Saturday, January 31, 2009

Frugality Tips #13 & 14

We're getting into the double digits now, and now I'm going to be starting a series for a little bit. This is the "Get Healthy!" part of frugality.

Being healthy can save you a lot of money in doctor's bills and dentist bills, which are the things that drain the most money out of your pocket. People who are taking care of their bodies don't go to the hospital, doctor's or dentist's office nearly as often as those who don't care. And surprisingly, a lot of the aspects of being healthy can save you money.

Frugal Tip #13 (Get Healthy!)

Stop eating fast food!

Fast food is so expensive... Especially if you figure that with the $5+ you spent on a meal for just you, you could have made dinner for your family of 4 for the same price. So just don't eat out. It's horrible for your health (however much McDonald's tries to tell you otherwise). And if you're getting salads there, that's a super super waste of money. It's much cheaper to make your own salads. And they'll be less soggy (yuck!). All that fat and those calories will make it more likely for you to be overweight or obese. Obesity brings many expensive problems like diabetes, heart attacks, etc.

Cutting out the fast food can help you lose weight as well as save money now. :) Additionally, you should avoid going to sit-down restaurants. You will eat many more calories than at a fast food restaurant and it will cost you more. If you want to have a nice dinner with your husband (or wife), send the kids elsewhere and make a dinner at home instead. You can get some really good stuff for home consumption with that $40 you were going to spend at the restaurant!

Frugality Tip #14 (Get Healthy!)

Cut refined sugar out of your diet.

And by that I mean, candy, cakes, pies, ice cream, flavored yogurt, etc. Anything that has a sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the top 5 ingredients. Bread is still ok. :)

Confession time!

I used to be a BIG sugar addict. I couldn't go one day without eating candy or something sugary... I couldn't help myself but eat as much sugar as was placed in front of me. I couldn't say no. I guzzled pies at Thanksgiving, ate all the chocolates and candy canes at Christmas.

And then I realized that I was addicted. It took me a while to realize this, despite the obvious, because you don't think of sugar as addicting, like cigarettes and alcohol are. And then I realized that it seems like most people in America are addicted to sugar. Hmm... and I wonder why more than half of the people in the USA are overweight or obese?

Let me tell you though, the other day I went to a women's health class, and at the end of the health class they had rice pudding, because it's supposedly a "healthy" treat. Well, a) it's not really and b) it has a fair amount of sugar in it. So I declined to have any, explaining that I was not eating sugar.

Here is what I heard right after that statement from these women (who were of various sizes big to little):

"Oh, I could never do that."
"My dad tries to stop eating sugar all the time, but he never can."
"I love chocolate too much to stop eating sugar."

The first thing that I thought was, "Well that's really nice and encouraging. Thanks for being so kind." and the second thing I thought was "I have no doubt in my mind now that our society is addicted to sugar. This is sad".

I used to feel that way too though, that I could never stop eating sugar like some people. Until I decided I didn't want any substance controlling my life, tasty or not. When I realized that the average American eats WAY too much sugar and I was an average American.

Seriously, stop eating sugar. It's not good for your health (diabetes anyone?) and it is an expensive habit to maintain. I have been able to kick it in the rear by keeping sugar items out of my house entirely, and then eating a full meal before I go to the store (as well as bringing my hubby along and having him help me not buy it). Eat fruit instead for your daily sugar. After two weeks you won't have cravings any more and it will be much easier to say no to refined sugar. I feel SO much better now. I've come out of a sugar-induced fog. I notice things I didn't notice before. I feel happier (seriously, I had bad mood swings before). My sex life is better (that is a very nice side effect, actually, and is probably TMI as well). :)

Additionally, too much sugar depresses your immune system... so you have potential savings from not having to purchase medicines.

Check this out for more info on kicking the sugar habit.

More info.

How it affects your sex life.

You will save SO much money by not buying candy and cookies all the time to eat. Seriously, we've saved a lot by not purchasing these items any more.

Purchase old fashioned toasted oats and flavor it with fruit, instead of eating sugary breakfast cereal (Even the HEALTHY cereals like special k, etc, have TONS of sugar in them). Old-fashioned oats fill me up more, so with less, I feel more full. It's super cheap, $1 for a big thing of it and it will feed you for just as long as a $4 or $5 bag of Malt-O-Meal. And it's super healthy, as it's whole grain oats with nothing added and unprocessed. Fiber and protein galore! Other ideas for breakfast are PLAIN yogurt with fruit in it and no-sugar-added fruit smoothies. Eggs (which are not very cheap, but still an idea) and toast work too!

So anyway, I hope I have impressed upon you the money saving benefits of not eating sugar!

A) You will save money by not buying sugary items.
B) You will be much healthier! (less doctor visits! less purchasing of medicines!)
C) You will eat less.

So Get Healthy!! You can do it, and you'll save money doing it too!

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