Hey hey! We are halfway through the week! How’s your’s going? I hope it’s going well 🙂 I am loving the responses on the recent posts. You guys are so helpful when I ask for advice!
Today I want to touch on something that seems to come up a lot in my place of work and in the blog world. I get lots of comments from my co-workers regarding the expense of eating healthful foods. I have two responses to these comments: Yes, healthful foods may cost more initially but, medical bills and poor health will cost more in the long run. Secondly, there are SO MANY WAYS to eat a very healthful, natural diet while sticking to your budget! I know, that’s awesome, right?
First, I want to touch on the well-known fact that most natural and especially organic foods are more expensive.
I will share how I’ve made room for these expenses in my budget.
1. As many of you know from other posts, I stopped getting my hair highlighted blonde and have gone back to my natural color. In addition, I stay with a low-maintenence style that I only need to have trimmed every 6-8 weeks since I am letting my hair grow. This saves me $100 every month! I would save even more if I didn’t have my hair trimmed.
2. We only eat out about once every month. This means no grabbing lunch on breaks at work. We pack our lunches. Sometimes Mallard’s company buys him lunch but this is the only exception. We also pack snack for Snuffy everywhere we go so that we don’t have to frantically grab something for her if we are away from home. When we were newly engaged, we ate out aboout 4-5 times a week! We would go to dinner 3 nights a week (that always included drinks) and to breakfast both weekend mornings! We save around $500 a month by cutting back to one meal out each month. Personally, I like making my own food anyway. I love to cook and I know exactly what’s in my food and how it’s made.
3. I no longer get manicures or pedicures. These ceased when I had a child. They are nice once in a while but I can never really seem to find time for once in a while either. This saves around $50 every month.
4. I no longer drink. I’m not saying I will never drink. I just don’t really have a desire to. I may have a drink on a special occasion. I used to visit the vineyard near our house one to two times a week. Their wine is inexpensive but wonderful. However, I discovered the sulfides were a source of my migraines. Plus, I didn’t really need the alcohol anyway. Cutting out the alcohol saves me around $50 every month!
5. I canceled my gym membership. I loved my gym and when I moved to Ohio I had a trainer there as well. Yet, since I have started attending Xavier, I have free access to their student sports facility. It’s not as convenient due to my schedule but I can make it work if I have to. When the weather is nice, outdoor activity is a great option as well. Granted, I take yoga classes at a studio. But, cutting out the gym membership still saves $20 a month with the yoga factored in.
6. I stepped down my cell phone plan. I used to may for more minutes than I really needed. My family has the same service company as I . So, that made it easy to step down. This saves me $10-$20 every month as I have the lowest plan available.
7. We stopped using shopping as a recreational activity. During the first year or so of our relationship, Mallard and I would hit up the mall or the outlets just for something to do on a weekend. We spent money on things that we didn’t REALLY need. Now, we only go shopping if we need something. Snuffy obviously grows out of clothes and needs new ones. When the seasons change I will get a few (very few) key items because I am all about quality versus quantity. I tend rotate the same outfits over about 10-14 days so my clothes get lots of wear. So, yes, I do buy quality brands especially for work clothes. But, I do not buy things just because they are cute or I think I might wear them. Yes, the brands that I buy may be more expensive than, say , Target or Kohl’s but, quality brands last longer and wear better for me, bottom line. I still save about $20 every month by NOT shopping just to shop.
8. Natural, healthy , organic foods go on sale too! I know, how awesome! If you have a Whole Foods, check their monthly flier. There are sales, coupons and meal ideas in there! Also at Whole Foods, a case of anything is 10% off!!Think frozen items, almond or soy milk, bars, yogurts, endless possibilities. They have their own store brand, too. Trader Joe’s has a store brand as well. They also have great deals on produce! Both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell items in bulk. These foods are MUCH cheaper in bulk. Think oats, dried beans, raisins, nuts, dried fruit, cereals, grains and healthful flours and spices. Bulk nuts can be used to make your own nut milks and nut butters. Buy dried fruit, carob or dark chocolate and nuts in bulk for your personal trail mix. Kroger has it’s own affordable, organic brand now as well. I understand that all of you may not have these resources available. But, there are other ways to seek out healthy food without going broke in the process. During the summer months, buy as much local produce as you can. It’s usually much cheaper than the store alternative. Read your ingredient lists! Some generic products have shorter ingredient lists and more natural ingredients than their name brand counter parts. Make a list. Most of you have heard this too many times to count. But, it really does work. It prevents you from picking up something that you may not use. I have made a huge effort to buy only items that we will use within the week or so. It’s made a huge difference.
9. I got rid of any TV channels that cost extra money. Yes, I miss True Blood but, I have no time with school, work and Snuffy anyway. We save about $20 a month.
10. We joined Sam’s Club through Mallard’s employer. He gets a free membership through his employer. So, we are able to buy things like diapers, produce and toilet paper (you know, the necessities) at a discounted price. I have heard that Cosco is better for healthy groceries. But, Sams is free so we take what we can get. We save around $30 a month on what we do buy there.
I hope you have found this somewhat helpful in your quest for budget-friendly healthful living. Sure, I spend money on Starbucks once in a while. But, I do make changes and set limits in many areas of my life so that I can afford whole, healthy natural foods for my family and so that I can live a healthy lifestyle.