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How Cleaning Up Your Diet Can Save You Nearly 6,000 This Year

Posted Feb 16 2012 1:53pm

This is a firsthand account of how cleaning up your diet can save you cold hard cash and save your waistline, all in one stroke. I’m a food lover, the experience of trying new foods and being served in restaurants is beyond delightful, but I also love living close to the beach and traveling as much as I possibly can each year. Budgeting is a necessity and it gives my family more freedom.

When we chose to live walking distance from the beach, my husband and I outlined a budget that as a welcomed consequence meant we also ended up cleaning up our diets. Here’s how we did it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Breakfast:

There’s a cafe down the street that I love and when we first moved here I would enjoy a soy latte every morning. I would sometimes skip breakfast, and on those days when I was weak and didn’t feel like attacking my day, I would get a bagel sandwich as well. It was so completely delicious, but unfortunately it added up. 

I decided to switch my morning latte for a cup of tea at home. Instead of the morning jitters, I felt cool, calm, and collected all morning long. I didn’t feel anxious and nervous about my to-do list. For breakfast, I now make one local egg and put it atop a slice of sprouted Ezekiel wheat bread. I’ll drizzle it with a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt. At the same time I cut up two servings of fruit each morning, whatever is seasonal and available. And best of all, my husband and I get to eat together each morning. 

Savings: I went from spending $40 per week at the coffee shop to $16 on breakfast items at the health foods store. That’s a savings of $24 dollars per week and  $1,248 per year

Lunch:

I’ve always eaten at home simply because I work from home but my husband was prone to grabbing lunch outside of the office. It’s problematic because it takes time out of his busy work day, it's expensive, and it's harder to control your diet. I started to pack his lunch each morning. I would make him two organic peanut butter and local honey sandwiches with a piece of fruit. Or I would pack him leftovers from what we had the night before. 

Savings: Each day, he went out to lunch he spent at least $5, and often even more than that, amounting to $25 per week. With the new plan I spent $10 on his lunches each week. We saved $15 per week or  $780 per year

Dinner:

My husband and I love to eat out, so this one was the hardest but now we find other ways to spend our evenings so that we’re not spending money eating out. We went from eating out four times per week to eating out twice. Here’s how we cut back: Each Sunday, I plan my meals for the week. I usually plan four meals and then fill in the blanks with easy to prepare meals or leftovers. Learning to cook is one of the best ways to clean out your diet.

This week, I’m making tempeh tacos, tempeh reubens, vegetarian chili, and rice and beans. Both the vegetarian chili and the rice and beans will be great for leftovers. I'll also pick up a vegan pizza for Friday nights when I hate to cook. We’ve cut out brunches on the weekends because it’s so much less pricey to make it at home. Also, when we go out with friends, we usually eat at home and then just have a beer out. 

Savings

It costs us about $120 for two to go out to eat four times per week and $60 to go out twice. That saves us $60 per week and  $3,120 per year

Alcohol

I like to drink wine once in a while but if you’re drinking it every night it can be hard to control quantity. I switched over to one 6 pack of organic local beer per week instead of 1-2 glasses of wine per week. We spent $20 on wine per week and now we spend $10 on organic beer. In the end, we’re saving $10 per week and $520 per year. We drink less and we save cash. 

Our savings are almost unbelievable,  totaling $5668.

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More on Saving Cash
6 Tricks to Save Tons of Money on Sustainable Foods
5 Ways to Cut Back on Your Food Waste and Save Money Now 
Plan a Green Movie Night—Save Money 

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