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Neighborhood Credit Union

How You Can Save Some Green and Eat Some as Well

Published January 4, 2018

By Jordan Ottaway

It’s the new year and you’re probably like me where two of your New Year’s resolutions include saving money and eating a little healthier. Can you truly accomplish both this year? Despite popular belief, you can.

What’s true is that Americans are feeling so overwhelmed with all the information on healthy living that they don’t know where to start. According to a 2015 study, 43 percent of Americans think that living a modern lifestyle makes it hard to be healthy. Some are even think they’re doomed to fail.

You’re not.

This is a battle I’ve been fighting with myself for a long time, and I want to let you in on what I learned will is helping me save some green while eating some as well. My hope is that it helps you and gives you a place to start. Let’s go.

Make a plan

If you’re not sure where to begin, making a plan is a great first step. Not only does this help you set goals for yourself, but you also have a documented strategy on how you PLAN to reach those goals. (See what I did there?)

After wanting to eat healthier and workout on a more consistent basis, this was the first step I took and it helped me immensely. My plan is a simple Excel spreadsheet that I made to look like a calendar. (There are templates all over Google and within Excel.) I wrote down what meal I wanted to cook and also noted whether I would go to the gym that day as well. Here’s an example:

Calendar

It can be as simple as that. By making a plan for myself, I had something tangible that served as a reminder to help keep me on track.

Cook for yourself

This is a BIG money-saver. According to a CNBC study, if you went to eat out every workday spending around $10 per meal, that means you would blow around $2,500 per year on eating out for lunch alone. Think of what you could do with an extra $2,500 in your pocket.

To take it even further, average people spend about $75 per week eating out. If you took that $75 and went to the grocery store, you could buy a week’s worth of healthy snacks and ingredients for meals. Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Cooking doesn’t have to be a time suck either. When I was first starting out, I took to the internet and looked up recipes that could be prepared and cooked in 30 minutes or less. And if you have a free Sunday afternoon, use it for meal prep so you can save even more time throughout the week.

Now I’m not saying you should never go out. That would be crazy because that means I would not be able to enjoy my favorite enchilada plate. Eating out should be a treat. Not a regular Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Shop smart

It’s never really fun to trudge through the grocery store every week, but the time is well worth the wholesome meals that come from it. If you shop smart that is.

If there is one thing I’m never without when I make my weekly grocery run, it’s my list. Having my list helps me stay focused to buy only what I know I’ll use for meals and eliminate the chance of wasting food. It also helps me get in and out quicker. That’s the real bonus. So, make a list the next time you go grocery shopping. You won’t regret it.

I’ve come to avoid pre-packaged foods when I can and do most of my shopping along on the outer edges of the store. That is where the produce, fresh meat, and dairy products are located.

Buying healthy foods don’t have to break the bank. Heck, my grocery bill for this week was $75.39 and that bought me a variety of yogurts, fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, chicken, and other odds and ends I need to make healthy meals.

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of your grocery store’s reward offering for even more savings.

Keep yourself hydrated

Not only does it help you stay healthy and energetic, but it can even save you a little bit of money. Yes, just hear me out.

During my move to a more stable diet, I saw that I was snacking a lot in between meals. Those little costs started to add up and I wanted to see if there was a way I could cut back. Water to the rescue.

I quickly learned that I was often confusing thirst for hunger, so I wanted to test it out to make sure. Whenever I felt hungry, I went and got a glass of water to drink and went about my day. I saw that most of the time my “hunger” went away and I felt fine until my next meal.

green cup

If you have a travel mug or tumbler you can keep water in, use it to track how much water you drink and try and steadily use it throughout your day. I have a 30-ounce tumbler sitting on my desk every day that I’m constantly refilling.

Here’s to a healthier, more profitable 2018!

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