Aug 5, 2012

How Budgeting Makes Me Healthier

I wrote a post a few days ago about putting myself on a different kind of diet: a budget diet. To recap, I have become a bit lenient with my spending as of late and really need to put a stop to buying anything I want. I also have a car loan that I want to pay off early and figured I could do that if I start watching my spending. Like dieting with food, I'm really bad at dieting with my wallet.

But, over the past few days, as I've meticulously kept track of my spending and thought about my choices a bit more, I've noticed that sticking to a budget has its health advantages, too. So perhaps with this new budget, I can remove some other vices from my life as well.

Case in point:

Diet Coke from Gott's Roadside

1. Diet Sodas. I don't buy usually diet sodas for my house (if I do, they are Hansen's and its a once in a blue moon thing), but when I'm out grabbing a sandwich at the deli or a chicken salad at my favorite Mexican restaurant, I opt for a Diet Coke on the side. Why? I love them. I sometimes tell myself that I need one (you know, bad day at work, not enough sleep, etc.). But now, I think twice about ordered that $2.00 diet soda full of God knows what type of fake sugar. I'm $2.00 closer to my savings goal and my body thanks me for hydrating with a (free) glass of ice water.

Raspberry Macaron from Bouchon Bakery

2. Eating Out.  Brandon and I love to eat out, especially on the weekends. Friday night, Saturday night and sometimes even Sunday afternoon, we can usually be found at our favorite restaurants; In N Out Burger, Le Boulanger Bakery, or Chipotle. You see where I'm going with this: eating out = spending money and eating out = unhealthy choices. So our new weekend activities are going to be more from the free/low cost variety:  going on a hike, walks along the bay, hitting up the gym, or watching a documentary on Netfix. Easy on the wallet and our waistlines.

Coconut Lemon Simply Bar

3. Grocery Shopping. I never listen...and I always go to the grocery store hungry. It resulted last weekend in BBQ chips (which I finished off by Wednesday) and a few other not-so-healthy impulse buys. My grocery bill was also a lot more than it could be. This Friday when I stopped by Costco for a few items to hold us over for the week, I paid more attention to what I was picking up: I chose a $2.50 melon that will last me all week. A giant box of oatmeal which will last all month.  A big container of organic spinach ($3.99) and bag of frozen berries ($6.99) for smoothies. As I become more conscious of my spending, I also, inadvertently, choose food that is by far healthier than their boxed or packaged unhealthy counterparts.

Side note: I also love The Simply Bar Protein bars, they are healthy and very portable for when I'm running late every single morning. So, I decided to sign up for Amazon's "subscribe and save" feature, which automatically gives me a discount on them. This was a better option than buying box after box and eating them up as quickly as the UPS man dropped them by my door.

So whereas budgeting is indeed a different type of dieting, both have similar concepts: changing your habits and making you more aware of what you are doing. I love how by simply going on a budget, I'm able to think more carefully about my food choices as well. Win-win.

Have you found that budgeting also helps you eat healthier? 

1 comment:

  1. When I was obese 2 years back, we budgeted for food as well. It did not stop us from buying the wrong kinds of food nor did it stop us from eating at the Fast Food restaurants. Why? Because we budgeted for the wrong kinds of foods (which was more cheap) and we budgeted to eat at the Fast Food restaurants.
    Now, however, we eat more healthy because we want to. We budget according to our healthy eating habits which is more expensive for me but worth the while.


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