I have to admit, I actually surprised myself writing this article. I knew there were many ways people could save money that would also benefit their health but when I tallied this up I could not believe how much it was! Even if some of the below doesn't apply to you, half of the total is still a huge saving for someone (enough for a trip to Byron Bay if you ask me :P), so I hope for everyone that reads this that it inspires you to make some changes and book that next holiday!
1. Reduce coffee intake (I know you will probably want to stop reading right now, but just hear me out!).
How much money do you spend on coffee per week? It is something that a lot of people purchase every day, sometimes multiple times per day, however from a nutritional perspective I recommend maximum one coffee per day and not every day. The important part here is not every day as this ensures that your body doesn’t become dependent on caffeine so you can be just as switched on and alert without your daily caffeine hit. Caffeine is also quite taxing on the adrenals so although there can be some benefits associated with drinking coffee, there are many people out there (yes I’m talking to you the crazy busy/workaholic/tired mumma/anxious type A) who would actually do better with less caffeine in their life – and that’s usually the ones who rely on it the most!
With the average coffee costing $3.80, cutting back from one coffee every day of the week to just one coffee 3 x per week you could save yourself....
= $790.40 per year
2. Plan your meals.
How much food do you throw out each week? Whether it’s fresh food that has gone to waste or leftovers that haven’t been eaten, we throw out far too much food that is costing us money. It sounds obvious but planning your meals means you can make the most of what you buy and also means you can buy some things in bulk which can get you further savings. One tip though, always leave one night at the end of the week as a free night to use up anything leftover. Throw it all in a pot and make a soup, blitz it all in a food processor and make a pasta sauce out of it, or freeze it and bring it out next time you make a stock.
Sustainability Victoria conducted a study that found households in Victoria estimate they spend more than $2,000 a year on food that is wasted. So if you cut back on this food waste even by half, you could be saving yourself...
= $1000 to $2000 dollars a year!
Not sure what do with leftover ingredients? Use the search function on my homepage to search recipes by ingredient.
3. Eat mainly vegetables.
This is the whole philosophy behind body good food. Vegetables should be the hero of your dish and protein, complex carbs and healthy fats are your condiments. Healthy eating is so cheap when you eat this way and there is nothing cheaper than local, in season vegetables (and if they come from your own garden then they are even cheaper!). Most Australians eat far too much meat so this is a good place to start when reducing your portions. A serving of meat should be the size of your palm and I know for myself this equates to roughly 100-120g. It wouldn’t be uncommon for someone to eat double this so if we consider cutting this back by half and replacing it with more veggies it could work out to save us approximately $2 per meal. Times this by two (lunch and dinner), seven days a week for a year and you could save yourself...
= $1460 per year!
Not sure about cutting back your protein portions? Try these veggie packed meals and you won’t even notice it’s missing: Spicy Flathead Tails & Crunchy Salsa Salad, Rosemary Lamb with Pumpkin & Apple Salad, Pesto Baked Chicken with Parmesan Cauliflower and Zucchini Mint Salad, Grilled Cos with Peas & Eggs
4. Take your lunch to work
Or cook it at home if that’s where you are for lunch each day. With the amazing café scene we have in Melbourne these days it’s tempting to eat a delicious chef cooked meal every day of the week but boy does it come with a price tag. Have you ever ordered eggs on toast with sides and when your bill comes you realise you could have cooked that yourself at home for about a quarter of the price?! There's no doubt that making your lunch instead of buying it saves you money and it is so easy to do. Cook extra for dinner and take leftovers – even if you just cook extra protein but add a quick salad in the morning, or cook extra veggies and take some canned fish or boiled eggs as your protein.
A healthy home cooked meal will cost you no more than $10 and a healthy meal from a café will cost you approximately $18 (usually more if you want to add protein to your salad!). If someone was buying their lunch every single day they would be forking out an enormous $6570 per year. Swap that for a homemade lunch of just $10 per meal and you could save yourself...
= $2920 per year!
5. Reduce mindless eating
Something that is far too common these days is mindless eating. We tend to eat according to emotions, entertainment, boredom or simply because it’s front of us rather than tapping in to our hunger signals and only eating when our body requires it. Not only will reducing mindless eating be helpful for supporting weight loss but it also means you can cut down on food costs for the week. If someone was to cut out one mindless snack per day (two protein balls for example, at a cost of $2) then you’re looking at $14 per week which is a saving of...
= $728 per year.
Total possible savings: $7898.40!!!
I know, sounds crazy right! As I said, not all of the above may apply to you but I know I would be happy with a saving of anything that has three zero's after it, especially when this saving means I am actually doing something positive for my health at the same time. Which brings up a whole other kettle of fish but if it's improving your health then it's likely you're saving on healthcare too...food for thought anyway!