All Entries For saving money
Specialty workout clothes might not be a necessity to your exercise program, but the sweat-wicking fabrics and body-hugging designs sure can help! Clothes designed for exercise are made for bodies in motion; they're designed to fit right and stay put when you're on the go so that you stay comfortable. Both high-tech synthetic fabrics, and natural ones such as wool, can help pull sweat away from your body so you stay dry. That means you'll be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—and that's more than a comfort issue. Regulating body temperature also keeps you safe. But beyond functionality, workout clothes are just plain motivating! Unfortunately, all that motivation comes at a price.
Last year, I confessed that I tend to spend more on workout clothes than I do everyday attire. $50 for one pair of pants. $15 for special wool hiking socks. $45 for a winter performance top. And I won't even get into the shoes, which need to be replaced every few hundred miles.
More than 60% of SparkPeople members agree that new workout clothes motivate them to exercise, but when asked what they tend to wear during their workouts, a whopping 75% wear "any old clothes" they have. The high cost of workout wear is a major deterrent for many.
Luckily, it doesn't have to be. Although I occasionally splurge on the high priced items, most of the time, I am a bargain shopper who wants high quality at a low price. Since I've been buying workout clothes for more than a decade, I have a few tried and true tricks that I use to refresh my own workout wardrobe on a budget. Here are some of my best tips on how to save money on workout clothes! Read More ›
This post started as a list of ways to use hummus. Then it evolved into a bit of a foodie braindump. All these great tips and tricks have been floating around my brain for the past few months. It's time I shared these quick, affordable kitchen tips and healthy eats with you! I hope you find them useful and inspiring.
- Make your own nut butter. It's so much cheaper, and there's no added salt! Toast raw nuts until they're barely fragrant, then run through the food processor. I start by running them through the slicing attachment, then put in the chopping blade and let them break down, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add cinnamon, maple syrup or dark cocoa powder for extra special treats.
- Poached eggs are delicious: atop a bowl of pasta and tomato sauce, on a salad, and on a bowl of savory oatmeal. The broken yolk makes a delicious, creamy sauce. Trust me. It's life-changingly delicious, especially atop the pasta.
- Shredded carrots tossed with hummus that's been thinned with a tablespoon of water is a wonderful side salad. I grate a bag of carrots (using my food processor) every week and use them in stir-fries, casseroles and salads.
- Hummus is a secret weapon:
- Add it to tomato sauce instead of cream or milk.
- Hummus and salsa is even better than cheesy Mexican dip. Warm it for an over-the-top guiltless treat.
- Use hummus instead of mayo. More flavor, less fat!
- Hummus makes a great salad dressing, and you can even thin it with broth or water to make a dressing for pasta salad--great with peppers, onions, cucumbers, olives and other Mediterranean staples.
- Add it to tomato sauce instead of cream or milk.
This May, the SparkPeople Store is offering free shipping on all orders of $50 or more! Be sure to take advantage of this limited time offer by stocking up on spring essentials like water bottles, fitness towels, SparkPeople T-shirts and tank tops and more. Of course, one of my DVDs would be a great addition to your home gym, too!
In addition to this free shipping offer for May, we've also grouped some of our most popular fitness items into a great money-saving "Fitness Bundle" package for only $50. So what's in the bundle? Read More ›
Like most of you, I love spring—and not just because it allows me to enjoy the outdoors. I am also excited because it marks the start of gardening season! With all the environmental and economic troubles we're facing, gardening is on the rise. Growing your own food on your own land is local food at its best. And it's inexpensive to boot! While healthy food does cost more at the store, growing your own fruits and vegetables can save you tons of money over the course of one season. All you need are some seeds, some dirt and a little water and you can grow your own food!
I am just beginning to plan my new garden and I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt. I've been daydreaming about my garden plans and all the fresh, delicious bounty my little plot will yield in the coming months.
This has led me to wonder: Do you grow any of your own food? Read More ›
When I was younger, my favorite author was Laura Ingalls Wilder, and of her books, Farmer Boy, was the one I reread most often.
Recounting the childhood of her husband, Almanzo Wilder, on an upstate New York farm, Farmer Boy is full of details about cooking from scratch and feeding a family. Together with the Little House cookbook, this book fueled my daydreams of cooking from scratch and being a pioneer girl. Fast forward 20 years, and some of those daydreams are a reality. I cook almost everything we eat from scratch, from spaghetti sauce and soup to granola and yogurt.
Yes, yogurt. While Almanzo and Laura milked cows, I buy mine from the supermarket--a local brand that makes milk the old-fashioned way.
A few months back, I started thinking about ways to cut out even more processed foods and saving money on our food bills. We're keen on granola, berries and Greek yogurt as a snack or breakfast. I already make my own granola, and I picked berries last summer and froze them. The only place to scrimp was the yogurt. We eat Greek yogurt, but it's really pricey--sometimes up to $5 or $6 a quart for the organic brand I like. I knew I had to find a cheaper alternative. When my boyfriend's mom gave us her slow cooker, I found my answer. Read More ›
Just how many meals can you get from one recipe? No, this is not a Food Network challenge but a real life, “how am I going to make it through the week and provide my family with some healthy, fast, and flavorful meals?” scenario. I am a working mother to three and wife who fits daily exercise into her life. I strive to, at some point over the weekend, make a one dish meal and turn it into two or three meals for the early part of the week or for “fall back freezer meals.”
Today let's take a look at one recipe, my Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, then see how this versatile, healthy and filling dish can be stretched for a few meals. The soup itself makes 12 servings, plus an extra quart of broth, so there are plenty of possibilities! Read More ›
Obesity and its medical complications are an expensive problem in the United States. Because the costs continue to rise, the government is offering tax incentives to entice people to lose weight. At this time of year when you're thinking about improving your health and also filing tax returns, why not do something that can benefit both? Read More ›
Once upon a time, this dailySpark blogger was a naïve 19-year-old college sophomore, studying in France and enjoying her first overseas experience. My two best friends at the time were Maria, who is from Russia, and Jen, a German. They were sophisticated, well-traveled and tri-lingual. Sticking close to them, I learned much about the European lifestyle.
Our first day in France, we stopped at a small café for lunch. They ordered first, asking for a baguette sandwich avec un Perrier, s'il vous plaît. They had raved about this special European drink that wasn't readily available at our university in southeast Ohio. I had only heard it mentioned on TV and in movies.
We sat down with our lunches and started eating. Thirsty after a long flight and a busy morning of sightseeing, I took a big swig of my clear, bubbly beverage and nearly spat it out. It tasted like what happened when the soda machine ran out.
Sour, too fizzy and just plain bad.
At 19, I wasn't so great at standing out from the crowd, so during my entire three-month stay, I kept ordering Perrier or other kinds of l'eau gazeuse. It seemed to be a "cool" yet calorie-free beverage.
People change, tastes change and nine years later, I wish all my water had bubbles. Club soda, seltzer, Perrier, San Pellegrino… I love it all. While most of my eight cups a day are plain old flat tap water, I do indulge in bubbly water whenever I can. It's just such a treat for my tongue.
I was thinking about buying an old-fashioned seltzer canister, but then I saw the Soda Stream on another blog. Bubbly water and better-for-you seltzers and sodas at home? I would be able to make bubbly water without feeling guilty for importing it from halfway around the world in a plastic bottle. I couldn't wait to check it out! Read More ›
When economic times are tough, consumers have to find ways to tighten their wallets and trim spending. Although gym memberships and fancy home equipment are nice to have, often they become something we can no longer afford. According to new research, Americans have been trimming their workout budgets and opting for cheaper ways to get active. Read More ›
When it comes to Thanksgiving, it's not just the calories and fat content that many of us have to worry about--it's the price. The average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $42.91, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. (That's good news! It marks a 4 percent decrease since last year.)
This time of year, the added cost of a huge meal for the entire family can be intimidating. While we want to entertain our loved ones and give them a tasty, nutritious and bountiful spread, we also need to be able to keep food on the table for the rest of the month.
We know that for many of us, Thanksgiving is the beginning of a long--and often expensive--holiday season. We embrace frugal living and know you do, too. So we've asked readers, SparkPeople experts and few dietitians to share tips on how they save money on their Turkey Day dinner. We've got dozens of ideas to help you save money from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
Read More ›
Health conscious people desire to get the most nutrition for the least amount of money but for many of us, knowing how to do that can be difficult. I have previously written several articles related to recession eating that outline some strategies you can use. Now, there may be a new tool to help.
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In a recent IBM study, about three-fourths of the consumers interviewed revealed they still want quality and nutrition along with value when making food purchases during these more difficult financial times. The Braun research group conducted 4,000 telephone interviews with people across the United States from all income levels. Of those 4,000 people interviewed, almost half are now shopping at multiple stores to find the best deals. A third of the respondents indicated they have changed supermarkets to save money as well. Many expressed willingness to reduce spending on prepared foods, individual serving beverages, and clothing but not on meats or poultry. When the recession ends, about 60% expect to continue shopping for the best deal.
Where are they finding the best deals?
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We all know that too much sodium is bad for your health. But did you know just how bad it is for our wallets? According to new research, if Americans could cut their sodium intake to the levels recommended by health experts, the country would save about $18 billion in annual health care costs. Read More ›
This dailySpark guest blog post was written by a SparkPeople member whose healthy lifestyle is fueled by fresh food from her local farmers markets. Here, she shares tips on eating at a farmers market.
By Christina Certo (BANANAFISH711)
Embracing the bounty of the summer harvest season is a great way to help turn your weight-loss journey into a permanent healthy lifestyle. One excellent way to do this is by seeking out local farmers markets and roadside farm stands in your area.
Here are 10 reasons to buy produce from your local farmers market this season: Read More ›
Last week, my good friend blogged about going strawberry picking with her husband and two kids. They visited a "pick your own" farm and picked 20 pounds (yes, POUNDS) of strawberries. All it cost them was 2 hours of their time and about $30.
If you're familiar with how much strawberries cost at the supermarket—and I surely am, since they are my favorite fruit in the world and I wait ALL YEAR for strawberry season—then you know how expensive they can be. One quart of strawberries (approximately 2 pounds of fruit) at the store can cost up to $4 to $8, depending on the season and region where you live—especially if you buy organic, since strawberries are one of the most heavily sprayed crops).
But monetary cost is only one part of the food equation. In truth, these berries often travel hundreds or thousands of miles from the farms where they were grown to the shelves in your supermarket. That has a high environmental cost—but even if you don't care much about that, it still affects the flavor, freshness and nutrient levels of your food. The longer any fruit or vegetable goes from farm to table, the more vitamins are lost along the way. And I won't even get into the taste! When was the last time you ate a vine-ripened, sunshine-warmed strawberry—or any fruit or vegetable for that matter—straight off the plant? If you said "Never," or that you "Can't remember," then my friend, it is time for you to make like a farmer and head to the fields pick your own. Read More ›