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8 Ways to Eat Healthy Even If You’re on a Budget

8 Ways to Eat Healthy Even If You’re on a Budget

Trying to eat healthy on a budget can be challenging. A lot of the food and recipes you see on websites occasionally require expensive ingredients, and that can be hassle, especially if you have to feed a family. Here are some tips on how to eat healthy even when you’re on a budget.

1. Learn the art of couponing.

eat healthy

    Coupons can save you a ton of money on food every month. It can be difficult to get started because there are so many sources for coupons. Once you get into the flow, it not only gets easier, but you’ll also be able to save money on food that would usually be out of your price range. Here’s a website to help you get started. Some people have boasted that they save up to 50%–90% on food, and when you’re saving that much, you can splurge on more expensive food.

    2. Buy in bulk.

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    eat healthy

      It may seem like you’re buying more than you need, but buying in bulk can save you tons of money. At my local grocery store, Giant Eagle, I can get several pounds of frozen veggies for $5 and that can last for weeks depending on how many people you need to feed. You can buy ridiculous amounts of beans and rice on the cheap. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets. Yes, those Rice-A-Roni boxes seem like a deal at $1, but you can buy several pounds of rice for a couple of bucks more. Rice-A-Roni is also packed with sodium and regular rice can be spiced to your tastes.

      3. Prepare to cook the meals.

      eat healthy

        Microwave dinners and precooked food seem like a great idea and a time saver. However, those foods are generally bad for you. Cooking the food yourself may take longer but you can control what goes in it and you can choose to make it healthy. Plus, with all the bulk food you’re getting from our last tip, you’ll have plenty of ingredients to cook.

        4. Buy generic food brands.

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        eat healthy

          There comes a point where it’s the same thing in a different box and you’re just paying a premium for the right to say you bought the brand name food. This is especially true for cereal. You can get the same cereal for half off by buying off-brand and they taste pretty much the same. Not all foods are good for you, and that means not all off-brand foods are good for you. However, stuff like low (or no) sugar cereal can be pretty decent.

          5. Stop buying bottled water.

          eat healthy

            Bottled water doesn’t seem like it’s expensive but it adds up. Let’s say you buy only $1 worth of bottled water a day. That’s $350 per year (rounded down). You could easily save that money by using a water pitcher (with a filter) and using a re-usable water bottle. With that extra money, you can go buy more food! Plus, those cheaply made plastic bottles really aren’t good for you.

            6. Obey the psychological rules of grocery shopping.

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            eat healthy

              Grocery shopping isn’t always about the physical things. Sometimes it’s about the mental things. With that in mind, you should attempt to exercise the following tips. You should eat before going to the store because you’re more likely to be pragmatic about your decisions when you’re not hungry. You should shop alone because it cuts down on impulse buys from your kids and your husband/wife. Lastly, you should try to make at least a core list and stick to it.

              7. Stop buying take out all the time.

              eat healthy

                Every time you go eat fast food, order a pizza, order take out, or even drop a dollar in the vending machine, you are undermining your food budget. If you eat out once a week for $10, that’s $520 per year you’re spending on eating out. Don’t get us wrong, it’s good to treat yourself every now and then. However, if you’re reading this then you probably have a tight budget.

                8. Try to grow some of your own food.

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                eat healthy

                  Let’s be honest: planting a garden isn’t going to work miracles on your food budget, but it will help a little bit, especially if you plant the right things. Herbs and spices take very little space to grow and you can grow and dry enough to last you for years. Things like peppers and tomatoes are great to grow in most climates and you can use those in almost any food dish. If the garden is big enough, you can grow enough to save yourself a little bit of money. Plus, the stuff you grow is typically going to be good for you. You’re not growing processed foods high in sodium and trans fats.

                  Most people already don’t spend that much on food so we know the budgets are probably pretty tight. Using these tips, you can make your buck go a little bit further and eat less garbage. Your body and your wallet will thank you for it!

                  Featured photo credit: Static via static.squarespace.com

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                  Joseph Hindy

                  A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                  Published on May 7, 2019

                  How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                  How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                  When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                  Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                  Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                  You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                  Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                  1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                  Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                  But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                  • Will you spend more time with your family?
                  • What does retirement mean to you?
                  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                  Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                  Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                  2. Figure out When to Invest

                  “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                  It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                  The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                  A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                  Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                  3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                  Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                  Why?

                  Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                  Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                  Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                  Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                  4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                  Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                  If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                  You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                  1. Vanguard
                  2. TD Ameritrade
                  3. Charles Schwab

                  5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                  Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                  Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                  That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                  Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                  A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                  6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                  The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                  Robo Advisors

                  Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                  Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                  Bonds

                  Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                  Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                  Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                  1. Treasury bonds
                  2. Government bonds
                  3. Corporate bonds
                  4. Foreign bonds
                  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                  6. Municipal bonds

                  Mutual Funds

                  Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                  One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                  Real Estate

                  Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                  Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                  This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                  But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                  Savings Accounts

                  Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                  7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                  Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                  So how can you master delayed gratification?

                  By building your discipline.

                  Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                  Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                  8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                  I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                  It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                  More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                  But, how can you invest yourself?

                  Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                  Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                  But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                  Retire Happy with Excess Money

                  The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                  It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                  I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                  Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                  One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

                  More Articles About Making Wise Investment

                  Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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