If you are serious about getting healthy and saving money this year, I have broken down 12 habits you could make or break to save you major money and also whittle your waistline. If you take one of these on every month and really try to incorporate it into your life, you will end 2016 healthier and wealthier!
I am starting with the big guys here! I know some of you may think these items aren’t easy at all. I figure if you can tackle the big demons while your resolve is strong, the little guys will seem like a walk in the park.
Eat at home
I read the average American consumes 3 burgers per week, and most often from a fast food chain. I know time can be tight, and often we are tired after a long day, but we should look for more options to prepare meals at home. In fact, look forward to a game changing project that outlines dinner plans, recipes, menus, and shopping lists to help out you busy families.
It only takes an hour of prep a week, and 20 minutes per day. We can all spare that right? Again, if needs be just cut back on this. We used to pick up fast food about 2 times per month, so it wasn’t difficult for us to cut it back to only when we travel, and sometimes not even then. I don’t have to tell you it’s expensive and far from nutritious. Cut back a little now and keep working on it.
Give up soda
I know– this is tough one! And many of you probably have thought it was time to cut back or let it go a long time ago. We all start from a different place, but it’s time to move forward. Start now! Drop the carbonated drinks.
The sugar and artificial ingredients in soda are cavities-and-eventual-sugar-crashes waiting to happen. Do yourself a huge favor and give it up. I know this can be tough, but even cutting back is a good step forward. If each month you consume less, eventually giving it up will be no big deal.
Buy in bulk
This is especially true of healthy items such as whole grains. I like to buy oats in bulk and prepare them for my family for breakfast. We all love those easy to prepare packets, but they cost so much more, and they typically have way more sugar than I would use. You can also grind your own gluten free flours which saves a ton! A post will follow in March on this to show you the difference; spoiler alert, it’s huge!
Cut back on Meat, add Proteins elsewhere
Now eating more protein can help you feel fuller longer and avoid crashing, so I don’t suggest you take a nose-dive on the protein–just on the price. Try adding beans to your meals. At as little as 50 cents a pound, you cannot beat the power punch of beans. For a complete amino acid substitute, consider quinoa. That’s right, quinoa is the exception in the plant kingdom as a complete protein! It’s extremely versatile and can be made in under 20 minutes!
Don’t Purchase Drinks away from the Supermarket
I know I already stabbed the soda thing, and you should definitely not buy soda ever, but especially not away from the supermarket. This also goes for teas, coffee, and alcohol (I don’t happen to drink any of these which saves even more). Picking up drinks from a drive through or in a bar is uber expensive! I mean HUGE markup! We even make our spiced apple cider at home rather than hitting Starbucks.
Get rid of Clutter
This one may seem a little out of place, but bear with me. Clutter bogs down our mind and takes up so much time in our day. The time and stress spent worrying about clutter is taxing on the body and mind.
There have been so many times I have walked by a mess, stressed about it, but didn’t clean it up; but when I finally just took care of it, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. With your mind free from clutter, you can focus on preparing healthy meals. And with less stress, you are less likely to reach to soda and fast food. This can also be very lucrative; we often sell unused items to pick up some extra cash.
I know sometimes we feel we can ditch the exercise because weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise right?
I call bull on this because the 20% of exercise makes the 80% of diet so much easier!
Drink more Water
When we don’t drink enough water, our bodies can mistake thirst signals for hunger signals. When I am always hydrated, I eat less. It’s amazing! And that afternoon slump where I tend to crash all but disappears (not entirely because I still have 3 little kids….).
Plan Weekly Desserts
Eating dessert can feel a little counterproductive to leading a healthier lifestyle, but we all need to kick back and enjoy once in a while. If these are already planned and purchased at the grocery store, it prohibits late night runs through the drive through because you know when your next splurge is coming.
Plan a Grocery Menu and Stick with it
Sometimes our intentions are good. We plan a menu, we shop for the food, and then something goes awry. Perhaps you forget to thaw out chicken for taco night, or you are just too tired to get anything on the table; but somehow the well thought out plan turns to drive-thrus, pizza, and breakfast for dinner.
And then, when you are ready to cook what you planned, everything is spoiled. You chuck it all out and repeat… If this sounds like you, maybe you need to simplify, or maybe you need to do some prep work one day to make the other days easier, and you definitely need to remember to thaw ingredients in enough time.
I have been there, and frankly, some days I still serve breakfast for dinner (the kids love it… the husband not so much unless it includes bacon), but I am getting much better. This saves a ton of money, and well thought out meals are way better than the fast alternatives.
Learn to make things from scratch
I know time is tight! I homeschool 3 kids, teach pharmacy classes at night, and attempt to regularly post on this blog. I get the time factor for sure! But I make time to make things from scratch because the savings is phenomenal! It doesn’t have to be everything, and it definitely doesn’t have to be everything at once.
You could start with spaghetti sauce and seasoning mixes and pancakes, and work your way up to other things. I have made sauces and seasonings so many times now there is very little measuring and almost no time involved, but it saves a ton! Making from scratch saves so many chemicals which makes it healthier. The bonus on this one is you can make it taste so much better!
Organize your Home
This goes hand in hand with the clutter. People who live in organized homes spend less money. It may be because they can find what they need when they need it, or it could be they are more careful about their purchases to keep their environment uncluttered; but it’s true.
How many times haven’t you worked out because you couldn’t find clothes, shoes, and headphones? This can’t only apply to me right?…. Right?
Being more organized also lessens your stress which can lead to better decision making. You may have heard the old saying, “If you want to lose 10 pounds clean out your closet.” This is going to be a big one for me this year!
I hope you like this list! If you’d like to follow along with me, I will highlight one of these habits every month going in order. Our first habit will be highlighted later on with an incredible project! You won’t want to miss it!
Share with me your method for accomplishing your goals! I’d love to hear from you!