Some people will tell you that it’s impossible to eat healthy and save money. I’m here to tell you they are wrong.
Five years ago, after my husband and I got married, we lived in a one bedroom, one bath apartment and made just enough money to pay our bills with a little left over (if it was a good month). Six months into marriage, I decided that I was tired of the on-again-off-again dieting; I was ready for lifestyle changed (think: everything in the pantry being thrown into the trash can). With our salaries, I knew I would have to be creative to make this change affordable- but also lasting.
We will celebrate five years in June., and I am very proud to say that while the queso and ice cream have won a few times, I have stuck to my healthy lifestyle all of these years without going over $100 per week in groceries.
Are you saying, “There is no way! Eating healthy is so expensive and takes up so much time. There is something she isn’t telling us,”? Trust me- it took a lot of research, planning and discipline to be in this part of my journey. However, every part of my plan is about as practical as a lifestyle change can come! Here are four ways you can start trimming off those pounds and have financial freedom:
Make Pinterest your friend.
I have found all of my favorite recipe blogs and food techniques from Pinterest. Did I mention a Pinterest account is free? I love that you can create a “Recipe” board and save everything in one place. It makes life easier to be able to reference your saved recipes when you’re making your weekly plan and prepping for the grocery store.
Plan your meals and list before you shop.
Whatever you do, DO NOT walk into the grocery store without a list in your hand. I guarantee you that you’ll spend at least $20 less with a list, if not more. Take an hour the night before your grocery store trip. First, plan for the necessities, and then, plan out your meals for the week. I may be particular about this part, but I prefer to map out my favorite grocery stores and plan my list according to the layout of the store. Personally, it keeps me from getting distracted by that bag of Caramel M&M’s at the end of the aisle that calls to me.
Shop what’s on sale.
We eat a lot of veggies and fruit. Let’s say I put oranges on my list for that week, but when I arrive at the store, apples are on sale for a $1 less than the bag of oranges. I will grab the apples instead. I am not brand loyal; I buy what’s on sale. So, if I have almond milk on my list, guess what brand goes into my cart? If you answered, “the least expensive,” then you are correct! Also, always compare generic brands with the name brands. They will almost always save you money and taste the same (or better!).
Stick to your budget.
Our grocery budget stays at $400 every month. We make it work. If we only have $50 left at the end of the month, we try to clean out our pantry and make a meal out of what we have and hope there is some type of meat on sale that week! Try your hardest to not go over the budget that is set for your groceries. Food should account for 5-15% of your total budget- including eating out. Do the math for your family, and try to stick to a challenging but doable goal.
Speaking of a healthy lifestyle, we are hosting one of our biggest fundraisers of the year- our 3rd Annual Charity Trail Run- next Saturday, April 14 at Red Mountain Park. We have a 1 Mile Fun Run for the beginners, and a 5K and 10K Trail Run for the more advanced. We have a “Sleeping In” option, and you don’t even have to show up (but you’ll be supporting a great cause AND receive a t-shirt)! One hundred percent of our proceeds will go to supporting financial literacy in the Birmingham metro area! Click here to register.
Written by: Georgia Hux
April 6, 2018