No doubt we're in the middle of a recession, so disposable expenses are limited. Some people may cutback on clothing spending, others on their daily lattes, driving less, but the worst thought is to rely a diet on fast food. NO! Don't do it! Despite a tight budget and not being able to dine out frequently (which isn't always healthy anyway), do take some time to figure out a plan to spend less yet still keep a healthy diet. Here are some of my ideas. Please feel free to suggest yours as well!
1) BUY IN BULK
Beans are cheap, pack with proteins and very filling. I used to reply a lot on canned beans, but I've a pressure cooker, so why not buy the dried beans and make my own dishes? Besides, making them from scratch has a better texture and flavor. So instead of buying canned beans, go to a local store and buy in bulk and stretch out the dollar value.
2) USE COUPONS
Don't be ashamed to use coupon in the supermarket. Very cents add up. Clip them when you find the products you wish to purchase and store the coupon in a neat envelope or an organizer. So the next time you go grocery shopping, just bring it along so you can use the coupons!
3) FORGO THE CAFFEINE
No, you don't HAVE to give up caffeine all together, just don't buy your daily coffee from a gourmet cafe everyday. Instead, buy an insulated mug and make your own coffee at home and bring it along with you on your daily commute to work or school. Hypothetically, a cup of fancy coffee costs $3, so 5 weekdays would be $15 and a month would be $60!
4) DON'T FORSAKEN ORGANIC
A little goes a long way. It's still important to buy organic foods, just pick and choose. There are some fruits that don't 'need' to be organic, such as bananas and oranges. But for fruits and vegetarians that are often consumed with the skin on, it's worth it to buy the organic version. It's your health, so it's a good investment.
Walking is considered a form of exercise. You don't need an expensive gym membership to stay in shape. There are lots of other inexpensive ways, such as taking the stairs, carrying your groceries in the supermarket, window shopping (YES!), playing with your kids or small cousins, or doing the hoop-la-loop while watching your favorite TV shows. Oh! Recently, a lot of bloggers have been recommending to download some free yoga moves, so that's good too! Remember, workout doesn't always have to be intense. Every little bit helps.
6) COOK AT HOME
Yea, I get too tired to cook every night, but if you make a whole batch on the weekend, you can freeze some for the rest of the week. Some common meals that are freezeable are lasagna, sauces, bread, fruits, rice (don't freeze too long though), beans (cooked) and meat. Cooking can also be therapeutic. The process of chopping up vegetables or feeling your dough is quite relaxing and releases stress. And to know what you put in your food makes you feel healthy and that you've accomplished a great deed.
There are lots more advices out there, so these are just a few. Have in fear. We can stay healthy. Our ancestors never had microwaves and they survived, so we can too! :)