It seems that everything has a price. Everything you want to do costs more. There is this constant battle to either justify spending the extra money or justify doing without. Take eating healthy for example, we know it makes sense but we look at the price of organic, the price of non-organic food, our bank balance and we make less than ideal choices. Maybe we are thinking about a cleansing program, the benefits make sense, but the cost of the products gives you a not-so-healthy headache. Perhaps exercise is on your radar…so you start looking at a Gym membership, or your friends personal trainer, or maybe perusing online sales sites for used exercise equipment…more cost.
I found myself saying to a client this week, “if there is a way to get it/do it for free. that’s the direction I take”…and I do. There is so much you can do or get without paying (or paying full price).
The following are some tips to get your creative juices flowing…
- Look for a free online resource first. ~A few years ago I began opening up to my spiritual self…as a result I found myself wanting more information on who we are, where we come from, why we are here, what is our purpose, what is this ‘law of attraction’ we keep hearing about, etc. etc. I started signing up for free teleseminars online. Wow! There is an abundance of stuff available to us for free – from teleseminars to blogs to documentaries, you name it! I have become an online information junkie. My car is my university. No need to pay for classes or to attend a speaking event, although they are available and offered if you do want to partake. I’ve received thousands of dollars of information over the past several years!
- Make the Library your best friend. ~ I will be honest, I never went to the library much. But lately, as I drive in my ‘university’, learning all I can learn, I often hear the name of a book mentioned that sounds intriguing. Of course there is usually an opportunity for me to buy it ‘now’ at a ‘discounted price’, but I resist. When I get home I go the Library site, reserve it and wait for the Library to email me to say it is in. I did all of my summer reading this way.
- Buy in Bulk. ~ When it comes to buying organic, the price per item is generally more. Our household started buying organic meat from a local butcher and I watched our grocery bill increase by about 20%…now, eating healthy is important to us, so the increase is worth it, but the budget doesn’t have a lot of room for an increase so I had to think of other alternatives…we started buying larger orders (you know, a quarter of a cow, 1o lbs of ground beef at a time…that sort of thing). The upfront cost increased but it evened out over time closer to what we were spending before.
- Pay more and eat less. ~ We also started eating less meat per meal and more vegetables. Because, really, we eat way too much in a sitting anyway!. Our grocery bill stayed stable and our weight began to drop. Yes! Win-win!
- Make larger meals. ~ This advice is for everyone buy my Mum. She makes meals that are way to big for just her because she did it for all of us for so long 🙂 …but for anyone with a family, cook more at one time, so you have leftovers for the next day or for lunches for you or the kids. If you’re not going to eat it that week, freeze it. This saves on last-minute rush meals which usually involve more expensive convenient foods, reduces the times when you throw a few bucks at the kids to buy lunch because it is now too late to make something for them AND from a health perspective avoids those non-healthy quick fixes like macaroni, or pancakes, or grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. I also recommend breakfast for supper once a week. Cause it’s just so darn fun! For an added flair, eat in your jammies!
- Odds & Ends. ~ look at the little expenses … the coffee on the way to work, the tea mid-day, the 3 o’clock snack, the chips, chocolate bars or other junk food that creeps in and plays havoc on your pocket book and your waistline…plan ahead, substitute by bringing a coffee with you, or making one before you leave work, pack a lunch bag with healthier snacks (you can still throw in the bag of chips or chocolate bar, but buy them when they are on sale, in bulk, versus the one-off price at the local convenience store).
Do you have a tip you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!
Wishing you happy, healthy finances!
Mary Ann Marriott
aka Dr. Debt