In my quest to tighten our belt a bit, I am looking at areas where I can cut the budget. It has lead to some new motivators for a healthier lifestyle.
Portion Sizes: Obviously the more appropriate our portion sizes, the less it costs to feed a family.
Beverages: We serve water most of the time at supper. I keep an eye on my kids dairy servings and if they have their recommended amount of dairy already, we switch to water. The adults in this family automatically drink water for at least one meal a day. This has dropped our milk consumption by at least a gallon a week.
Snacks: When I plan snacks in advance I find two things. That my kids get more variety and often another serving of fruit/vegetable, and that it is less expensive. Carrot sticks and dip costs far less than sitting down to a bag of chips.
Menu Planning: Obviously menu planning is a frugal endeavor for many reasons. Less food waste, less temptation to eat out and greater chance of buying food on sale are just a few.
Active Family Fun: Going for a bike ride or family hike is a healthy alternative to sitting down to a family movie night with rented or new movies. We spend roughly $30 per year for an annual State Park sticker for our vehicle…this gives us many many days or evenings of hiking and special programs put on in the park. We have 3 State Parks nearby. But even a trip to the local park encourages good health and is FREE!
Health Club Benefits: If you have health insurance (and I really hope you do) you likely have a health club incentive program tied to it. In our case, if we attend our community center 12 times a month the insurance company will pay us $20. Each. Up to 2 adults. Our membership is $44.13 a month. If Dan and I each work out or take the kids to swim or play ball a dozen times a month…our membership becomes an expense of just $4.13.
So as I try to stay motivated to set the good, healthy example for my kids I discover the potential impact to my budget’s bottom line. Money can be a good motivator.