For years now I've used our budget as an excuse not to diet. I was wholeheartedly convinced we couldn't afford healthy foods on our budget. After all, a bag of potato chips is $1 and a bag of apples is $5, so how can we truly afford to diet? In January 2013, my husband and I reached a point in our lives where we knew it was time to make changes to live a healthier lifestyle, and were determined to make it work with our current food budget. Much to my surprise, we could not only afford to diet, but we were about to save a little money as well. Here's a look at our pre-diet food cost versus our diet food costs.
What we were spending before the diet
Before we started our diet, we were budgeting $250 a month for food and drinks, which is $3,000 a year or around 6% of my husband's salary. However, the reality is that were spending much more than that. In fact, I recorded months where we were spending close to $400 a month on food including home meals, snacks, sodas, and eating out.
How we are saving money
Now that we are dieting many things have changed. We rarely eat out, which is a huge savings. We've also drastically reduced our portion sizes per meal, and that means we need less food to prepare each meal. We've also reduced the number of sodas we drink. At one point I was personally drinking three to four cans of soda a day, and we were spending around $12 a week to feed that habit. Now we are spending less than $3 bi-weekly, so we are saving $42 a month on sodas alone.
How much food is costing us now
We've only been dieting a month, but have already seen what I consider to be a sizable savings. After completing our first shopping trip, I sat down and calculated what we spent. The total spent was $60 less than we normally budget, which was a big surprise. Although we were buying higher priced items, we didn't need as much food to get us through the month, so we had money left over.
If we continue to save the $60 a month for the next 12 months, we will save $720 in our first year of dieting. The good thing about that is that if our diet is working we will need new wardrobes, so we can reallocate that saving to buy ourselves new clothes.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More from this contributor: First Person: 3 Ways I'm Cutting Our Food Costs
- Consumer Discretionary
- Banking & Budgeting