Seems like all people can talk about this time of year is their new year’s resolutions, and I’m not different, so let me share mine with you.
This year I have two goals that are somewhat at odds: save more and eat better. How are these contradictory? If you have been to the produce aisle lately you should have a clue where I’m going with this, but if it’s been a while, let me tell you that the price of fruits and veggies is ridiculous! Resisting the urge to run and grab all the 99 cents’ candy bars, pastries and chips is difficult enough as it is, but the added strain on an already tight budget to opt for fruits and veggies can push a person over the edge. You start wondering if you really need that healthy stuff after all, why not put it off a month? You’ve been unhealthy and it hasn’t killed you yet…but in the back of your mind you know what you ought to do and that means put those Doritos and that Coke back down and bring home at least a couple of apples!
From my experience so far, I can offer these tips:
– Take the money you used to spend on the unhealthy regulars and put it towards healthier options to help defray the cost of your new healthy habit.
– Decide what you’re going to prepare with what you’re buying so you don’t buy more than you need.
– Buy no more than you can eat five days (which will take a week to eat!) so they don’t go bad.
– Invest in one of those produce bags that can prolong the life of your perishable investment.
– Finally, vary your fruits and veggies so you don’t get bored and switch back to Frosted Flakes for breakfast – for some reason unhealthy faves never get old.
Okay, so now I’m eating right, on to saving money. This shopaholic at heart is determined to train herself to stay out of the clothing stores and save up! My goal is to abstain from buying any clothes, shoes, purses or accessories for three whole months! I’m going cold turkey here! It’s true that I never spend more than $20 for a blouse or more than $30 for a pair of pants, but those things add up and let’s be honest, I probably don’t need to buy clothes for an entire year as it is.
If your closet is not as cluttered as mine, don’t worry. Just remember to buy exactly what you need at the cheapest and best quality you can find. SHOP AROUND! After a while you’ll know which stores to hit. Sign-up for online promotions where you get e-mailed every time there’s a sale or they send you coupons to print off – if you get sick of spam set up a free e-mail account just for this. One of my favorite “Chic/Cheap” stores is Forever21.
There is one way my two goals are complimentary: A good way to save money is to eat at home and eating at home is usually healthier than eating out. Check out Reba Ray’s recipes for one person on a budget or find great healthy recipes online – kraftfoods.com’s Healthy Living Section is one of my faves. Still another neat Web site is www.healthyliving.msn.com. Click on The Naturalizer tool to see dozens of traditional recipes made over with healthy ingredients.
One of the reasons I prefer to eat out is that it offers some diversion from just being at home.
We can fix this by making eating at home fun. Invite a couple of friends over to help you prepare something yummy! Everyone can pitch in with an ingredient and have a nice dinner shared with people you love. My latest favorite is a sliced in half cucumber piece filled with a light cream cheese and chives mix and topped with grated carrots, delish!
Another thing both my goals have in common is they require a lot of mental adjustments. It seems like the wrong choices are always the first to cross our minds and we gotta train ourselves to choose right.
I believe that the New Year is a great opportunity to start off on the right foot, kind of like starting a diet on a Monday. If you fall off the wagon, get up, dust yourself off and get back on. KEEP AT IT! Perseverance is the key.