Someone once said that the only diet that works is one you’ll actually stick to. It’s the same story for money — you may want to spend less money this year, but having a vague and lofty goal is almost guaranteed to fail.
With that in mind, here are some money-saving ideas that will not only cut down your spending in the long run, but potentially improve your health too.
Buy generic medication. According to the FDA, there is virtually no difference between brand-name and generic drugs. Yet, people still shell out significant dough on meds like, say, brand-name ibuprofen.
Buy medication online. Yes, medication in America is expensive. That’s why more Americans are choosing to buy their medication online from international and Canadian pharmacies. Buying drugs online may seem scary, but Canada pharmacy referral services like Rx Connected offer affordable medications that have passed stringent regulations. Just be sure to use common sense; if something seems too good to be true, or doesn’t require prescriptions, it’s probably a scam.
Go meatless once a week. If you eat a standard American diet, you can likely do with less meat. According to Numbeo, one pound of chicken breast is $3.84 on average in the United States. If you cut out just one pound of chicken breast a week, you could save about $4 per week, which doesn’t seem much, but works out to $208 a year! Skip out on red meat to further protect your wallet and cholesterol levels.
Nix any unnecessary supplements.Lots of people take over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, but it’s debatable whether you actually need them. In fact, you can overdo it. If you’re worried about vitamin deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood test to see if you actually need supplements. Otherwise, save some big bucks by not buying any.
Cut back on juice. Sugary drinks like juice pack a ridiculous amount of sugar. By skipping out on juice or even halving your usual consumption, you can save hundreds of calories. Just don’t buy it; if it’s not in your fridge, you cant drink it, it’s that simple. Im not saying you should totally give up juice if you’re really craving it, get a single serving at a juice bar, not a weeks supply.
Limit your processed foods intake. Processed foods –like a bag of chips — cost more than whole foods (like a bunch of kale). Not to mention they’re not nearly as healthy as whole foods. Set a realistic amount of processed foods you’ll allow yourself to have, and see if you can substitute some of your favorite processed foods with whole foods. For example, learn how to make kale chips or oven-baked yam fries.
Limit dining-out. The amount of money you spend on eating lunch outside can feed you for the entire day in groceries. Of course, it’s impractical to completely give up dining out. Instead, make rules: only dine out on Wednesdays. Or, only dine out if it’s a social situation. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also save on calories by skipping ridiculous restaurant portions.
Moderate your vices. Yes, this is harder said than done. Perhaps a good motivator is the fact that the less you drink, the less tolerant your body will be of alcohol, and the less money it’ll take to get you buzzin’. The same goes for coffee: if you absolutely need your morning joe, make it at home. While you’re at it, bring your home-brewed coffee to work in a thermos instead of shelling out $2.50 every day at the cafe.
Ditch the gym. Unless you’re a serious gym rat, you don’t need a pricey gym membership to work out just to be healthy. Go out for a jog, do chin-ups at the local playground, jump rope, or watch free YouTube fitness videos. Walk or cycle to work.
Learn about personal finance. If you haven’t invested much time in learning about personal finance, do so this year. You may learn a simple new thing to integrate into your life. Whether it’s dedicating a few hours to reading helpful articles online, reading an entire book, or even taking a course, learning about personal finance is a tangible thing you can do. So why not get started today?
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver