Insanely Smart Ways To Save Money When You Cook: Guest Post

A healthy diet is crucial to both your physical and mental health. However, most people still think that they need to spend a fortune on food, if they want to have a healthy diet.

That cannot be further from the truth.

In 2013, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted the most comprehensive examination of healthy diet patterns vs. less healthy ones. The study concluded that the healthiest diet available costs only $1, 5 per day more than the least healthy one.

But considering just how many people still think they don’t have enough money to buy healthy food, it seems like people simply aren’t aware that the cost of healthiest diet is trivial compared with the possible health costs of eating junk food all the time.

So the question now is – what can you do to improve your diet and save a couple of dollars in the process?

There’s more to it Than the Cost of Groceries

The main thing you need to think about is limit all of the unnecessary spending. For instance, an average American spends around $6,600 on food every year. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a third of that ($2,600) is spent on eating out.

This means that before you start shopping healthy supplies, you need to revise your shopping habits, and if possible, limit the number of times you go out to eat or order pizzas or Chinese.

Furthermore eating healthy on a budget is about more than just about the cost of food (or visiting restaurants) – it’s also about the pleasure of eating, which (since we as humans are social beings after all) increases when our meals are shared.

And it doesn’t whether you live with your parents, alone or you prepare meals for the whole family, you can surely make all of those low-cost meals more pleasurable by doing some of the following things:

·         Be More Social

Having a nice, relaxing conversation with an old friend or a family member will definitely boost your mood and relieve some stress. And if you happen to live alone, invite a co-worker or a friend over.

·         Shop with Someone

If you have a family, it would be smart to involve your kids in the shopping process more, and teach them something about different foods. On the other hand, shopping with a friend will give you a chance to learn about new discounts and even low-cost chopping stores you weren’t familiar with.

·         Cook with your Friends

Cooking with a friend will not only give you a chance to socialize and deepen a relationship with someone, but it is also a perfect chance to split the grocery costs and make everything cheaper for both of you.

Shop More Wisely (Look at Different Options)

Your local supermarket is not the only place you can buy food. There are other venues (and even apps) out there that offer significantly lower prices for basically the same items.

·         Farmers’ Markets

You should know that many places host farmers’ markets once a week (or month) where local people sell fresh veggies and fruits. And of course, these markets offer better prices than all of the grocery stores in your area.

·         Meal Delivery Services

Special delivery and prep services allow people to buy different foods and have them delivered at their door every week. What’s more, some services like Home Chef also deliver new recipes on a weekly basis to help you prepare your meals with a lot less effort.

·         Discount Stores

Warehouse stores such as Costco have great prices for seasonal foods like cheese and even chicken breasts. This is a great opportunity to buy a large quantity of food and freeze it in small sizes, to save some food for later and avoid any waste.

Keep in Mind that Desserts Can be Affordable Too

Just because you should cut back on desserts (or maybe try excluding it completely from your diet) doesn’t mean you should avoid dessert by any means necessary. And as you already know, most processed deserts (such as cakes, cookies and ice creams sold at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s) are full of sugar and can cost you a pretty penny if you eat them regularly.

Affordable Desserts:

·         Home-Baked Goods

If you try your hand at home-baked cookies and simply cut the amount of sugar the recipe calls for, you’ll see that they can taste just as good as the ones you can purchase in the store. A good example of healthy homemade treats is oatmeal cookies with rolled oats.

·         Dark Chocolate

Most people I know have strong chocolate munchies at least once a month. But if you manage to limit your portions (cut it down to a couple of squares), you’ll be able to enjoy chocolate every now and then. Just make sure to purchase dark chocolate (70% or higher), because it’s actually full of antioxidants.

·         Frozen Deserts

You can always buy some fruit, make some juice, freeze it and make your own popsicles. Another option is to freeze some bananas or berries, make some darks chocolate sauce and prepare a tasty, low-calorie dessert.

Final Thoughts

And those are just some of the ways you can save a couple of bucks on your diet, without compromising the quality or the taste of your meals. So what do you think about our choices? Do you have any money-saving secrets of your own? If you do, make sure to share them with the rest of us by dropping a few words in the comment section bellow. By Vanessa Davis

Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic-based recipes for herself and her kids.



How I Saved $40k by the time I was 21

Hi everyone and welcome back!

Every month, I share a post on my series about how to stop living Paycheck to Paycheck.  Budgeting is something that is learned and it is my hopes that this series will provide some great stepping stones to help people.  The series will run through June of 2017 but if you want the whole book now, you can get it here.

Growing up, all of my friends thought I had no money because I rarely went to the movies or bought random crap at the gas station.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  I was saving my money.

Learning Young

From a young age, my parents taught me the importance of saving.  I remember being really young and receiving $4 per week allowance for doing simple tasks like making my bed every morning.   Out of these $4, I could spend $2 and I had to put $2 into my savings account at the bank. My parents had started this account for me when I was either born or really young and it already had included a small amount of funds from gifts.

As I got older and was able to do more chores, my allowance increased to $10 per week and the same rule applied.  $5 could be spent and $5 had to go to the bank.

Now, $5 doesn’t get you very far so I also had to save the spending money in order to get something from the store.  Over and over again, I would save up and by the time I would have enough money, I either didn’t want the item any more or I had saved so long that I didn’t want to see the money go.  So, most of my spending money ended up in the bank.


When I was 12, I started babysitting.  This is when I really started saving.  My first year of babysitting I was making $3/hr watching one child or $5/hr for two children.  The first year of babysitting I made a little under $1000, all of which I put into the bank.  I continued babysitting and saving until the kiddos I babysat were old enough to stay home alone.  This was around when I was 19 years old.  My fees had gone up to $10/hr for one child and I didn’t have any jobs with two children at that point.

In addition to babysitting, throughout high school, I worked the concession stands during the games, helped out my neighbor in her dental office, and got my first job in a retail store.  I also helped neighbors with house-sitting or other house projects like painting.

I remember one day when I was around 16 where I had three babysitting gigs in one day.  I worked from about 9am to 9pm with only enough time to go from one house to another between.  As much work as it was, it was so rewarding!

When I was 18, I landed a job that paid very well considering I didn’t have a degree.  This job was fun and flexible around my school schedule.  I stayed with this job for two and a half years.

Living at home

I lived at home until I was 21 even though some days I thought it was going to kill me.  I definitely had the fear of being the boomerang kid who moves out too early and can’t make it on their own.  So, I made damn sure I was going to be successful when I finally did move out.

The entire time I lived at my parents, I saved all of the money I earned.  When I was ready to move out, I started looking for a home to buy.  I knew I never wanted to rent an apartment.  Of course though, that purchase fell through and I ended up having to rent.  Anyways, good thing I had extra money saved up to put towards rent right?


I always knew that there were going to be large purchases ahead and that by the time I turn 28 that I would have definitely need a new car.  I knew that I was also going to buy a house.  This is what kept me motivated to save and kept me from buying novelties.   I will be turning 28 in April of 2017 and am very happy that I saved early on.  I am now able to sell my house and purchase house #2 where I will start my family.

While not everybody may be able to live at home until they are 21, there is always a way to better your situation.  Saving money towards a larger goal or saying goodbye to living paycheck to paycheck requires the motivation to work hard to have a better future.


Low Spend September – 5 Tips

Low Spend September

Every year around early fall and also in mid winter, I get the bug to stop spending money.  This is probably because I’m so into my home projects that I go crazy in the warm and sunny months completing as many projects as I can.

This summer was no different.  I completely re-decorated my downstairs and also redid all non-carpeted flooring in my house and one bathroom.  While I made sure to never go negative on my spending, I’m ready to go positive for a few months and get that savings back up.

Here’s what I’ve done in the past and plan on doing again.  Let me know if you have tips as well!

  • No large purchases – At this point most of my spending is because of large items, tables, couches, etc.  Since there is really no room in my house for any new items, I’m saying no large purchases (which includes outdoor furniture which is my next project area).
  • Limit random spending to $25/weekend – I’ve learned that since having my house I’m always ‘needing’ something new.  I also know it’s impossible to knock out all of my spending, so I’m giving myself a small limit to get random items that come up.  –I finally found placemats and towels that match my kitchen after looking for five months!  That’s where my money went this weekend.
  • Take advantage of freebies and rewards – With all of my redecorating earlier this year, I racked up some rewards points at Wayfair and was actually notified that my points would be expiring soon.  So, I looked around the site and found bought a kitchen knife (we’ve been looking for good knifes).  The rewards I had covered the expense and shipping!  I also signed up for some of those mail freebies which is something I did last year and got quite a bit of stuff.  The main things that stand out are 5 packages of Nesquick mix and 4 tea k-cups.
  • Clean out the cupboard and freezer (and use the items) – Like most people, I’ve gotten in the rut of buying groceries without using all of the groceries I have in my house.  Many times, the items I’m restocking are processed easy to prepare foods which is not good on so many levels.  So part of my savings this month is to use up as much of the food I have on hand without going to the store except for a few perishable items.  I’ve done this in the past and it’s very helpful to save from spending and helps me to eat healthier, and helps with refreshing the cabinets and avoiding expiration dates.
  • Ditching recurring payments – Some other things I’ve done or plan on doing once contracts are up is unsubscribing from television, Netflix, and security monthly recurring fees.  With videos, there are so many ways to watch that there is no need to pay a recurring fee for methods I don’t ever use.  And with the security, I feel that managing on my own will be just as safe as if it was managed by a company because I really just need to know if something has gotten into my house before me so I don’t walk in.  If I’m already home then either way I’d be out of luck.