Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

How To Save $2000 a Year

It has dawned on me that being frugal is boring. I know that sometimes I think its exciting to go recycling on Monday nights (Yeah! DH went with me last night too), and writing about coupon cost saving shopping trips, but y'all probably just skip the post after the first sentence, or even after the title. Today though is another boring tip that you probably already do, but maybe you didn't realize how much money you are saving by doing it. Its really simple. Brown Bag it. Yup, bring your lunch to work. It will save you thousands of dollars a year. But its boring because we do the same frugal lunch most days.

DH & I have been having homemade salads for lunch at work for over seven years, I've been doing it longer -close to ten years. And I'm not bored with it. Its really convenient to just grab it out of the fridge and eat, no waiting in line for the microwave, heating time or assembly. More on that some other day, we do have an assembly line when we make our salads on Sundays. Anyway, to avoid boredom with our lunch, we change the salad to Olive Garden greek salads, or BBQ pork salads, or Taco Salads, but mainly its grilled chicken salads.

There are always the comments in the lunch room as we get our salads, "Oh another salad day, how exciting!", Or "Gee what kind of salad today?", or "You're going to turn into a rabbit eating salads like that everyday". But we make GR8 salads that are easy and healthy. Sure we put meat and cheese on it, but you've got to have some fat in your diet. We portion the salad dressing into snack size ziplocs and put a bag in each bowl so its easy to bite off a corner and squirt it on and toss the bag - easy to clean up too.

But one of the best things about bringing a lunch everyday is that it saves us over $2000 a year. It's even cheaper now that we use coupons, and when we get our garden producing, it will cut the costs by another third. A typical lunch purchased at the Deli would cost about $6/day or $1440/year. Our salads cost $1.51/day or $362/year each, so thats about $724 total household cost, compared to $2880 cost of Deli lunches for both of us.

I know its boring, but VERY satisfying to save money. I've attached a yummy picture of my salad for today, and cost analysis (CLICK TO ENLARGE) so you can figure out how YOU can save money by packing your lunch and using coupons.

30 Day Weight Loss Results

A month ago we stepped off a cruise ship after a long holiday weekend of lazing around and eating lots of yummy, fattening food. We each gained several pounds that needed to come off so our clothes would fit better and we would feel healthier. Here's a picture of us at St Johns USVI where we went on a nice catamaran and snorkling excursion. This is the "before" picture.

This is us each five pounds heavier, the "before" photo UGH
At first we kept up our regular meal plan of a carbohydrate rich breakfast of raisin bran with a banana, or homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal. But the problem was we were hungry for a morning snack about an hour later. Recently, the past couple weeks we've made turkey bacon for breakfast, alon with zuchinni patties (shredded zuchinni, parm cheese, egg beaters fried in a pan) Snacks in the morning are protein snack bars, cereal bars, almonds, beef jerky, fresh cut up melon or berries. Then lunch is a lettuce salad with chicken and veggie toppings, along with a nonfat yogurt for dessert. After work, we have a small snack of hummus or corn salsa on chips, then dinner is usually something from the stockpile like fish, pasta, rice or pork and of course frozen veggies steamers. Oh, and a couple beers. But no night time snacks, no eating after dinner for me.

our lunch salad, and a yogurt
I track my food and exercise using the MyFitnessPal app on my smart phone, If I am trying out a new exercise I track it live with the CardioTrainer app which uses a GPS to calculate steps, miles, calories, time etc so I know what it's all worth (It's a 2 mile trip around Busch Gardens). I try to eat about 1200-1400 calories a day, and burn up 400 to 600 calories with exercise (biking, walking. treading water in pool) each day. On Fridays and Saturdays, I may go out to eat (love those buffalo chicken wings!) so my calories can jump to 2000 per day. But my activity is up too so I think it evens out.

 I also read a diet book I checked out from the library (an ebook) The Adaptation Diet by Charles A Moss, which outlined a basically low carb diet with other ideas too. I've implemented some of the ideas, like eliminating anti inflammatory pills like Aleve or Advil because they cause a "leaky gut". I've pretty much cut out bread, and corn products and potatoes. I've cut back on drinking beer and we've never been sugar lovers, so sweets are easy to ignore.

Well, I'm pleased to report we have each lost five pounds in a month with this plan. DH doesn't bike like I do, so his plan includes less exercising, but men lose weight easier anyway. And the wonderful thing is, this lifestyle is frugal. There are no special foods, or pills, or drinks needed to lose weight. It's good old fashioned healthy diet and exercise. It's a lifestyle that can endure and be long lasting, with occasional treats that will not sideline your efforts because overall a healthy lifestyle can sustain the bumps in the road.

When we lose 5 more pounds, I'll post an "after" photo. Stay posted.

Dieting Hurts

My stomach is growling with hunger. I ate a good breakfast of oatmeal with cinnamon apples. And I had a banana for a snack. And some melon and strawberries as another snack. But my morning commute on the bicycle makes me really hungry. My metabolism is higher all day long. And makes my stomach hurt. I am craving carbohydrates, and those couple bottles of water just aren't making me feel full or satisfied. I want some bread or crackers, but my lunch will offer no relief with just a salad and yogurt packed in my bag.
I have a snack drawer here in my desk with cereal bars, snack bars and protein bars that I am resisting. It is to prove to myself that losing weight is not easy. It takes a lot of will power to stick with it. I know a 120 calorie snack bar won't make or break my efforts, but its the point. You should know and feel if you are dieting. If you are hungry, or exhausted at night and fall asleep in one minute, or your muscles are tight, or your ischial tuberosity is sore from the bike saddle - these are gentle reminders from your body to your brain that "Hey, I know what you're doing and it hurts".
The effort to lose weight is tough if you're doing it the right way, with proper nutrition and exercise. Do you eat breakfast everyday, at home? If not, you're probably overweight or have unhealthy issues. Do you prepare your own lunch? If not, its probably out of box or a restaurant meal and you're probably overweight or have health issues. Do you exercise at least thirty minutes every other day? If not, you probably are overweight or have health issues. These are three simple things that are frugal and will lead you to a healthier lifestyle, where you can control your weight.
But it won't be easy. It will take some effort on your part - you have to wake up earlier to make breakfast. You need to prepare your lunches ahead of time which requires planning, time and effort. Exercising is the easiest of all to fit in. Just slip on a pair of walking shoes and head out the door for 15 minutes, twice a day on your break at work. Or park in the back of the parking lot at the store. Take the stairs instead of elevator.

So, I sit here and my stomach still hurts, but my jeans are looser. Only a few more minutes to lunch time. I think I can do it.

Does Couponing Make You Fat?

As I pull on my pants each morning, lately the button seems a little harder to get closed. My tummy is a little more jiggly, and my boobs are bigger. I hate to step on the scale because I told DH and myself that I'm going to lose some weight as swimming season is here. But it hasn't been happening. I did step on the evil scale earlier this month and weighed about 12 pounds more than I want to be. According to my favorite weight log site, I'm about 15 lbs over the desired weight. Either way, I don't like it.
I usually have no trouble losing weight quickly and maintaining the loss, but this past year has been different. I'm a firm believer in the thought that you can't improve what you don't measure. So I log my weight into  (its free BTW) and I know that I used to weigh my goal weight last year in April 2009. I gained about 20 lbs by Christmas and then lost 15 after New Years, but now its creeping up again. My bike riding has been pretty consistent with about 380 miles ridden each quarter (I ride about 15 of 20 weekdays to work each month.) It did drop off during the winter when we were remodeling the bathrooms and kitchen so I could meet with the contractor each morning, and have the car to pick up supplies. I rode about 150 miles the 4QTR, and 200 miles the 1QTR of 2010. This lack of exercise probably contributed to my weight gain, since my body is pretty responsive to exercise.
However, now I am riding almost every day, and walking an hour a day, and still not losing weight. I eat the same breakfast and lunch I've had for years ( I know boring!) cereal with a banana, and a lettuce salad w/ chicken, plus a yogurt. So dinner is the change. And guess what we now eat for dinner? Yup, you guessed it - all that prepackaged, processed food that we get cheap with coupons. Frozen fish fillets, Curlys BBQ pulled pork, Zatarains Jambalaya with Premio sausage, Steamfresh meals, TGIF appetizers, Contessa frozen pasta meals, etc..
Since I've been couponing over a year now, I have it down to a point where I don't really even have a grocery budget, I spend less on food for the month than we spend on our cheap SERO cell phone bill. But, its taking a toll on my health and beauty. I'm trying not to buy the junk food, but when its free with coupons I can't resist. I tell myself I'll give it away, or serve it when we have company so that we don't eat it. But its just so darn convenient to open a package and have a quick meal.
So, the struggle continues. The evil scale vs the full freezer.