My goals right now are simple, eat healthy and save money.
After a big life change and getting accustom to living on one income again I decided that both my diet and budget could use an overhaul. When I figured out how much money was being spent frivolously on Uber Eats and take out I was alarmed. I knew the only way I could take control of the situation was to come up with a game plan and get serious.
We've all done the cheap pasta diet but it's not exactly the epitome of nutrition. My goal is to get the most nutritious meal for the cheapest price. I've allotted myself $150 a week for groceries, take out and entertainment. It might seem like a lot for one person but I was previously spending double that. Those get together's with friends add up!
Here are some tips that have helped me and what I've learned so far:
01:: Eating plant based - Maybe you're not totally plant based yet? Maybe this will be the kick you need to convert you for good? Meat is expensive so here's a good chance to see if you can go totally meat free and save some cash while doing it.
02:: Eat before meeting up with friends if it's not in the budget. Grab a drink or an inexpensive appetizer so you don't feel awkward.
03:: Meal plan! Every Sunday I sit down and figure out my weekly menu. Then I put together a list of groceries that I will need so I don't stray when I go grocery shopping.
04:: Don't be afraid of those "last day" produce bins. If you can use them that evening then you've just scored yourself 50% off!
05:: Buy in bulk. Items like rice and beans (staples in a lot of my meals) are incredibly inexpensive if purchased in bulk. I also buy my beans dried, never canned.
06:: Go to the inexpensive supermarkets. I go to china town because it's insanely cheap but when I can't make it there I go to No Frills or FreshCo. Just make sure you give your produce a good look over before purchasing.
07:: Don't buy everything organic. It's hard, I know. I want to buy everything organic but sometimes it's not necessary and it will help save a ton of money. You may have heard of the "dirty dozen" list, stick to this when buying organic.
08:: Don't follow recipes to a T. Sometimes recipes ask for obscure items that aren't totally necessary. Feel free to make some substitutions or leave them out all together.
09:: Stop getting coffee, tea, lattes or cappuccinos everyday. This was a tough one for me because I love walking to the neighbourhood cafe and grabbing something fancy but it adds up. Instead of going everyday, I limited myself to going 3 times a week and right there I saved $15 - $20 a week.
10:: Pay with cash. In a world where plastic seems to rule, most people rarely carry cash on them. If you have a budget of $150 a week, take $150 cash out and use only that. Put everything else into savings. Having the physical cash that's available to you in your hand will give you a better visual of how much you are spending.
I am only about 3 months into my new budget and have saved double what I was saving per month before. So far I am proud of myself for sticking to my plan. It's not always easy but it is always totally worth it.
If you have any great tips to add please feel free to comment!