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Surviving on a Strict Budget and Weight Loss

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Let’s talk about food choices. If you are on a strict food budget like so many of us our in this country eating healthy is very challenging especially if you are making a conscious effort to lose weight. I’ve read articles and countless YouTuber’s channels on how this can be done but, obviously they had a bigger food budget than I did to make that work for them.

Staple food items for those on the tightest budget are always going to be high carb options and let’s be real one of the cheapest meals you can make are rice & beans, beans & cornbread, or spaghetti. In my house growing up there were all things hamburger…..from spaghetti, to goulash, and that lovely companion hamburger helper…to which in my adult life I have never eaten hamburger helper again.

Growing up we had a 60% diet based on vegetables or pasta of some type. We only had meat on special occasions, or on Sundays unless it was found on some huge sale. I think my mom may have been Queen of the hotdogs when she realized how cheap she could get them from the meat market in these huge boxes and we had hotdogs every way possible to make them. Followed by macaroni and cheese when we would get those big boxes of commodity cheese. Not to mention the endless pasta casseroles.

So when I lost my job in the beginning of the year because my mom needed me in every capacity possible when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I had to think very differently on how to survive going from a 2 income family to a 1 income family. First everything was cut that was not essential and the #1 thing that went was the cable bill. Now we have grown accustomed to Netflix, and Amazon video for 99% of our tv watching. Then I had to take a close look at what I could do to cut our utility bills to the bare min. I had all our leaky pipes/faucets fixed and the water bill went from $80-$90 per month to $40. My other biggest beast was the electric bill and I started doing tons of research and reading articles and I ran across one called “Phanton Power” even if you have your electronics turned off they are still generating phantom power that you are being billed for every single month.

I went to wal-mart and bought power strips for $3.48 each and put everything on those that I could control while not in use. I still left the Frig, chest freezer, and washer & dryer plugged in but everything else if it was not being used it got unplugged or powerstrip turned off. I had been paying over $150 a month for my electric for more years than I care to recall. Then one day I got the email that my bill was available online and I logged in… was $49.98 I was astonished those simple changes made that big of an impact. An impact so great that I tell everyone about what I did to lower my electric bill. So with a few items I changed Cable/Water/Electric savings $$$ which were monthly $290 that $290 would become my monthly grocery budget.

I do not coupon simply because I mostly shop at discount stores and I cannot be brand loyal using coupons when very seldomly a mediocre coupon may be available. Kudo’s to those extreme couponers for making it work for them but, there are no store brand coupons for where I shop. I mostly shop at 4 stores in my area which are Save A Lot, Aldi, Wal-Mart, and Sam’s Club. I only buy meat at Sam’s Club it took me several months to work out my own system with it to where my chest freezer is full on a regular basis.

So we come to the heart of trying to feed a family of 3 on under $300 a month it’s all about planning, and strategy. But with this you cannot eat healthy all the time your diet consists of pasta, rice, bread, beans, meat, vegetables in the summer time fresh garden variety and canned or frozen veggies. I have also helped some of my family members with my own strategies and meals. I’ve searched endlessly on Pinterest for recipes and for this point in time it’s probably the reason I am not as successful as I was prior to being reduced to a 1 income family in my weight loss efforts. But I am trying to do things more in moderation with high carb options. It’s unfortunate that everything that’s cheap to cook has a million carbs in it.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I really liked this blog! Amazing how you were able to save so much money! I really like frugal living, though I'm fortunate now that I don't *have* to do it. I remember when I was in grad school and my husband had a mall job, we did so great with frugality. My proudest moment was spending a total of $48 on the both of us for a month of groceries. That was in 2006, so it's not as impressive as it would be now, but it was still awesome.
    553 days ago
    I have almost come to accept the fact that my shopping on a budget will not change in the immediate future and I will just have to make those things work in combination with working out and trying to live a healthier lifestyle within the constraints that I have for myself. But today I did buy salad stuff for about a week and I sure hope the greens I bought last that long in the frig that's going to be my daily lunch is some variation of salad it's so much more expensive to eat healthy!
    554 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15664580
    Great blog! I just started doing the unplugging after you told us about it in the team last week. My boyfriend already does this - but I never have.

    Not only is eating more healthfully more expensive, it is also more work! Lots more cooking and less pre-packaged stuff!
    554 days ago
    @BRENNAN_ARMACOS beans and rice are just an example really of eating cheaply and like pasta a high carb food choice. if you look at most lower carb diets they will have limited portions of beans, rice, pasta, bread choices as well as fruits and some vegetables.
    554 days ago
    emoticon your blog! emoticon

    I have heard of the problem with electronics. I haven't been able to get my family to completely turn off things, though. Maybe I'll make my mom read your blog, and she'll see what I mean by it! Glad that you saved so much money!

    We used to eat a lot of Hamburger Helper growing up, and like you, I didn't want any when I was an adult. But I stopped eating meat, so that's part of why for me. It is hard to design a good diet that's budget friendly. I hope you will find that balance somehow.

    P.S. I thought beans and rice was supposed to be good for you? Does it make you sick? It actually does make me sick sometimes to have beans. I get so bloated sometimes that my intestines start to bleed. I may have to entirely cut beans out of my diet permanently. But I'm hoping my body starts making the right enzymes to digest the beans, like it is supposed to be doing.
    555 days ago
    I am still in awe of how the Lord has helped you in so many ways to cut corners.. It just shows us that there are a lot of things in our life that aren't needful just because they are convenient. I tell my family sometimes , this is a " NOW" time... which means "needs over wants" - then they understand..

    Thank you so much for being willing to share these awesome tips with everyone.. you truly are a real blessing ! emoticon emoticon

    Hugs and Prayers,
    555 days ago
    @workingwoman31 it's always the way! Also you ever notice that fast food salads are as many calories as good sized burger? emoticon
    555 days ago
  • no profile photo GRAMPIAN
    You're doing well. emoticon
    555 days ago
  • CINDY247
    You've done a great job of cutting cost! Yes, it is a shame that eating healthier usually does cost more. Which makes no sense to me when processed foods cost more to make than whole foods... Keep on Sparking!
    555 days ago
    I agree you ever notice that when you go out to eat the healthy stuff cost more than the bad stuff
    556 days ago
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