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Every year we make great New Year’s resolutions that most of us rarely stick to past the end of January. I am not knocking it, because I have been there too. But this year we want to give you some tools that will help us all create a fatter wallet and skinnier waist. So, let’s do this thing!
Changes in Choices
There are a few steps involved in changing your mindset to change your choices for a better you in the New Year, both physically and financially. But before we get to that, let’s talk about a very good reason to make these changes. This really all comes down to creating a healthier and wealthier you, and your family. So what is one of the biggest driving factors for us all? Money, of course!
The easiest way to get this message across is to talk about the numbers. So here’s the breakdown! In an article by Rutgers, where they break down and analyze a few different studies regarding health and wealth, the numbers were astounding.
- Losing 10% of your excess weight, could save you anywhere from $2200 – $5,300 over your lifetime just in healthcare costs
- Cutting out junk food, fast food and alcohol on a daily basis can save you $3 per day, $21 per week or $1092 per year
- Cutting portions in half can save you around $9 per week or $468 per year
- Eating vegetarian 2-3 days per week can save you $15 per week or $780 per year
- Eating at home 2 more times a week can save you $10 per week or $520 per year
Just looking at these numbers (excluding the losing 10% of your weight because that is a lifetime cost), this means that you could save an extra $2860 per year! And that doesn’t even include adding in apps, hacks and budgeting. This is what I am talking about!
Now that we have the numbers, let’s begin with how to change the physical.
Step 1 – Goals
The first step is to figure out what your goals are for the year and why. Some good examples are:
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Are you wanting to eat healthier to avoid health issues?
- Do you want to eat healthier to assist with healing health issues?
- Are you wanting/needing to save money on your food budget?
- What is your overall goal for the year? (Make this something achievable by creating small milestones each month)
Step 2 – Pantry Clean Out
Once you have identified your goals for the year, then we can start with clearing out some of the superfluous “food” that has been hanging out in your house for much too long. We call this a Pantry Clean Out and we think it is a lot of fun to do. Then again, we are food nerds!
Things to look for that could be thrown out are:
- Anything that you bought but never ate (that’s a good sign that it is not something in your wheelhouse or you just need to find ways to make that food item palatable for you to even try it)
- Anything expired
- Junk food! (you know what this is)
Step 3 – Better Food Choices
Once your goals have been identified and you have cleaned out your pantry, now is the time to start making a list of the foods that you should keep on hand regularly. These food items will not only make it easier for you to whip up a quick, easy, nutritious and delicious meal for a skinnier waist but they are also budget friendly, thereby giving you a fatter wallet. We call this a One-Two Punch!
The basic list to replenish your stock with can include:
- Staples – variety of whole grain rice, whole grain bread (gluten free or not), quinoa, flaxseed, variety of beans, variety of potatoes, whole grain pasta
- Fresh and frozen fruits and veggies (depending on the time of year) – variety of berries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, rainbow carrots, beets, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, asparagus, cucumbers, variety of squash, spinach, rainbow chard, kale (baby kale is much more tender and less bitter, so give that one a try if you aren’t a fan of kale), variety of tomatoes, grapes, garlic, peppers
- Meat and eggs (sparingly) – local cage free farm raised eggs, local farm raised chicken, local farm raised and grass fed beef, wild caught fish
- Dairy and dairy free options – organic milk, organic 1/2 & 1/2, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, Greek yogurt, organic yogurt, coconut yogurt, artisan cheeses (preferably from local cheese-makers if any are around you, if not then I suggest other countries due to the high incidence of rBST in the cheeses in the US as well as the prevalence of mistreatment of animals here), organic ice cream without a lot of added sugar or artificial ingredients, gelato
- Other – whole grain crackers, whole grain chips, chips cooked in avocado oil, baked chips, hummus, Greek yogurt dips, organic almond butter, variety of salsa, spices, healthy oils (such as olive, coconut and grapeseed), tea (tea has more antioxidants and health benefits than coffee and it is now easy to find a multitude of flavors, as long as they aren’t artificially flavored), variety of nuts
Saving Money for a Fatter Wallet
It is a common misconception that organic foods cost a boatload more than the conventional foods. While this may seem to be the case on the front end, what most people people forget to account for is the fact that these foods are not considered nutrient dense. What this means is that they don’t contain the amount of nutrients needed to satisfy your body, which makes us end up eating more of it to feel satiated. Not only that, but we aren’t giving your body the fuel that it needs to operate at its optimum potential, which can result in many side effects such as:
There are a ton of ways to purchase more nutrient dense, healthier foods and still keep within your budget. Some of my tricks are:
- Downloading apps from your favorite grocery stores (I personally love the Kroger, Target and Whole Foods apps)
- Downloading and checking the Ibotta app for any additional money back on items you were already planning to purchase
- Shopping the sales and coupons before you go to the store
- Checking Amazon for their pantry items that are non perishable that can be shipped directly to you (and then using the Ebates extension if it is applicable to that category at that time)
- Check around for a local CSA (this will give you a wide variety of fruits and veggies throughout the year to experiment with and diversify your diet)
- Go vegetarian at least 3 days a week and those days that you eat meat limit it to 1 meal a day
- Cook staples in bulk one day a week and then utilize them throughout the week in different dishes to save on cooking time in the kitchen and freeze what you don’t use within that time frame to use at a later date
- Find a food pantry
Overall, there are a lot of ways to skin a cat (such an odd phrase!) when it comes to creating positive change to create a healthier and wealthier you. These are just some of my regular tips that we have used to keep our family of 7 healthy and stick within our food budget. There is still plenty of room for us to tweak (we have a thing for beer and wine, so that can kill our budget some months) and we are continuing to evolve and find new ways to save money. As we continue to create a fatter wallet and skinnier waist, so can you. We would love to hear how you plan to do just that this year. Let’s create some positive change together!
What are your goals for the New Year? If you have thought about changing your health and wealth, how were you planning to do it?