Since getting on board with our new frugal lifestyle I’ve notice that my wallet is getting a little thicker, and my gut is getting a little thinner. It made me wonder if there is a correlation between frugal living and losing weight. After reflecting on my progress over the last few months a few ideas stood out as possible explanations for why my weight has dropped.
I started eating like a kid again. Sounds like weird advice doesn’t it? No, I am not advocating eating hot dogs and ice cream three times a day, as that would surely have an opposite effect on my waistline. What I am recommending is using smaller plates, smaller drinking cups and therefore smaller portions. When selecting a large dinner plate, or tall glass for our dinner beverage of choice, the natural inclination is to fill them up. If you are like me and enjoy a cold soft drink or sweet tea with dinner filling a large glass can add up to quite a few liquid calories. By using a smaller glass I am reducing the caloric intake with my evening meal and increasing the life of that 2-liter bottle of Sprite.
We scaled way back on television viewing. My wife and I recently agreed to drop our cable service down to the basic package only. We had already eliminated digital cable last year, but further reduced the channel offerings and our monthly bill. The $11 bare-bones service provides us access to local channels, the Fox affiliate and PBS. The benefits, other than the reduced cable bill, are that we have had to find other things to occupy our time. Back when I was a couch potato I frequently snacked while watching television. For some reason the two activities just seemed to go together. Big game on? Let’s get some buffalo wings. A good movie on tonight? Let’s order pizza. With the television turned off there are less opportunities to sit down and snack. Reading a copy of The Total Money Makeover just doesn’t produce the same cookie dough ice cream craving as watching the new episode of Lost.
We only see the inside of a restaurant once a week, and it is usually a Subway. Eating out is a sure-fire way to destroy a food budget. It is tough for a for a family of four to leave Outback Steakhouse spending less than $50 for meals, drinks and a tip. When you compare that to the frugal grocery choices available for $50 you realize you are trading several days worth of food for one evening out. Besides the obvious financial benefits to eating in, your health will improve as well. Fast food, and food served in typical restaurants is loaded with calories, saturated fats and sodium.
By preparing food at home you control the nutritional content. Our weekly splurge is a visit to a nearby Subway where on Sundays they offer a “two footlongs for $8” special. Like any good frugal dad, I resist the temptation to eat the entire thing that night and take the other half for lunch the next day, spreading the cost over two meals.
Has anyone else experienced a slim down thanks to focusing on a frugal lifestyle?