I have a hard time planning meals and making a shopping list because what I've planned for may turn out to be too expensive, or I unexpectedly find another (healthy!) option that sounds better than what I planned. However, mindless wandering ends in disaster! Instead, I let myself wander the perimeter of the store, where even impulse buys will be healthy, but make a specific list for items I need from the center aisles. It gives my more freedom when I shop, but still keeps me from buying cookies!!
Try making a budget for yourself (Mint.com is a great free tool to do this). Set yourself a monthly budget. Each month, try to decrease your allowances by 5% (for the things you CAN change) and try to stick to the new budget. Alternatively, reduce your biggest spending categories by 10%! For me, that's restaurants and eating out - good on the wallet and the belly.
When on a tight budget, frozen vegetables are healthy and affordable.
This is a great money-saving move! Pick one day per month (or week) to clean out the pantry/fridge/freezer. Go over what you have and get creative to make something from it. Make soup, casserole, stir fry, whatever you can think of. If you can stretch it to a week, more power to you! It prevents older food from going to waste and saves you from a grocery run for one more day.
Instead of tracking the food I eat AFTER I eat it, I plan out my meals a week in advance.
Each week I lose weight, I am buying a gift card. This helps me to save "cash" toward achieving my goal and I am able to make the purchase. If any hiccups should come along, I can't spend the $$ (i.e., if car breaks down I don't use my Macy's gift card at Meinike).
To save money while adding variety to your exercise program:
When figuring out where your money is being spent, be very wary of tricks used to "lie" to yourself. For example, do not get cash back when using a debit card at a grocery store - then track it as "Food".
I have a blog that will teach you how to shop on an extreme budget while maintaining a beautiful wardrobe! I hope you guys will check it out...we should have nice clothes to go along with our nice new bodies :D
I have an amazing new blog about how to shop at Goodwill (yeah, I swear you can!) http://niftythriftygoodwill.
I used to do this a lot when I lived alone, and I have found a few others who also do it. If you're feeling stressed or depressed, collect some favorite songs or CDs, close the door, and have your own private dance party. You can blast the music through a stereo, or put on your headphones, and just move around. Even 15 minutes of this will raise your heart rate and your spirits. It's free, and it's all about what you enjoy and connect to. And remember: nobody's watching!!
I've worked for a very wealthy man for over 24 years! He STILL uses coupons, believe it or not. That said, I started seeking his advice and the advice of others, like Dave Ramsey and Clark Howard. As a result, I am totally DEBT FREE and have almost a quarter of a million dollars in the bank. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GET SMART & GET CHEAP!
It's the "dreaded" conversation, but both of you need to be on the same page in order to save money. Schedule a time in which neither of you are busy and sit down and discuss your budget. Doing this together as a "money saving team" means you're both more likely to stick to your budget!
Whatever you do, don't go shopping for groceries hungry!! I make poorer choices when I go to the grocery store and am famished. I want junk food, easy to prepare, and sugar...
To cut portion sizes, calories and my grocery budget I buy lean hamburger in club packs and divide it at home. I now divide it into 3/4 pound packs instead of 1 pound packs. This does not affect the taste of recipes. It cuts calories and it makes my grocery budget go further.
I'm sure this has been posted a million times, but: there is nothing rice can't be added to to create more of a meal. Can of soup + rice = meal! Can of beans + rice = meal! Chicken broth + rice = meal! Lentils + rice = meal! Potatoes + rice = meal! Frozen, fresh or canned veggies + rice = meal! I could go on and on. You get the idea. Rice is a lifesaver.
To keep myself from spending more than I had, I forecast my cash flow for the next three months. I look to the lowest point in the chart and decide what buffer I want to leave. For example, if I have $150 as the lowest point in the graph in the next three months, I'd immediately save $50 and then remember that I have $50 to spend however I want over three months, leaving a $50 buffer.
If you have Comcast cable the on demand menu has a wide variety of exercise videos. They include Jillian, biggest loser, cardio, walking and you can choose from 10 min to 30 minutes.. It gives you a chance to try the workouts before buying the videos.. and it saves you money since you already pay the cable bill!
Every year before the holidays I cash in my jar(s) of change. Anything that ends up in the couch cushions, car cup holder or washing machine goes in a jar until its time to go Christmas shopping. I usually save over $100 with this method that has become a tradition.
A way to cut corners in your pocket as well as in the kitchen. Buying fresh produce and fruit is a winner. You can always divide them up and freeze the rest for later.