This week I got home from vacation and found that I had no food in the house. Luckily I still had my weekly budget left so I went to the grocery store expecting to spend maybe half of it. To my surprise I walk out of the grocery store spending almost every penny of my weekly budget. Standing at the checkout counter I wanted to cry. I couldn't believe I had spent that much money. I was thinking "how will I get through the rest of the week?". Then I realized that this isn't easy it is actually really hard.
People seem to think that I have such an easy time losing weight just because I have lost so much. This is not the case. I have the same day to day struggles that everyone else has. My main problem is stress eating. Luckily I found Weight Watchers Online. It has really held me accountable to what I am eating. I know that if I follow the plan and track my points that I will lose weight. My real problem? Buying healthy food while sticking to my budget.
The part that I find so hard is affording the healthy food I need while on a budget. It is hard to be on a budget in the first place but to try to eat healthy on a budget is even harder. I'm sure many of you already know this. I really did not have much in my cart this week yet I spent almost my whole budget. How is this possible you ask. When I unpacked my bags at home I realized that I bought a lot more convenience food then usual. I usually stay away from that stuff. I bought South Beach Diet Cookies (Yum!), baked Cheetos's (Double Yum!), a frozen meal, two frozen breakfasts. Well, you get the point. I am realizing that it is the convenience foods that are killing my budget.
I need to get back to the basics. When I started this blog I was doing great staying on a budget and still eating healthy. I look back and realize why. I was very careful with what I purchased. I shopped sales and used coupons and planned my meals around them. Lately I have been planning my menu by what sounds good and then going to the store without my coupons. It's just laziness. I know I can do it but I haven't been. This needs to change. In order for this budget thing to work with my weight loss I need to plan properly. Yes, I really enjoy all of those convenience foods but I don't need them. I can cook from scratch. I have done it before I can do it again.
I am going to paste below an old post that I wrote. This post helped me a lot and an am hoping it helped a lot of you as well. I think it is just a good reminder to read it and I am hoping that it will help me get back on track with my budget and my weight loss. I also hope that it helps any of you that have fallen into the same "convenience trap" that I have fallen into.
written on March 3, 2009
10 Ways To Save Money While Losing Weight
1. Bulking up with beans. This is a new one for me. I am not really familiar with beans. Don’t get me wrong I love beans and I use them every once in a while. I love chili and ham and bean soup but that is about as far as my bean knowledge takes me. I have decided to start looking for some new recipes with beans. Not only are they cheap but they are low fat and full of fiber. Which means it will make you feel fuller longer.
2. Eat at home instead of going out to eat. This is something that I am becoming accustomed to. I do love to go out to eat but with my budget I just can’t afford to do it often. Not only is it cheaper to eat at home but it is also easier to eat healthy and know exactly how many calories you are putting in your mouth.
3. Drink lots of water. It’s FREE! This sounds like a given but I know plenty of people that drink 3 or more diet soda’s a day. It probably doesn’t sound that expensive but the cost of soda for your family can really add up every month. I drink a ton of water every day because I really think it helps flush everything out and I seem to feel a little fuller. In the long run I think it helps me to lose weight. I know some people would argue that but for me it works.
4. Exercise at home. Gym memberships can cost you hundreds of dollars a year which can quickly eat away at your budget. Other ways to get the exercise in without a gym membership are to buy a few exercise DVD’s (my favorite - Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred), borrow some from a friend or the local library or take a nice walk or bike ride. There are so many great ways to get free or almost free exercise.
5. Resist buying the 100 Calorie Packs. Instead make your own. Buy the same item in a box and package yourself or bake yourself a few batches of low fat snacks and put them in bags and write the calories or WW Points on the bag with a Black Sharpie. This may take a little more time and effort but it could save you a ton or money.
6. Clip coupons to save a ton. Check out my previous post on clipping coupons.
7. Buy the store brand. If you don’t have a coupon you can always buy the store brand of that product. Usually the store brand has the same taste and quality at a fraction of the price. I normally only buy store brand if I don’t have a coupon or I have tried the store brand and didn’t like it as much as the name brand.
8. Looking for clothes for those in-between sizes. Check out your local thrift store. I can usually find some really nice clothing that has been gently used at a great price. My local thrift store also has a lot of junk so sometimes I have to dig to find what I want but it usually worth the time spent. I haven’t been there in a few months but last time I was there I purchased several Layne Bryant clothes for a few dollars a piece.
9. Buy your fresh fruits and veggies when they are in season or on sale. I like to go to my local farmer's market in the summer and buy fresh fruits and veggies at a fraction of the price that the grocery stores charge. Not only does it taste better because it is so fresh but it is a really fun experience for my kids. My oldest daughter loves to visit the farmers market and pick out her own fruit and veggies. Last year she ate 6 plums before we even made it to the car. The girl loves fruit!
When it is not farmer's market season I buy my fruits and veggies when they are on sale. I look at the flyers from my two local grocery stores and choose the ones that are at a great price. With the price of fruit today I really can’t afford it unless it is on sale.
10. Buy lean meets when they are on sale and stock up. In theory this is a great idea. Buy meets when they are on sale and then freeze them in smaller portions. When I first started my weight loss journey and my budget I found this very hard because I lived off of my budget week to week. What I started doing is passing up on some of the great buys. I decided to pick one meat a week that was at a great price and stock up on it. It may sound silly but it really worked for me because of the limited amount of money I had available each week. It took a few weeks but I eventually ended up with a freezer full of meat. Unfortunately after I filled my freezer I took a break from buying meat for a few weeks to save money. So now my freezer is about out of meat. Looks like I am going to have to start stocking up on meats again.
Just by reading this again I feel so encouraged because I realize that it is possible to eat healthy and stick to my budget. I really did do it in the past and I can do it again. I hope this has helped to encourage all of you to take a look at what you are currently buying and how you can make some changes and still eat healthy on a budget.