, eat small meals throughout the day. Skipping out on meals can slow your metabolism while eating small meals throughout the day causes your body to obtain energy from fat stores overnight. Late-night eating has been linked to weight gain so if hunger does strike before bed, eat a light carb-heavy snack before bed rather than doing an all-out fridge raid.

Not Tired

One of the most frustrating things is trying to fall asleep at night and not being able to because you are simply not tired. We’ve all had those nights where we keep checking the clock to calculate how many hours of sleep we will get if we fall asleep at a certain time and next thing you know it’s time to start getting ready for work.

If you’re having trouble sleeping due to not being tired, try putting away and turning off all electronics. The artificial blue light emitted by our electronic devices delays your body’s internal clock, suppresses melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone) and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Rather than watching your favorite show before bed, try reading a book as it will help your mind relax and prepare for sleep.

Sunday Night Insomnia

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to fall asleep on Sunday nights? For most of us, Sunday is a “lazy day” lacking in physical and mental activity. When it’s time to go to bed at the usual bedtime our body is not ready to because we haven’t actually been awake long enough. This common issue is known as Sunday Night Insomnia.

To prevent Sunday Night Insomnia, you need to maintain a consistent sleep pattern. If you go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 6am during the week, try sticking to a similar pattern over the weekend, especially on Saturday night and Sunday morning. This will help regulate your internal body clock, allowing you to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day and night.


Restlessness and an endless night of tossing and turning are often the result of being too hot or too cold. This happens when our external temperatures aren’t optimal because our bodies have to work harder to self-regulate. When our external temperatures aren’t ideal, our body will repeatedly switch back and forth between shivering and sweating, except during the REM stage of sleep. At this point, our body’s shivering and sweating mechanisms are impaired, forcing our body to adjust to whatever the room temperature may be. Once out of this stage, you may be too hot or too cold depending on your bedroom environment.

Sleep experts recommend that you keep your thermostat between 15 and 19 degrees to prevent this from happening. Keep your room at a cooler temperature if you tend to use more blankets or pillows when you sleep. If you prefer fewer blankets, opt for a higher room temperature.


Whether it’s a home appliance, pet or storm, sound has the potential to affect your rest. Sounds that have little impact during the day can become bothersome at night, especially when they are sudden or unexpected. While these noises may not fully wake you, they can arouse you slightly affecting your sleep cycle.

Sound and noise are often out of our control. White noise is a great way to mask and drown out background sounds and achieve better sleep. If you are still finding it difficult to sleep, try using ear plugs to cover up any noise disturbances.

Kelly N. is a Sleep Enthusiast from New York. When she’s not daydreaming about her next nap, she can be found browsing the shelves of her favorite bookstore.

As the year winds down and we prepare to relax with family and friends over hams, turkeys, pavlovas and champagne, it’s important not only to prepare your body and health to deal with these excesses but also to prevent a sluggish start to a brand new year. Don’t wait for your New Year resolutions to kick in, start preventing that weight gain from now. Holidays are a fantastic way to start an exercise routine as work and deadlines are no longer an excuse to delay it.

Anita Hobson-Powell,Executive Officer at Exercise & Sports Science Australia’s (ESSA) says, “it’s easy to implement small changes each day during the holidays to beat the Christmas bulge”.

Anita shares the following top tips from ESSA for preventing kilos from piling on during the festive season:

1.     Stick with your routine – don’t quit just because it’s Christmas! Staying active will make you feel better and make your life much easier in the New Year.

2.     Stay the course – don’t try to lose weight in December. Do give yourself a break! Just stay on course and work to maintain your weight by managing calorie intake and physical activity.

3.     Seize the moment – don’t be thwarted by a busy holiday schedule that eliminates exercise. Seize chances for unexpected exercise. When shopping, take the stairs or walk up and down escalators. Or, when you arrive at a party, try parking as far away as possible for a short power walk.

4.     Explore your holiday destination – don’t fall into the vacation-destination trap of lounging and over-indulging. Do integrate exercise into your daily schedule, even if you’re away from home. Walking is one of the best ways to discover a new place and to keep active.

5.     Play with your children – Playing with your children can be a great way to increase your heart rate – while having fun. There are so many games you can play together – cricket, Frisbee, tag, swimming, bike riding and more.

6.     Reduce your stress – don’t let Christmas be synonymous with stress. Use exercise as an outlet for stress relief. Exercise can improve general happiness and provide relief from feelings of being overwhelmed.

7.     Dance! – don’t just sit on the sidelines. Enjoy yourself at the next party by getting up for a dance with friends. It’s a great way to have a quick workout while simultaneously being festive.

8.     Go see the sights – don’t let the holidays slip by without taking time to enjoy their colours! Do plan a night with your family to view Christmas lights and decorations. Many suburbs have entire streets decorated, and you can walk the streets as a family, enjoying the beautiful summer weather and festive, twinkling atmosphere.

“Our tips are not just ‘nice-to-dos’, given enough time or motivation; in fact, they’re easy to implement and should be considered ‘must-dos’ if we want to get 2013 off to a great and healthy start”, emphasises Anita.

If you need help getting started, find your local accredited exercise physiologist, by visiting Medicare may also fund treatment sessions if you suffer from a chronic health condition. Please see a GP for referral.

Top image: myyogaonline

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is the peak professional body for exercise and sports science in Australia, and provides national leadership and advocacy on key issues.  ESSA supports its 3,500+ members and the community by fostering excellence in professional practice, education, training and research.