-Let the sales dictate what you’re eating — this week you might have salmon, ground turkey, and whole chicken (since that’s what’s on sale!) and next week you might have tilapia and chicken breasts. You can also stock up on any of your favorite proteins and freeze them.
-Stop tossing out spoiled food — have a dry erase board on your fridge (or write directly ON your fridge with a dry erase marker!) where you write down the proteins and vegetables you have (include the sell by date for the proteins so you’re sure to use or freeze them before they go bad).
-Use a recipe search like www.supercook.com to find recipes for the items you have on hand.
-Become familiar with yummy, nutritious whole grains and beans like quinoa, millet, and barley. You can find most of them for under $2/pound in the bulk section of stores like Whole Foods.
-Join a food co-op or a CSA — or shop at a farmer’s market for your vegetables.
-Go meatless — or stretch your protein by adding in inexpensive whole grains like quinoa, millet, brown rice or couscous.
-Buy your meat in bulk directly from a farm (find one here: www.eatwild.com), split it with few like-minded friends if you can’t or don’t want to store it all.
-Learn how to repurpose leftovers in inventive ways — roast a chicken and make chicken salad, a stir fry, and tacos.
-Have some healthy snacks in your bag, at your desk, and in your car so you’re not tempted to go drive through.
-Double your recipes so you always have cooked food ready in the fridge or freezer.
-Always have a few convenience foods stored in your pantry or freezer so you aren’t ever tempted to order in or go out as a convenience.
-Dine out for lunch instead of dinner; the prices are lower, but the portions are nearly as large as dinner sizes.
-Replace junk food with real food — a handful of almonds, air popped popcorn, and even toasted pita bread with a little bit of olive oil and garlic is healthier.
-Buy clothing just slightly off season. This can save you 50-75% off retail.
-Go shopping in your own closet. Grab a fashionable friend, and have them help you put together items you already have in new ways. Snap a picture of each.
-Shop for style not trends. The same high quality basics will last for years, all you need is a few, carefully chosen accessories to keep you current.
-Scour thrift stores, craigslist, and eBay for statement or vintage items – brooches, handbags, and shoes can take an outfit from ordinary to extraordinary.
-Find a good tailor, or learn how to do simple alterations like hemming yourself.
-Consider canceling your home phone and using only cell phones.
-Adjust your cell phone plan to ensure that you have the right minutes.
-If you can afford to do so, raise the deductible on all of your insurance policies and lower your premiums.
-Get quotes for auto, home, and life insurance – make sure you compare the *exact* same coverage.
-Switch from incandescent lighting to compact fluorescent lighting. They do cost more to purchase, but cost WAY less to run and last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs.
-Turn off lights, and install dimmer switches and ceiling fans in your home.
-Set your A/C a few degrees warmer and your heat a few degrees cooler. Get a set back thermostat, so you aren’t heating or cooling an empty house; have it turn on 30 minutes before you return.
-Lower the temperature on your water heater and insulate it.
-Call your electric company for a home energy survey to find out how you can make your home more energy efficient– most companies don’t charge for this.
-Buy a fuel efficient vehicle. Consider the gallons used per year rather than miles per gallon. A car that gets 15 mpg (at 12,000 miles per year), will consume 800 gallons per year, but a car that gets 25 mpg (at 12,000 miles per year) will only consume 480. Those additional 320 gallons can cost OVER $100 a month.
-Walk and bike more. You’ll get healthier, too!
-Empty your car of unnecessary items.
-Plan trips to be both time and fuel efficient.
-Carpool whenever possible.