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30 Budget Backyard DIY Ideas That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous

30 Budget Backyard DIY Ideas That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous

The idea of DIY has changed considerably in recent times, both inside and outside of the home. Creative thinking and the rise of online video tutorials have enabled home-owners to revamp their properties and make their homes look luxurious (for example), even if they are operating on a tight budget. This creates an even playing field throughout society. Now, even modest homes can be transformed into picturesque abodes.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the some examples of affordable, low budget backyard DIY ideas that will optimize your outdoor space. Consider the following options to make your neighbors jealous.

1. Create Grand and Innovative Outdoor lighting using Solar Power

Even if you are unfamiliar with how solar energy works, this technology offers a sustainable way of lighting the exterior of your home. With this in mind, consider replacing all outdoor bulbs with solar lights. Place this in a waterproof frame or case that can be hung from a tree or the facade of your home. If you use a simple wooden case, be sure to treat this with a suitable and protective varnish.

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    2. Install Exterior Mirrors to Create the Illusion of Space in your Garden

    While this may sound odd, clean and simple mirrors can be strategically placed in your garden to create the illusion of space. Whether you want to use interior mirrors or create a product that has been recycled from old windows is unimportant, as long as you fit them securely and position them in a way that makes your back garden appear bigger in size.

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      3. Create Mirrored Lawn Ornaments Using Looking Glass Spray-Paint

      On a similar note, you can also create an eclectic array of garden ornaments using looking glass spray-paint. Simply select ornaments of various sizes and shapes and apply two coats of the paint. Leave them outside to dry overnight, before giving them pride of place in your garden.

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        4. Make a Multi-Person Swing

        Here’s another breathtakingly simple idea. It is possible to take a pallet and some discarded rope to create a functional, multi-purpose swing. Pallets can be sourced for free from local warehouses or supermarkets. Brand new lengths of rope can be purchased for a nominal fee of between $5 and $15, depending on the size. You can then secure the rope to each corner of the pallet. Remember to ensure that it is hung safely from a sturdy tree branch.

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          5. Coat Planters and Plant Pots with Glow in the Dark Paint

          Whether you are an avid gardener or not, most households have access to large planters or smaller scale plant pots. Furniture brand IKEA stores even sell basic plant pots for as little as $1. You can transform these into affordable and sustainable night lights using glow-in-the-dark paint. The whole project can cost as little as $5 to add a definite wow factor to your garden.

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            6. Use Wooden Stakes and Material to Create Outdoor Lounge Hammocks

            Hammocks offer an ideal resting place during the summer. Homemade versions can be easily be made using wooden stakes and your material of choice. Simply take your wooden stakes and fix them securely in the ground, using a total of four to create a triangular shape. Then take your material, like recycled nylon hammocks or simply use discarded bed sheets, and attach them to the stakes to create three individual resting places.

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              7. Fashion a Makeshift Splash Pad Using Tarp and a Spinkler

              If you have a garden slide but are struggling to find a suitable landing space, you can create an effective splash pad using some tarp and a sprinkler. Tarp can be purchased for up to $20, depending on the precise area of material that you require. If you do not have sprinklers in your garden, you can achieve the same effect with an outdoor hose and running water.

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                8. Take Glow-in-the-Dark Necklaces and Bracelets and Create a Fun Outdoor Game

                Those long summer nights are ideal for outdoor entertainment. They also offer you an opportunity to develop a host of fun, interactive and creative games. If you want to challenge your kids to a few evening rounds of ring toss, for example, you can create this by fixing a wooden stake or metal pole in the ground while using glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces to pitch.

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                  9. Create a Waterproof Frame filled with Flat Stones to Wash your Feet after Frolicking

                  Frolicking outdoors can create mess, and the last thing you want to do is tread this back into your house. So after a day playing with your children or gardening, why not rinse off your feet and hands outdoors with a DIY frame? Simply craft a wooden box and coat it in waterproof sealant before filling it with flat stones and placing it near your back door. You can then wash using a fresh water supply, while also giving your feet or hands a smooth massage.

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                    10. Paint the stones in your garden

                    While stones may seem like mundane garden objects, they often have smooth surfaces that are receptive to paint and color. This offers you a unique opportunity to infuse your garden space with brights shades and hues. You apply block colors or mix it up and paint intricate patterns. So long as each stone is painted as part of an overall vision and theme, you can create a colorful aesthetic that will be the envy of your neighbors.

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                      11. Spray-Paint Metal Outdoor Chairs for Outdoor Entertaining

                      Most of us own at least one or a handful of metal garden chairs, which tend to rust or deteriorate over time. They can be refreshed easily and cheaply, however, simply by spray-painting them in your choice of colors. Don’t forget the importance of a suitable and purposeful spray-paint. Rustoleum primer and Krylon are amongst the best for this particular task.

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                        12. Use Toilet Paper to Fashion Effective Seed Paper

                        Growing colorful plants and flowers remains the best way of embellishing your garden space, but it can be expensive to ensure that they achieve their full potential. You can use toilet paper to fashion cheap and effective seed paper, however. The tissues help to absorb moisture and space out smaller seeds, such as carrots or smaller vegetables. Considering how cheap toilet paper is, this can help you to save money without compromising on the look of your garden.

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                          13. Place Diapers in the Bottom of your Plant Pots

                          Interestingly, toilet paper is not the only money saving tip that can help you to effectively grow your plants. By placing diapers at the bottom of your plant pots, you can ensure that your plants retain their moisture and look fresher for longer. This will improve the overall look of your garden without forcing you to spend outside of your means.

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                            14. Repurpose your Tree Stumps

                            Tree stumps are often considered in a negative light, although they can be creatively re-purposed to create a unique garden feature. Simply by placing and securing plywood or oak over the top of an exposed tree stump, you can create a functional table for little or no cost. Alternatively, you can decorate a stump in attractive summer flowers or moss to create a unique exterior adornment.

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                              15. Use Exterior Latex Floor Paint to Bring your Patio to Life

                              The concrete tiles on your patio are an often overlooked aspect of your garden, but typically they can present a dull and faded aesthetic. You can correct this with a single tin of exterior latex floor paint. This will add color to your patio, while giving the surface tough and long-lasting protection. Be sure to apply two coats, and use non-glare paint to create a low level of sheen.

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                                16. Invest in Low Cost Rope Lighting to Line the Boundary of your Garden

                                Available online from sites such as Amazon, rope lighting is sold in fixed lengths. Consumers can usually purchase up to ten meters for as little as $30. This is waterproof and can be used to line the boundary of your garden, creating a chain of light that illuminates the space at light. You can even put it on an automated timer. You can also use ropes as dividers to separate the rope from the lawn or decking.

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                                  17. Integrated a Beer Cooler into your Patio Table

                                  If you want to add functionality to a stylish patio table, you should look to integrate a beer cooler into the surface. This is easy enough to do if your table is manufactured from a thick material such as oak. You can simply hollow out a small, rectangular section of the surface and line this with a standard cooler. Then add some ice and store your beers inside during summer barbecues and parties.

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                                    18. Use Part of a Dismantled Trampoline as a Makeshift Diving Board

                                    Sometimes, the best DIY ideas can be created free of charge using existing household items. If you have ever owned a trampoline, for example, you will know that this is a product sold in single parts that need to be fitted together to create the finished product. By taking the surface of the trampoline, you can align it with your pool to create a safe and makeshift diving board. If you do not own a trampoline, simply head online and buy a flat jumping mat for between $50 and $60.

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                                      19. Create an Outdoor Shower Using just a Hose and Homemade Rigging

                                      As recent reports concerning the dangers of radioactive exports from Japan prove, the U.S. and European nations are fortunate to enjoy an uncontaminated supply of water and food. If you want to capitalize on this to turn your garden into a makeshift campsite for the summer, you can use a standard hose and a ladder to create an outdoor shower. The hose itself will connect to an outdoor water supply. The ladder can be made with tree branches to create secure rigging.

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                                        20. Use Decorative Sheets to Create a Colorful Canopy

                                        Similarly, you do not need to invest in a high quality and expensive tent to make the most of the summer weather. These products cost a great deal as they are designed to resist wind, rain and adverse elements. Remember these properties are not an issue during warmer periods. So to reduce the cost of your homemade camp site, simply take decorative and colorful bed sheets and suspend them over a secured wash line to create a unique canopy.

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                                          21. Build a Wooden Bar and Drawstring Cover to Form an Outdoor Bar

                                          Whether you are relaxing or working in your garden, there is always a pressing need for liquid refreshments. To this end, why not create a basic wooden bar that can house your favorite tipples and a selection of glasses? You will simply need to construct a basic, wall-mounted shelving unit and easily attach this securely to an exterior wall. Then add a drawstring door using two pieces of rope. This way you can keep the bar closed when necessary and also provide a flat service to pour beverages.

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                                            22. Use Discarded Pallets to Create Additional and Diverse Seating

                                            We spoke earlier in the article about how full-size pallets could be used to create a multi-person swing in the garden. Discarded pallets also have additional purposes, as they can be sawed or cut into segments to create additional seats of various shapes and sizes. Simply use a wood-cutting tool to create the desired shape and number of seats. Then you just need to add some cushions so you can sit and relax.

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                                                  23. Install a Chalkboard Outside to Create a Multi-purpose Play Area

                                                  Rather than creating extravagant solutions to embellish your garden, you can sometimes make simple additions that will revolutionize the space and drastically improve the layout. Simply by buying a $20 chalkboard and securing it to a fence, for example, you can turn your garden into a recreational area with multiple dimensions where children can express their creativity. It can also serve as a positive focal point for their interaction and activity.

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                                                    24. Develop Dens and Play Pods from Shower Curtains and Hula Hoops

                                                    In terms of creating an interactive and fun space where children can play, it is important to offer them a colorful den or hide away. This can be created extremely cheaply, simply by suspending hula hoops from a tree branch using string. Then attach a shower rail using clips to the perimeter of the hoop. Now your children have a play pod that they can make their own. These can even be decorated to embellish them further.

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                                                      25. Build a Simple Table that Opens out from the Fence

                                                      Have you ever been hosting a barbecue and found it difficult to rest your beer while also cooking the meet? To solve and other garden issues, why not create a foldaway table that is connected to one of your fence panels? All you need is a flat piece of plywood (or preferably treated lumber) to act as the surface, and a set of hinges that are to be attached to the fence. Then you have a convenient table that can be used as and when you choose.

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                                                        26. Add Steel Pipe Edging Around the Perimeter of your Garden

                                                        When creating your garden layout, you may want to section off any designated planting areas. This can be done simply using discarded steel piping, which is cut into sections of a desired size using bench sheers. These pieces of pipe are then inserted into the ground and filled with soil, in which you are able to plant smaller seeds and succulents. If you are not keen on the rustic look, be sure to treat your pipes first using a colored primer.

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                                                          27. Offer Birds Comfortable and Colorful Nesting Materials

                                                          Birdhouses add a loving touch to any home exterior, but you can also create structures that add color and character. With this in mind, you can buy colorful yarn in bulk for a pittance and add it to your birdhouse or station. Gathering birds will then take this and use it in their nearby nests, adding dashes of color and hue to various areas of the garden. This is also a good way to reuse any excess yarn that you may have in the home.

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                                                            28. Create Tiki Torches for Illuminating the Garden

                                                            With an emphasis on creating variable shades of sustainable light, the construction of tiki torches offer an affordable and innovative solution. Simply take a clean empty wine bottle, add a tiki torch refill wick, a dash of citronella lamp oil, and a metal washer to hold your components in place. Then place them in elevated spaces throughout the garden and embellish them with flowers, decorative petals or moss.

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                                                              29. Turn Discarded Keys into a Stunning Wind Chime

                                                              If you have ever moved home or changed locks, you will find that your house is littered with useless and discarded keys. These can be put to use in your back garden, as they have the potential to be combined and turned into a stunning wind chime. Simply gather your keys and color them with primer. Now they’re ready to be hung up. Use yarn and attach them to a large branch. You can also choose to paint your chosen branch using an acrylic shade of choice, so long as this is part of a wider color scheme.

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                                                                30. Construct a Stream in your Backyard

                                                                While the sound of running water is restful and comforting, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a stream or brook in their garden. You can fashion a man-made stream in your backyard, by applying a little elbow grease and creative thinking. Simply dig a shallow trench that meanders through your garden space. Make sure to avoid any utility lines before bordering this with discarded wood or steel pipes. You should also construct the stream on a downhill slope, which will aid the natural flow of water. Then gather rocks, stones and other decorative elements of your choice to complete the project.

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                                                                  Published on January 17, 2020

                                                                  How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

                                                                  How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (The Definitive Guide)

                                                                  Have you ever looked at health gurus and wondered how on earth they can afford all that health food? Or maybe you’ve tried multiple times to start eating healthy only to find the $600 monthly budget overwhelming?

                                                                  If you’re anything like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about! I absolutely understand the sinking feeling of looking back over a grocery budget and finding you went way over what you intended. And besides that, it can be hard to justify buying a tiny $5 bag of carrot chips while a $1 mound of potato chips is sitting right next door.

                                                                  My husband and I recently ran into that struggle. We got married this past year and soon found ourselves trying to balance 12 hour work-days with keeping our relationship strong and trying to keep our personal businesses afloat. Granted, our budget was the one thing that took a hit! After we started tracking our spending, we were shocked to see we were spending over $1000 a month just on food! A little planning cleared that right up.

                                                                  So, how to eat healthy on a budget?

                                                                  Here’re the top tips I learned that helped us shave over $600 monthly off of our food budget so we could reinvest that in the areas that really mattered to us![1]

                                                                  1. Meal Plan

                                                                  You’ve probably heard the saying “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail” right? Well, this saying couldn’t be any more true than in the area of healthy budgeting! The fact is, most healthy foods don’t actually cost that much… the pre-made time saving ones do!

                                                                  If you go about creating a healthy meal plan within your budget, you could easily cut costs down to around the same price you are paying for junk food.

                                                                  Meal planning is as simple as working in foods you already have in your fridge/freezer, adding in several meals with simple ingredients and seasonal veggies, and breaking it down into a shopping list.

                                                                  Often, finding a few meals to make in big batches will save you the most money in the long run, which leads me to my next point.

                                                                  2. Cook in Bulk

                                                                  Not only will cooking in bulk save you a whole lot of time, it will save you a whole lot of money too! Believe it or not, if you find meals to make with similar ingredients, you can easily save more money than when you were eating unhealthy.

                                                                  Don’t believe me? Just look at a $4 frozen pasta dinner. Now, sub that with a veggie pasta dinner. 5 zuchinni ($3), Pasta sauce ($2.50), and chicken ($5) could last you a full 5 meals which adds up to a whopping total of just over $1 per meal!

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                                                                  That’s not even digging in to all the money you will save from fast-food. Trust me, a little $10 spent here and there add up! You’ll be saving a whopping amount from all the meal prep you will do!

                                                                  3. Cook all Your Meals in One Day

                                                                  The science behind this is 2-fold.

                                                                  Number one, if you have lots of meals to grab and go, you will be far less likely to binge on pricier food when you get hungry. Let’s be real, you’re not going to spend 1 hour cooking when hub-n’-grub is at your bekon-call!

                                                                  Number 2, meal prepping ahead of time will help you stick to your meal plan better when you’re not in the mood. Let’s face it, we’re all going to have days when protein and veggies doesn’t exactly sound appealing. But, if you have a full meal that’s quick to grab in the fridge, it will be easier for you to fill up on the good stuff rather than spending money on what you don’t really need.

                                                                  4. Cut Back on Snacks and Specialty Items

                                                                  I can almost hear you from across the screen. “But, I thought snacks were good for me!” Here’s the deal: Snacks are expensive! And healthy snacks, oh my goodness, say goodbye to your paycheck!

                                                                  Look, I’m definitely not saying that healthy snacks are bad. Quite frankly, I would much rather you chow down on Halo Top than a triple-butterfinger-fudge sundae. It’s just that… healthy snacks are why eating healthy gets a bad rap for being expensive.

                                                                  Look at it this way: You could either buy a week’s worth of groceries full of chicken, fish, beans, veggies, and fruits for $30. Or, you can spend that $30 on six snacks that will leave you hungry for more.

                                                                  What’s more, the ingredients for gluten-free baked goods, sugar free substitutes, or protein powders alone will add up to you eating a full week’s budget in one sitting. By all means, if you want to work some yummy items into your budget, do it! But don’t confuse that extra monthly $300 of delicacies as a necessity. Your body and budget will thank you!

                                                                  5. Satisfy Yourself with Your Favorite Subs

                                                                  We all have an emotional tie to food. Maybe pasta reminds you of home! Or maybe a fresh-baked pizza is what gives you a feeling of comfort. Whatever you favorite food, find a way to work it into your budget in the best way.

                                                                  We’re only human, and depriving ourselves of what we love will never end well. More often than not actually, it ends in take-out or a pricey-premade substitute.

                                                                  Instead of finding yourself in this situation, find a way to make your favorite foods fit your budget. Zuchinni noodle pasta might just give you that feeling of home without breaking the bank. Or maybe you could google a healthy pizza alternative you would like that you could make at home. Often, something similar to your craving will be enough to give you a sense of satisfaction.

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                                                                  Or, just buy your cheat meal and save it for a special day. That’s okay too!

                                                                  6. Stick to the Cheaper Proteins

                                                                  Okay, I know we all love steak. Unfortunately, buying pre-cooked or expensive cuts of meat are one of the easiest ways to drain a budget.

                                                                  Instead of purchasing those, try buying frozen chicken or eggs. A 5 lb bag of frozen chicken can be as cheap as $5, and you can buy a whole weeks worth of eggs for just over $1. You could even try going vegetarian for a few meals if you really want to cut down on costs!

                                                                  7. Buy Frozen Fruits and Veggies

                                                                  I know, we all love our fresh fruits and veggies! However, sometimes frozen might be the way to go if you’re looking to cut costs!

                                                                  Fruits and veggies are easiest to ship when frozen, making them a much cheaper option. Contrary to popular belief, scientists have actually found that frozen might be better for you too![2]

                                                                  The reason is, frozen produce is picked at its prime and shipped immediately. Fresh fruit tends to be picked much earlier so it will ripen while being shipped. Not only does this make it less nutrient dense, but sometimes the fruits are actually pumped with artificial flavors to make up for the lack of real nutrients.

                                                                  While I’m all for fresh fruits and veggies, don’t feel guilty if you opt for frozen foods due to a budget.

                                                                  8. Bump up the Calories with Rice and Beans

                                                                  The problem some people find when trying to eat healthy is that it can be hard to get the amount of calories you need without relying on expensive “specialty” items. Instead of stocking up on pricey gluten-free breads and pasta, I say stick to simple rice and beans as the bulk of your meals.

                                                                  Brown Rice is very cheap and easy to use as a base for bowls and dishes. Likewise, beans can add a bit of fiber making you feel full and satisfied without having to spend a lot of money.

                                                                  If you are trying to cut on body fat, use extra veggies as the bulk of your meal and add in rice and beans as a filler.

                                                                  9. Try Acai Bowls

                                                                  Acai Bowls can be a really cheap and satisfying meal as long as you do it right.

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                                                                  You can find cheap fruits at most stores or just freeze your fresh fruits before it goes bad.

                                                                  Making your own granola can save you a lot of money as well. The total cost for this delicious meal should only add up to a few dollars compared to triple that price if you were to buy one pre-made.

                                                                  10. Make Your Own Meal Kits

                                                                  Do you like your meals freshly cooked? Sending meal kits to your doorstep is an easy way to drain your budget. Instead, try making your meal kit at home! Not only is it fun, you will easily get a delicious taste.

                                                                  Simply find a few simple meal cards or print some out and fill a ziplock with the ingredients for each specific day. Don’t know what recipe to make? Another option is to order one month of meal kits and recycle the recipe into ingredients for the upcoming months with ingredients you picked up from the store.

                                                                  11. Don’t Drink Your Calories

                                                                  A few dollars spent here and there can really add up! Just as with specialty items, healthy drinks can be a blackhole for you. An energy drink and kombucha and coffee each day could easily have you spending and extra $300 each month!

                                                                  I you really need a special drink fix, try making your favorites at home. Bring a coffee in, make kombucha, or even try making lemonade with stevia or a healthy soda. You’ll be surprised w hat a big difference such a small change can make on your budget!

                                                                  12. Buy Cheap Online

                                                                  Just like anything else, it pays to be prepared. Buying foods from online retailers can be a really affordable way to save money as long as you’re prepared.

                                                                  Plan ahead for those more expensive specialty items you can’t live without. It will save you tons of money compared to having to buy food from a specialty store.

                                                                  13. Don’t Fret about the Clean Fifteen

                                                                  One of the huge things that can mess with a person’s budget is eating organic. For the record, I am 110% all for eating organic whenever you can. However, for some people, it can be hard to make organic food fit into a budget.

                                                                  Instead of scratching healthy eating for a smaller budget, try to buy meat and the dirty dozen organic, and don’t go crazy about the rest. The clean fifteen are the fifteen safest foods to buy that aren’t organic! Meanwhile, the dirty dozen is the most worthwhile avoiding. According to Produce Retailer, these are the dirty dozens:[3]

                                                                  1. Strawberries
                                                                  2. Spinach
                                                                  3. Kale
                                                                  4. Nectarines
                                                                  5. Apples
                                                                  6. Grapes
                                                                  7. Peaches
                                                                  8. Cherries
                                                                  9. Pears
                                                                  10. Tomatoes
                                                                  11. Celery
                                                                  12. Potatoes

                                                                  14. Pay Attention to Storage

                                                                  Keeping the food you have is just as important as how much food is in the first place. Try to stay on top of how much produce you can actually use before it goes bad. It might not be a bad idea to pencil an extra shopping trip in the middle of the week to keep food fresh.

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                                                                  Investing in good food storage containers could go a long way in saving you in the long run as well.

                                                                  15. Freeze Food Before it Goes Bad

                                                                  Instead of getting mad at yourself at the end of the week for all the wilted produce you need to throw out, try freezing it before you get to that point.

                                                                  Most frozen veggies will taste delicious in stir fries and soups. You can freeze fruits to make sorbet or smoothies. Frozen greens can be chopped up and tossed into just about anything for a nutrient boost!

                                                                  16. Consider Ditching Most Supplements and Powders

                                                                  I have nothing against superfood powders and supplements. However, if your budget is tight, it can be hard to fit supplements and powders in.

                                                                  Instead of adding in powders, add extra nutrients to you food. Add lots of greens and veggies to all your meals to meet your nutrient needs. If you need a specific supplement, you can find great deals online as well!

                                                                  17. Use Budget App

                                                                  There are so many great apps you can download for free. One of my current favorite is HoneyDue because you can track your budget easily with your spouse. There are many options available, just find the one that you’re most likely to use. The ones that download your spendings automatically are often the easiest and will give you a more accurate number.

                                                                  My husband and I use the same app, but have a separate budget for each of our weekly food plan and for our additional snacks. Keeping things separate can often be helpful to know exactly where your money is going. Plus, it can help hold you accountable if you have a significant other you are sharing money with.

                                                                  18. Use What you Have

                                                                  Most people have unused protein powders lying around in their cabinets. Instead of letting that go to waste, work them into your meal plan. Protein powders can make amazing doughnuts, pastries, or pancakes!

                                                                  19. Enjoy the Process!

                                                                  Finding ways to enjoy your new lifestyle will be helpful in sticking to it long term. Find fun in seeing how much you can save each month. Make a competition with someone to see who can stick to the lowest budget and create something fun to do for the winner with some of the money saved! Blast some music in the kitchen while cooking your new recipes.

                                                                  Budgeting and health doesn’t have to be a drag. Make it fun and you’ll enjoy your new lifestyle long-term!

                                                                  Featured photo credit: kevin laminto via unsplash.com

                                                                  Reference

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