If saving money and eating healthier are on your list, here’s a few ways to kill two birds with one stone:
- Make the goal to cook dinner two or three days a week, eat the leftovers when you don’t want to cook and treat yourself to eating out once a week.
- If your typical social outings consist of going out to eat and drink, try inviting friends and/or family over instead and host a dinner or cocktail party. This helps you save yourself a massive bar or restaurant tab and keeps you out of the treacherous winter weather! An additional benefit of cooking at home is that you know exactly what is in your food, so there are no hidden calories.
- When grocery shopping, don’t get anything that isn’t on your list. Come to the grocery store with a complete list and stick to it to prevent impulse buys.
- Shop with coupons and find the sales! Most grocery stores, such as Marianos and Jewel-Osco, have weekly ads that highlight their sale items and coupons. Be sure to check out your favorite grocery stores weekly ad to coordinate your shopping and meal planning for the week to help you save.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to cut out everything you love, just all in moderation! If you’re a dessert person, cut down to only one or two sweets a week. Make a rule only to have social sweets. If you’re a late night snacker, eat foods that will keep you more full throughout the day! Swap white pasta for whole wheat or quinoa pasta. Having protein and “good” carbohydrate-rich meals throughout the day will help to keep you fuller longer.
If your regular alcohol consumption is a couple beers or glasses of wine a night, those calories add up too. Things such as swapping heavy, craft beers for lighter beers, drinking a glass of wine versus a couple of glasses, or limiting alcohol consumption adds up in the long run.
Maybe there’s a place or an event on your bucket list you want to go to this year? The money you save from eating in and sticking to a budget can be used to get you there. It’s easier to stick to something if you have a trip or vacation to look forward to. These are a couple of ways to still have fun and enjoy the new year, but also save some cash and calories!
Starting the new year strong is an excellent outlook for the rest of your year! Making a couple of attainable goals for yourself, simple swaps, and building up consistency is a great way to do it. You can still have those big goals, but make a some smaller, more attainable goals as well!