Money

The Cost of Fat

08.29.11 Money_Fork

Let’s face it.  When it comes to topics of discussion, we’re often focusing on two things: saving money and weight loss. But despite the desire to shed the pounds and stash some extra cash, a 2002 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, revealed that many of us tend to spend extra money on high-calorie foods with little nutritional value, such as chips, sodas, and bakery items.  In fact, American households reportedly spend more than $500 per month on food.  However, by simply tackling your costly eating routine and changing those poor nutrition habits, you can actually decrease spending and increase the size of your wallet.  Cotton Candy contributor Ornella Grosz spells out how you can save up to $200 per month – all while dropping inches off your waist line.

Take Inventory.

Avoid overbuying at the grocery story by taking inventory of what you have.  Before you head out the door, base your shopping needs on a weekly menu plan. You are less likely to buy impulsively and have a better chance of not going over budget.

Shop at a farmer’s market.

Much of the produce and fruits will cost less at a farmer’s market then your local grocery store.  Locally grown produce don’t include the shipping costs. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont found that many conventional grocery items were cheaper at farmers markets than at supermarkets. I’ve saved at least a 33 percent on costs while produce shopping at my local farmer market.

Buy off-season frozen produce.

As you are gathering ingredients for your next recipe, think of using frozen produce. You can use the amount you need, reseal the produce, and place it back in the freezer. Frozen produce are packaged at their seasonal best making them the most nutrient-packed. You can buy a bag of frozen vegetable for under $1.70 and a bag of mixed frozen berries for under $3.00

Are you eating for two or one?

Most restaurants serve excessive quantities of food.  Consider eating half your food and take the other half home. Left-over meals make a great lunch for the following day and you will scale back on your dining out tabs. You can save at least 30 dollars a week.

Serve meat less often.

Give those meatless Mondays a try.  Opt for beans, legumes, eggs, tofu, and other vegetarian foods to get your protein.  Meat is more expensive. The estimated retail price for beef is $4.44 per pound.  Substituting other protein sources for meat will keep money in your pockets.

Exercise for free.

Do you work out at the gym or are you tempted to buy those seemingly miraculous exercise products featured in infomercials?  Opt for a cheaper – oftentimes more fun – option. Check out a few to get your FREE workout on.

No. 1 Do calisthenic exercises. You are using your own body weight as a workout machine. Examples, such as yoga, push-up, squats, Pilates, stretching, planks, jumping, and kicking are some examples.

No. 2 Rent exercise videos (or fitness books) from the library

No. 3 Rather than always meeting up with your friends for dinner, have workout parties.

Take up another sport or activity.

If you can count on one hand the amount of times you work out at the gym per month, then it’s time for you to cancel your membership.  Instead, sign up for tennis lessons, yoga, Pilates, etc. Make your workouts fun.  For example, LA Fitness charges around $30 to$35 per month or $360 to $420/year. By signing up for online local deals, such as  Bloomspot or Living Social, you could use the money you saved from cancelling your membership to purchase discounts on yoga classes, tennis lesson, etc.

Cotton Candy Magazine®