Monday, March 11, 2013

Tips for Staying Frugal While Dieting + $500 Giveaway!



Spring is almost here and a lot of us are keeping up with out New Year's Resolutions to lose weight (go us!), but it is going to become tougher in the coming months. We are going to find ourselves outdoors more shopping, traveling and enjoying the spring weather. There will be more temptation. Eating healthy can be hard enough without the extra stress that it can put on your wallet. A cart full of "real" (non-processed) food can be expensive. Not to mention eating out. Fast food is not an option for dieters. It is true that you can still eat out if you order the correct things; but Salmon, Beef and Chicken can be expensive at restaurants. I have some tips that may help relieve some of the stress on your wallet and even help you stay on your healthy eating track.

1) Buy meat in bulk

Meat is often cheaper in bigger packages. The best stores to buy meat are membership clubs like Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's. If you have a deep freezer you can really maximize your money by signing up with a company like Zaycon Foods. With Zaycon you buy large boxes (the chicken box is 40lbs!) of fresh meat at discount prices. Just trim and divide the meat into individual servings and freeze. If neither of these are an option that work for you; keep an eye on the circulars and stock up on meat when it goes on sale.

2) Prep, Prep, Prep

It may be a pain to spend a few hours in the kitchen on your day off, but it will make your week so much easier. Plus, if you have food already made in your fridge you will eat at home and not be tempted to eat out. By eating at home you will also save money. It's a win-win for your wallet and your diet. Need some inspiration? Here is a photo of some of the foods I prepped last week:


Included in the picture are Cheesy Egg Muffins (Basically mini omelets made in a muffin pan: Eggs, Cheese, Veggies, Sausage, etc. mixed up and baked), sausage and cheese stuffed mushrooms, sausage patties (yes, I was on a sausage kick! My low sugar and low carb diet allows it), hard boiled eggs, carrots, tuna (mixed with hard boiled eggs, salsa and guacamole), roasted vegetables (carrots, broccoli, squash, zucchini, onions, cauliflower), spaghetti squash. I also made a lot of grilled chicken and some salads.

3) Take healthy snacks with you on the go

If you bring healthy snacks with you then you will be less likely to eat out or hit up that vending machine. Carry some homemade trail mix in your purse at all time (I like walnuts, almonds, raisins and cranberries) or a healthy snack bar if your diet allows it. I also keep a bag of carrots, hard boiled eggs and some strawberries in my fridge at work for munching on when I get hungry.

4) Keep your meat/fish portions small

If you are eating healthy, then you are probably eating a lot of fish, meat and vegetables (unless you are vegan or vegetarian). If you are like my family and have to have meat with every meal, cut the meat portions down and sub in more vegetables to keep your meal price down. Depending on what your diet allows rice and grains are also great for stretching meals.

5) Save money when shopping online

Whether you are ordering a meat or veggie box delivered to your door or purchasing a specialty item that you can't find in local grocery stores; you are bound to purchase some items online. When you do, make sure you visit a coupon website like Rather-Be-Shopping.com to see if there are any discount codes. You can also check sites like Swagbucks to see if you can earn any points for shopping through them. The combination of using Swagbucks and Rather-Be-Shopping has saved me several dollars off of a transaction and helped me find free shipping many times. It only takes seconds to check these two websites and it is normally worth it. 

6) Avoid a yearly gym membership

I know that it is "the thing" right now to have a gym membership and there are a lot of different neat gyms out there that can teach you different things. However, you can save a lot of money by not getting stuck in a yearly gym membership. If you want to have the enjoyment of a group workout see if there is a community recreation center near you. There is normally a small yearly fee and you can then sign up for lots of classes for free or very cheap. It is a lot cheaper than a gym. If you live in a beautiful (and warm) city like I do, it is too beautiful to exercise in doors. Take a walk, jog or go to the beach. If you are in a colder area or are worried about rainy days; there are plenty of exercise DVD's out there. If you are worried about accountability set up work-out dates with friends. You can even Skype workout with your BFF every morning. There are a lot of possibilities out there. If you must work out in a gym; then search online first and see if they offer a free trial. By combining all of the free offers and hitting up different gyms in my area, I could have several months worth of free visits.

7) When you eat out use deal websites

I save a ton of money on eating out by getting deal emails every day. I scan them and see if any of the deals work for me. It is important to remember to read the fine print. I also search for restaurant menu's before buying to make sure that the prices and food items are within my ideal range. Sites I use include Groupon, Living Social, Crowd Savings, Eversave and Restaurant.com. I am also signed up to get local deals from my local radio stations and baseball team. Do not buy more than two or three deals at a time so that you get to use them all before they expire. I also mark expiration dates on my calendar 2 weeks in advance so that I remember to use them.

Hopefully these tips will help you save some money. Do you have any more tips? Feel free to share!

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky person will win $500! 

**TO ENTER- Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Note: It may take a moment for the Rafflecopter to load. If you are reading this via RSS or Email, please visit the website to enter**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

97 comments:

Kyle said...

Great tips Crystal! Especially like avoiding the gym membership. There are so many great free calorie burners around, sometimes you just have to spend the time to find them. Thank again for co-hosting this giveaway!

Ari T said...

These are great tips to stay frugal and still maintain your diet routine. Now that I read about skipping the yearly gym membership I feel much better about canceling mine. There are lots of ways to exercise without the gym. Taking a daily walk or jog is just as beneficial and you can create your own limits on the distance you want to go. Using videos at home will let you try the same classes at home. Thanks for all these tips!

Jen said...

These are great tips! I always buy meat in bulk. I wish I could give up my gym membership but I have little ones. When I try to workout at home they think I'm a jungle gym :)

Alliejean said...

I buy a lot of grocery items online--so much cheaper!

jammvj66 said...

make a list for the grocery store

Dee L said...

Awesome tips!

Love having another giveaway to enter too. Following some fantastic pin boards now. Woooowho!

Take care!
Dee

lokigsd said...

I've never grocery shopped online, I will look into it.

Sam Smith said...

I'd use it to pay bills.

Liz said...

Unfortunately, I have to pay some bills !!

Love3570@aol.com

sweepmom said...

I would update my wardrobe.

Mike S said...

Pay off a bill

Maddie Klingaman said...

I would give it to my husband to get his crown fixed.

daniel thornton said...

I would put the money in the bank

cranky30[at]hotmail[dot]com

Cujo hmb said...

I'd pay some bills and take my wife out for dinner.

Marlena said...

pay off bills

Bobby Tarumi said...

I'd use the $500 towards credit card bills!

MW Harris said...

I would buy some tools
marwayhar@gmail.com

sksweeps said...

I'd put it in my savings account and hope I don't need it!

sksweeps (at) earthlink (dot) net

ffc57d54-1f8d-11e2-86df-000bcdca4d7a said...

Put the money in the bank.

Krafty said...

I would pay bills.Sigh!

Jennie Yuen said...

I think I would spend it on new camera gear.

mkjmc said...

Dress for daughters wedding, shoes and jewelry

Priscilla said...

I love the idea of taking one day a week and prepping food. Not only will it keep me from eating out too often but it will also help me stick to healthy meals because healthy ingredients will be ready to go.

J. Snider said...

Pay my taxes

carol said...

I would buy some spring clothes for myself and some scrapping items

Thomas Murphy said...

I would buy a new TV
rounder9834 @yahoo.com

McKim said...

I would get new glasses and new shoes for my husband.

Beef McBig said...

I'd pay some bills, sorry so boring!

Illy said...

i would love to buy a laptop, so i can work at home

Brad said...

I would get some toys for my kids

amp said...

I would pay some bills and buy some things for my new cat


apoalillo {AT} hotmail dot com
alyce poalillo

Paula V said...

These are great tips. I need to do more food prep.

amberlavine said...

Summer clothes for the kids and some baby things we need for our LO on the way.

betty baez said...

pay bills angelgenius27(at)yahoo(dot)com

Stephanie Momonick said...

Get muffler fixed and transmission leak fixed on my car.

Stephanie said...

pay off some of my debt
tvollowitz at aol dot com

Veronica Lee said...

I'll save it for my son's college fund.

HarleyC said...

I'd get some new clothes

Vera Khule said...

I would use the money to improve the soil in my garden to grow vegetables.

Kathryn said...

I would buy a wheelchair for my son's Dad who needs one.

annabee818 said...

I would make an extra student loan payment!

Elena Vo said...

Thanks so much for the giveaway! I'd put the $500 towards a new computer for my sons. They are both in high school and really need one.

Janna Johnson said...

save for vacation
Thanks! Janna JOhnson jannajanna@hotmail.com janna@feedyourpig on gfc

Ravzie said...

I would buy new clothes!!! Thanks.

Teresa Stebbins said...

I would pay off some bills! teristeb@gmail.com

Elizabeth said...

I think I would use it to buy the second set of study material for the certification I am studying for!

Rafael.8a5 said...

I want to buy some new clothes!

nahomeyg said...

I would pay some bills

Ruben Ramos said...

Bills bills and uhh... oh right bills!

crystalf said...

I would put it up for the beach trip we would like to take later this year. We've been on one vacation in 17 years so we thinks it's time for another one. thank you!
crystalfaulkner2000 at yahoo dot com

smilekisses said...

I would buy gas and groceries.
dolniaks at consolidated dot net

April said...

I have a big SECRET purchase planned so it would go a long way toward getting me to my goal!

Jules525 said...

Pay off a couple of doctors peoples and maybe a date night with my husband

steve stone said...

buy a new tablet
gabbflabber@live.com

SharonC said...

I want to put new windows in my home. I would use the money toward my window fund!

jill190 said...

Clorine for the pool for our stayvacation.

guettel78 said...

I'd get a new jacket and pair of running shoes, and save the rest for spring/summer road trips!

Geoff K
gkaufmanss at yahoo dot com

Amanda Kinder said...

It would be used on bills.

Christine Wheeler said...

Those a lot of great tips.

Lisa Brown said...

I would pay some bills

ad0ffae6-78f6-11e1-8cde-000bcdcb5194 said...

I'd pay some bills and take a trip!

eai(at)stanfordalumni(dot)org

- Epic Fail said...

I'd save it up for vacation!

Jessica Rose
ijessica_r at yahoo dot com

Risingsouth said...

I would buy my girls some new shoes and spend the rest on food.

Kim said...

Pay some bills!m

Julie said...

I would pay for school

Deb Christie said...

I'd pay a credit card bill.

GALENA said...

go see my grandson

marcia goss said...

I would use the $500 for a vacation.
marcia.goss@gmail.com

jmcharries said...

Our resolution was to keep more memories so we would probably buy a decent camera to take pictures of the kids, family, and friends!

jmcharries@cox.net

tracy hutchinson said...

pay some bills

melsywsou said...

Buy some furniture for our new house

Jennifer Gochoel said...

Take a vacation

Carmella Marcheski said...

My wonderful boys birthdays

Jen said...

I would pay some bills

Jason Grubb said...

I would help my girlfriend pay for her textbooks for the fall semester.

Gennie Lancaster said...

I would get my daughter some new clothes and put money towards my school debt.

Melanie Montgomery said...

I'd put it toward my husbands school

Kim said...

I would pay some bills

Jennifer Reed said...

I would put it toward redoing my main level bathroom.

Kim said...

I would make two solar panel payments (trying to pay down our only debt besides the mortgage)

Susan C said...

Reduce my credit card debt.

Susan C said...

Reduce my credit card debt.

rache81 said...

I would pay bills.. Boring but necessary!
Rachel Ellis on RC

jules mcnubbin (buttmuffin) said...

me and the kid need new clothes for spring and summer

Rebecca_0 said...

I would pay a few bills up

Min K said...

I'm planning on painting the house soon - $500 will help.

Carolyn Daley said...

I would use it towards groceries, medical bills, and some plants for the front yard.

c8c5d67e-8f7b-11e2-9fec-000bcdcb2996 said...

Dog toys!!!

c8c5d67e-8f7b-11e2-9fec-000bcdcb2996 said...

I would buy dog toys!!

buzzd said...

pay bills

richied.becky said...

I would buy an oven since we dont have one that works at the moment...

classy_mommie@yahoo.com

sumn said...

I would hire someone to paint my bathroom. I have ugly, dirty wallpaper that I want down.

liliesrnice said...

I would put the money toward a new mattress set!

Elizabeth Miller said...

Bills.

Brian E. said...

Thanks for the giveaway...put $$$ towards a laptop for my daughter !

senorpiero [at] yahoo [dot] com

Rafflecopter: Bryan E.

vix said...

I would use the $500 to go on a road trip with my mother. She's been wanting to travel from the east coast to the west coast for as long as I can remember. Now we both finally have the time to take this trip but not exactly all the money we would need for gas and places to sleep. Thanks so much for this giveaway!

My email is; vfoley91@live.com

Jennifer Q. said...

I would buy something nice for my husband's birthday! :)