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10 Healthy Habits That Will Save You Money

10 Healthy Habits That Will Save You Money

These healthy habits will help you look and feel good on a budget. If you’d like to boost your bank account while getting fit and healthy, try out these easy-to-implement health tips.

1. Establish a six-pack limit.

Confession: I love alcohol. Whether it’s a white russian, red wine, dark beer (Guinness especially) or straight-up liquor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an alcoholic beverage I can’t say “cheers!” to. Of course, drinking too much is no good for your wallet or your waistline. For evidence, look no further than that guy you knew in high school who used to be a ripped monster (but now has an uber-big beer belly). That is the consequence of drinking way too much. To maintain a healthy weight and save money, limit yourself to 6 drinks per week. That could be one serving of alcohol per day, or, if getting drunk is your style, you’re welcome to save it for the weekend. Have fun (but don’t get carried away!).

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2. If you’re gonna eat out, split a dish.

Restaurant prices and portions are out of control these days. If you’re going out on a date, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress if you can split a dish. They are 99.9% likely to say “yes,” and you’ll spare some dough (not to mention that upset stomach you usually have after eating out).

3. Brew delicious coffee at home.

I love Starbucks as much as the next person, but a lot of folks get too carried away. You do realize that if you spend $3 per day on over-priced (and sugar-laden) coffee drinks, you’re out $90 per month, right? Even if you cut that in two, it is just too much. Think about what you could do with all of that money: the vacations you could take, the beaches you could visit, the things you could do! Convinced? Right then: I know some of you probably go to Starbucks because you don’t like real coffee. You like the sugar-bomb drinks masquerading as coffee (and at a mark-up!). For a healthier (and more budget-friendly) coffee, brew it at home. Add a dash of cinnamon and a splash of milk, then stir and enjoy (you’ll thank me later). For more ways to make your coffee super healthy, click here.

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4. Shop for meals (not just stuff).

Have you ever made the mistake of going to the store while you were so hungry that you could eat your hand? I have. Let’s just say the contents of my shopping card were a bit, shall we say, excessive? Hungry or not, going to the store without a plan is a sure-fire way to waste money. Instead of making a general shopping list, make a weekly cooking list. Write down everything you plan to eat for the next 7 days and list every ingredient you will need below your meals. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in your shopping cart. Click here for a big list of over 100 quick and easy healthy recipe ideas that will make you say “nom, nom!”

5. Start a food diary.

Did you know a pen and paper can help you save money and get healthy? True story. Do this: write down every meal you eat for the next week. Also include any details like what time you ate, how you felt after eating (did your meal make you feel happy and fulfilled or sad and lethargic?), and a rating of how much you enjoyed your meal from 1-10. I would be willing to wager you’ll discover that natural, healthy foods like fruits and veggies make you feel a whole lot better than processed junk. This isn’t news: you know it — I know it — we all know it. But keeping a diary and being aware of the effect food has on your mood, energy, and body makes it a whole lot more personal (so you’re going to be more likely to make better decisions in the future!). While you’re at it, you should also start a training diary: click here to find out why.

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6. Keep your closet tidy and organized.

Get a really big bag and keep it in the bottom of your closet (an over-sized department store bag or trash-bag would work). As clothes become old and neglected, they go in the bag. If you can’t remember the last time you wore it, it goes in the bag. Every time your bag fills up, take your clothes to a local thrift store to make some dough (cha-ching!) and give the rest away to a charity (or friend) of your choice. Eliminating clutter will help you reduce stress (and who can argue with some extra spending money?).

7. Squeeze exercise into your busy schedule.

If you’re a member of club broke (or even if you’re not), it’s totally okay to work out at home. Exercise is the best medicine you’re not taking (and it’s a whole lot cheaper than that over-the-counter stuff!). It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You could wake up 30 minutes early and start your day with a dog walk or neighborhood run. You could park super far away or take the stairs to get some extra walking in. You could invest in a chin-up bar (or just grab onto a tree branch) and build a strong back that’s less prone to injury. Can’t do push-ups? Do incline push-ups on a wall, counter, or sturdy table. Any exercise is better than no exercise, so get moving (no matter how long you have!).

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8. Brown bag your lunch.

This tip is obvious, but it’s obvious because it works. If you’ve never tried preparing and packing your own lunch, just try it for a week or two. Compare the expense of eating out to the cost of cooking in and I have no doubt you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you’re short on time, prepare 3-7 days of food at a time and refrigerate or freeze it as applicable (and then you can just “zap” it at meal time).

9. Feel the wind in your face.

Since gas is one of the most expensive things ever, why not turn a negative for your bank account into a positive for your body and environment? If you live close enough, bike to work. You’ll save tons of cash on gas, lose weight, and release endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals that make you feel on top of the world). If biking to work is out of the question, try to squeeze a quick walk into your morning and/or lunch hour.

10. Stick with it.

The best fitness plan is worthless if you can’t stick with it for more than a few weeks or months. I know changing your negative habits isn’t easy, but you just gotta do it. If you have a lot of bad habits and aren’t sure how to start, check out my guide to breaking bad habits once and for all.

I hope putting these healthy habits in practice helps you feel happy, look good, and save money. If you have any other cost-saving health tips, please post them below. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask.

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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