Four Frugal and Healthy Habits to Make Today
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Practicing frugality is a daily activity, and the more you incorporate frugality into your life the easier it is to maintain. If frugality could be done for only one day and produce major life-changing financial results, there’d be a lot more frugal people out there! But true frugality involves embracing it and adjusting your daily behaviors to comfortably save money, but still derive great fulfillment from your days.
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To get the biggest bang for your frugal buck, focus on frugalizing (is that a word, um no, but I’ll use it) the big ticket items: housing, transportation, and insurance (without sacrificing coverage). But, don’t lose sight of the smaller items too. Reducing consumption across the board can help to put more money in your 401k and minimize your carbon footprint.
Regardless of where you are at on your frugality journey, rethinking the behaviors your do regularly can be a helpful exercise. Just this month, I realized that we don’t really watch Netflix, but we are paying $7.99/month for it (yes, we were on the cheap, non-HD plan) (and ugh, now we want to watch the new season of Stranger Things). I finally decided to cancel our subscription, since everything we do watch on there can be obtained from the library with just a little bit of pre-planning (we have plenty of friend’s who will host us for Stranger Things viewing parties). And heck – what value does Netflix add to our lives? We already get the antennae major broadcast networks, have great internet to stream YouTube videos, and HBO (since it’s cheaper for us to get fast internet with HBO included).
Now, instead of sitting and watching a couple hours of Netflix some evenings we will actually get moving on home renovations, playing board games (this is our favorite one), and be better dog owners. Vegging out in front of the TV is not a healthy way to spend an evening.
Spend some time and think about your habits and if there is a frugal and healthy swap! After canceling Netflix, I got to thinking about some other good ways to save money and improve your health:
1. Swap juice for fruit
Juice, even 100% juice, is more expensive and less healthy than fruit, so drinking it doesn’t give you many benefits. The processing of whole fruit – removing the skin and eliminating the pulp – into juice removes many of the valuable nutrients in fruit. A more guaranteed way to get the health benefits of fruit is to eat it in its beautiful, natural form.
Now wait, sometimes juice goes on sale for $1/half gallon. That isn’t very expensive at all! In fact most fruits only get as cheap as $1/pound and a half gallon weighs more than one pound! Isn’t that cost saving and thus frugal?!?
Well, I’ve fallen into this thinking too, thus we have about 1.5 gallons of juice in our pantry right now. But we don’t really drink it. Up until this year I used it in our smoothies until I realized that water is a much better choice! And water surprisingly doesn’t affect the flavor of the overall smoothie.
At least for me, when I drink juice I do not swap out future calories. Thus I’m just drinking a beverage that costs money and eating the fruit that costs money! I bet that you don’t really not consume something else when you have a glass of juice. Instead it is just drank in addition to the snack/meal you were eating. Instead, I drink mostly water, but also drink coffee and tea. Also, 1-3 nights per week I’ll have some beer or wine with friends.
2. Skip the happy hour and go on a bike ride (or walk)
Swap your alcohol consumption one day per week in favor of getting outside and fitting exercise in. When people suggest getting together for happy hour, they normally are just using it as a good excuse to get the gang together. Anyone dream of spending adulthood with hours to spend in a coffee shop like Central Perk? I know I did. I love catching up with friends, but instead of hitting the bar I often suggest going on a walk or bike ride.
Most people want to fit more activity into their life nowadays, so they’ll be more than happy to join and get their heart rate (moderately) up.
3. Simplify your morning coffee
My hubby has drank coffee since he was a young child! (I don’t know what his parents were thinking.) And, since he started drinking it so young, he also piled on the sugar and cream to the point where they would barely dissolve into a syrupy caffeinated solution. I’m also pretty basic and love my hazelnut frappuccinos (when traveling for work or for my once a year free birthday drink). While it’s okay to load up your coffee as an occasional treat, it certainly shouldn’t be the morning tradition.
We’ve slowly weened ourselves down to just adding a splash of unsweetened almond milk to our favorite morning drink. Now, adding sugar just tastes completely wrong. Another benefit of enjoying coffee sans sweetener? We are less annoying as house guests! Plus, Mr. Kiwi realized that sugar is a trigger for his headaches (and honestly makes me feel like crap too), so he can continue drinking a non-water warm beverage in the morning.
4. Swap out 1 hour of television or social media per week for bonding with friends and family
Most people spend a significant amount of time on social media or in front of a television every single day, but those same people also feel like they don’t have enough time to do everything they want. (I’m raising my hand too! I watch way too much TV and have pinned far more recipes than I will ever cook!)
Connecting with friends each week is critical for mental health. Even if you can’t get together IRL, connecting over Skype and having a non-distracted conversation can help you figure out your priorities and stay focused on the joys in daily life.
We have a standing Thursday evening get together with friends at our place. We normally walk the dogs and chat with our friends for at least an hour. Sometimes we’ll cook dinner together after or have a fire. By making it a routine, it’s far more likely to happen consistently.
Health and happiness are two of our main priorities as we are working towards financial independence. Simplifying your life will often help to reduce spending and increase healthy behaviors. While I could go on and on regaling you with other frugal healthy habits, we’ll leave it at four today.
What’s your favorite frugal and healthy habit?