I’ve decided that I need to cut back on a few things, not just for my health but for my budget too. You all know that I am in school and this means that I have a very limited budget. My husband works but his income covers the minimum expenses. I depend on student loans for all school expenses and in the end, there is little left over.
In order to enjoy the good things in life, we budget out fun things like going to the Renaissance Faire, traveling for his rugby team, nights out on the town, etc. This is why we often plan our outings ahead of time. We like to be spontaneous but our budget doesn’t always allow it.
So in order to help both the budget and the waistline at the same time, I’ve come up with a few things I can do to help.
Buy Less Coffee
I really enjoy drinking coffee. It is mostly the hot beverage that I enjoy. I could do without the caffeine and the sugar. Honestly, I usually just buy coffee and add some cream. It does add up after a while though and I could easily cut back on this. Also, I’ve been forgetting to order decaf lately and I hate the jittery feeling I get later on. I have access to areas where I can make coffee or tea for free, and I should use them.
This one seems almost silly to include but it is true. Just eat less! Right now, I’m maintaining my weight but it would be a great thing to start burning some fat. That requires more workouts, lots of lifting, and watching my diet. I can afford to cut a few hundred calories per day from my diet without feeling fatigued or any other negative issues. If I eat less, I’m buying less food. There’s more money for other things!
So I really haven’t been eating my packed lunches lately because I just don’t really like what I made. But I really need to learn to love leftovers so I’m not buying lunch and dinner all the time. This involves not only cooking more often but cooking more from recipes. Since I don’t like my own leftovers (leftover take out is another story!), then it is obviously my cooking. To fix that, I need to start cracking open my cookbooks more to ensure no food goes to waste. Besides, it is so much easier to eat healthy when you know what is going into your food!
Buy Cheap Stuff
I actually already do this but thought I should include it. We shop at a wholesale store and a produce outlet. We also generally just buy whatever is cheapest or on sale. Store brands are generally pretty good! For things that I am brand-specific for, I wait until it is on sale or I have a coupon. Or I buy multiples when it is a really great price (I probably have a year’s worth of bar soap – 50 cents!!) Expensive doesn’t always mean better. And eating healthy? Well, it isn’t so hard if all you are buying is veggies, fruits, and meats. It’s those packaged foods that start to add up!
Use What I Have
My pantry is pretty well packed at the moment. I’ve got stockpiles of rice, lots of spices, lots of flours, seeds, nuts… We also just went and did a big purchase at BJ’s Wholesale and stocked up on meat. I don’t want this stuff to go back so I need to use it! This should also cut my grocery list down to the basics and perishables. I should really only need to buy vegetables for the next few weeks.
Need or Want?
Finally, do you really need it? Sometimes you just think you need it but it is really just a want. Stop and really think about it. Do you already have one but its old. You don’t need it. This one can be tough for me because sometimes you just want something new! When I reach my breaking point, I usually go out and get a new $9 nail polish. It feels like such a splurge because that’s the expensive nail polish but I don’t get manicures and I didn’t buy a $400 Coach bag so it really isn’t so bad. It just makes me feel less deprived.
Remember Your Goals
Also, just remember why you are doing all of this. For me, it is mostly out of necessity! I need to make it through each week, month, etc. There isn’t a lot to go around so I want to be able to do fun things now and then. If you remember why you are saving so much, it is easier to do. Would you rather buy Starbucks every day or go on a vacation at the end of the year? Same thing goes for health and weight loss. Is that fast food that you are craving really worth coming short of your goals? Post pictures on your fridge, your phone, in your bathroom. This will keep your goals alive and on your mind and it will be easier to stick with your money saving habits!
Can’t go back to Ireland one day without saving for it!
Same thing goes for the amazing shape I was in when this picture was taken!
Do you have any habits that benefit both your budget and your healthy lifestyle?