- Start the day with breakfast at home. No expensive and fattening bagels or muffins on the run to work. Even on weekends, you don’t really need that lumberjack special, have something better for you, home made. At least you can have real maple syrup on your frozen waffles like I do.
- No coffee out. I wish I would consistently follow this one myself. Most of my pocket cash goes to these sellers of adrenalin by the cup. Not that coffee is so unhealthy, just expensive unless you make it at home. And you can take it with you.
- Brown bag your lunch. Try the eBags Lunch Cooler, or something similar. I usually bring a sandwich, with quality nitrate-free fillings which are much better than what I would get at a deli or cafeteria. Bring along some fruit for a side. If you have the patience to get it ready, a big salad with some chicken on it can work as well.
- No take out! This can be a diet and a budget killer. Nothing like ordering out after a long and hard day at work. Think instead about easy, lazy cook at home weeknight meals. If you are a crusty bachelor consider adding some quality frozen entrées to your regimen.
- Rely on frozen vegetables. After a completely unscientific analysis of where my wastage was going in the kitchen, these were the findings. From my greengrocer, into my refrigerator, into my trash. Plans change, and produce goes bad quickly. Quality frozen vegetables are pre-washed, precut, and cook up fast in the microwave. Some butter or olive oil, some spice, and you have a healthy side dish.
- Plan and eat three meals per day, not an endless array of grazing and snacking. You will be surprised at how much you can save in terms of cash and calories by not keeping snack food on hand.
- Eat the same things over and over again. Admit it to yourself. Even if you are nowhere near as repetitive as Slowfit, you probably have a limited number of things you eat for your meals. When you hit the grocery store, do it with a plan. Run through your typical meals in your head and make sure you have enough of the usual not to run out for a few days.
- No nutritional supplements. If you feel compelled to waste money, a cheap store brand multi-vitamin may be a lesser evil. You will find more and more people pushing these on you, since they are a high margin, recurring purchase. Say no!
- Be careful of organic and local, artesian products. I love the idea, too, but they are often 50-150% more expensive than mass produced varieties. Stick with what you can afford, and what you enjoy. A trip to Whole Foods can blow a middle-class food budget in no time at all.