Staying Healthy (on the Cheap!)

College is a wonderful time, but for many, it can definitely be an unhealthy time. Classes and assignments can feel like a full-time job, most of us work a part time job, and try to balance a social life on top of it all! But avoiding the ‘Freshman 15’ (or Sophomore, Junior, or Senior!) isn’t impossible—it just takes some planning and hard work. I’ll admit I’m certainly not the healthiest—I frequent Chick Fil A and don’t get quite enough exercise—but I thought I’d lend a hand and share some of what I do in my attempt to stay healthy as a broke college student.

Staying healthy when you're on a college student budget!

1. Workout DVDs
I purchased my first workout DVD (Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown) freshman year and loved it! I think Jillian is wonderful and have actually purchased several more of her DVDs, including the 30 Day Shred, Shred It with Weights, and my newest purchase, Kickbox Fastfix. Jillian’s tough talking keeps me motivated while her quick, but difficult, routines help burn a lot of calories in 20-30 minutes! I also enjoy yoga DVDs on days when a tough Jillian workout just isn’t going to happen. If you’re interested in yoga, try Rodney Yee. He’s a great instructor who walks you through each pose and explains the benefits of each.

2. Get Outside or Join a Local Gym
Anderson’s campus is roughly one square mile, making it very easy to go outside, walk or jog a lap or two, and get a good cardio workout! Exercising outside is one of the best things you can do for your body and mood! The best part—it’s free! However, if you aren’t one for the outdoors (we all have those days) get creative! I joined the local Rec Center this semester for just $40! Check your local gyms and athletic clubs for student specials and discounts.

3. Be Mindful of What You Eat
A healthy diet is just as, if not more, important than exercise. If you live on campus, take advantage of your meal plan! I know, I know, cafeteria food stinks! But you’ve got to use what you’ve got! If your dining hall has a salad bar, pile a plate high with spinach, pour some healthy toppings on, and add a splash of vinegar as dressing for a salad that will keep you full all day (or until fourth meal!) and will provide lots of nutrients. If that’s not your taste, try building a custom sandwich and camouflage your veggies with meat, cheese, and some condiments. Eating healthy can be difficult, but it is so important to looking and feeling your best! But remember—don’t deprive yourself! Indulge when you need to and be mindful of how your body feels.

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are lots of apps and accessories that can help keep you on track. My personal favorite is My Fitness Pal, which lets you log meals and exercise from a huge database. You can use it on your computer or smartphone and you can set and work toward your goals, whether calories burned, pounds lost, or whatever you want to accomplish. You can interact with and encourage your friends in the app, making it fun and a little competitive! Now, I’m going to veer from the ‘cheap’ for a minute, because I just have to rave about my favorite new gadget! I purchased the FitBit Force last week and this thing is wonderful! I sync mine with My Fitness Pal and my computer. Using the new watch-like display, you can track your progress throughout the day and FitBit provides a ‘dashboard’ that visually displays your daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly progress on your computer or smartphone. You can even track your sleeping habits and calories consumed and burned. If you’re serious about taking control of your health, I’d definitely recommend it!

how to stay healthy when you're on a tight budget!

And that’s how I (attempt to) stay healthy on a budget. What are some of your tips and tricks? Comment and let me know!

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Favorite Apps for Saving Cash

Today I’ve got somewhat of a different post for you. We all love saving money and we all love our smartphones—why not combine these two loves for something super useful? I’m all about helping you save some money, so today, I’ve got my three favorite apps for saving cash!

Favorite Apps for Saving Cash

Mint
Mint is a super useful personal budgeting tool. You can use it online, as an app on your computer, or even use it mobile on your iPad or iPhone (and Android devices, but I’m an Apple girl through and through). Mint lets you enter all your bank accounts and credit cards (it’s completely secure!) and tracks your purchases from each account. You can set an overall monthly budget, as well as budgets for any category you want, whether it’s shopping, school supplies, groceries, or fast food. Mint uses handy charts and graphs to help you visualize your incoming and outgoing money and really helps me stay on track.

Target
Target’s app is great if you’re at all like me and do all of your shopping there. I go to Target at least once a week, always with a new list of things I need to buy. The Target app lets you keep track of these shopping lists. The list feature is still in beta testing, but I really enjoy it. The weekly ads are published on the app, so you know what’s on sale before you enter the store. There are even mobile deals & coupons that you pull up and simply have the cashier scan.

ShopKick
ShopKick is a really neat app that utilizes the GPS and camera features on your smartphone and rewards you with kicks, or points that accumulate and go toward a gift card to the store or outlet of your choice. You simply open the app before you enter a store and it checks you in and rewards you with kicks, ranging between 35 and 150 (so you have a better idea, 1250 kicks equal a $5 gift card). I use my weekly shopping trips to Target and other stores toward my Target gift cards, helping me save money down the line. You also have the option to scan the barcode on specific items throughout the store to earn more kicks, as well as unlock coupons.

Do you use some other apps to save money and stay on track?

Introductions Are In Order

Welcome to my blog! I’m Megan and I’ve wanted to start a lifestyle blog for quite some time. Now that starting and maintaining a blog is a requirement for one of my courses, I’ve found the motivation to actually get things going.

Three years ago, along with most of you, I’m sure, I fell in love with Pinterest! But this love affair had some downsides. I’ve found so much beauty and inspiration on Pinterest and it’s been a valuable tool and time-waster for me, but it has also left some not-so-good side affects. It’s so easy to scroll through pages and pages of beautiful cakes and cookies and parties and home décor  and crafts (and you get the point) and this eventually creates what I call “pin-vy” (pin envy, get it? I like to think I’m clever). However, I’m just a broke and lowly college student, I can’t possibly have and make all of these beautiful things on Pinterest.

So here’s where Charming on the Cheap comes in. My goal is to create this Pinterest perfection for the millennial generation. I hope to pull inspiration from Pinterest and find a way to create beauty for myself, on my tight budget and schedule. Whether it’s a delectable meal, sweet treat, delightful craft, or even a DIY wedding detail, I hope to make my life a little more charming… on the cheap