Eat healthy. Be Active. Save Money

Friday, August 7, 2009

I was watching The Next Food Network Star a few weeks ago and the contestants were given a challenge to talk about their biggest money saving tip in a 30 second TV spot in front of Tyler Florence. Some people really bombed, but others shone, like Melissa, the stay at home mom (and winner), who provided a neat tip for green onions: If you put just the white part in a glass of water, a new green part will grow, giving you fresh new green onions for free.

Here are some of my tips for saving money while still eating healthy and staying active:
  • Make a grocery list - I've shown you guys my system, and I can't tell you how much time and money this saves me. My method might seem a little anal and crazy, so figure out what works for you!

  • Eat your veggies - In July we focused on getting in 5 servings of fruits and veggies each day. Why not use that as momentum and begin to make our colourful friends the focus of your meals? I think we have a tendency to plan our meals around a protein and/or grain, but why not put veggies in the starring role?

  • Get outside - Summer is a great opportunity to take advantage of the nice(r) weather and do your workouts outdoors! Take a long walk or run around your neighborhood. Grab your bike and take it down to a local path. Grab your yoga mat and practice in the park. Make your own Booty Camp and do some step ups on a park bench. The possibilities are endless and they are a great opportunity to get some fresh air and take advantage of the sunshine!

  • Eat less meat - Recently I've been making an effort to choose organic/naturally raised sources of meat which can be pricey. My solution? Eat less of the stuff. Meat can be expensive, so cut down on your consumption to save some money. Choose other sources of protein more often - beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh - and you'll find your grocery bill decreasing. Meghan has some great classes coming up in the fall on vegetable-based protein - I highly recommend it if you're looking for some ways to spice up your meal routine and get some new ideas.

  • Visit your local library - I've recently rediscovered the library. It brings me so much joy. The Toronto Public Library has so many books on every imaginable topic and it's as easy as searching for what I want (by topic, author or keyword), placing a hold and picking up the item at my local branch (5 minutes from my house) I get to use that book for 3 weeks (or 1 week if it's a DVD) and then return it in the drop box. I've gotten fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, resources on weight loss/gluten free living/vegan living as well as workout DVDs. It doesn't get much easier than that, or cheaper than FREE! They also offer a selection of magazines at each branch, so you can check out your favourite cooking or workout magazine, get the ideas/recipes you want without paying the $4.99+ price tag.

  • Go on the internet - Seems silly (since you're already here reading my blog and all) but there are millions of websites and resources out there waiting for you. I get so much information from websites and blogs and forums. Not only does doing my research and spending some quality time on Google save me money, but it also helps me to make educated decisions when I do decide to spend money on things.

  • Host/Attend a swap - One person's trash, can really be another person's treasure! This is a great solution when you're in the process of losing weight. New clothes can be expensive, especially when you know you're not going to wear that size forever! Get a few girlfriends together and bring in some items that no longer fit or things you're no longer using (like cookbooks, DVD's, exercise equipment, kitchen appliances etc.) It can make for a fun social event and it's great way to recycle.

What are some of your money saving tips?

My green onions alone are saving me at least $0.50 every week!


LauraA said...

You have no idea how excited I am about that green onion tip - I put green onions in just about everything! My money saving tip is to shop at bulk stores - especially for spices, but cereal, grains, baking supplies, etc. can also be cheaper there. Bulk Barn also has a surprising selection of what I would call "natural food store" stuff (tofu, almond milk, gluten-free snacks, etc.) and it's usually cheaper there than at most other stores.

39 To Go! said...

Wow! Love the green onion tip!

nikbis said...

You're too flippin' cute with your onions!!

I'm terrible at saving money, so I just have it taken out of my bank account every month on the same day by an external source and it is next to impossible to STOP it from happening.

So it just happens.

As for shopping and saving money - I'm BIG into sales. If I see a bogo of something I KNOW I'LL USE - I buy 2.

Kelly said...

I really like your grocery plan- thats usually how I do it too, but I'm not quite as detailed so I still end up changing my mind etc. But for the most part I try. I am also in love with the library. I get cookbooks, regular books everything there and I have saved so much money!

Unknown said...

Im gonna try that onion trick!! :) cool!

Ashley Gibson said...

I'm so happy I wasn't the only one getting excited about green onions!!

Laura - I'm a huge fan of the bulk store as well. There is one near our house that also doubles as a health food store and has tonnes of great deals

Hannah said...

What wonderful suggestions, seriously helpful stuff! I'll have to try that green onion trick. :)

And thanks for your thoughtful comment on your wedding cake! Believe me, I understand the feeling... I came extremely close to crying a number of times, too!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the great tips, Ashley! I especially love the idea of a swap. I used to live in a community where the girls would organize a clothing swap regularly - they were all smalls and mediums and I was a large so I never went. I'm looking forward to the day when my clothes are too big on me and need to find another home.

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