The Shopping Diet: Spend Less and Get More

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That can be changed. Living well on less can be easy if you learn how to be frugal, not cheap. Try these spending trade-offs on for size: Accept secondhand items from friends or family instead of buying all-new furniture or clothes. Shop at discount stores or outlets instead of designer retail stores. Plan date nights and special occasions to include free activities.

Organize a weekly dinner party with friends and rotate who hosts instead of dining out. Limitations apply. Excludes Money market accounts.


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You earned it. Online savings with no minimum balance. Start Saving. According to The Huffington Post , Whole Foods later removed that item and explained that "a lot of our customers love the convenience of our cut produce offerings, but this was a simple case where a handful of stores experimented with a seasonal product spotlight that wasn't fully thought through. We're glad some customers pointed it out so we could take a closer look. Remember that many of the items at high end grocery stores are there purely to entice you to spend too much. One spending trap that many of us fall into is buying things like food to reward ourselves for good behavior.

You had to work late, so you deserve that pizza, right? According to one study , when we don't think we have a lot of willpower, we tend to reward ourselves by buying too much. However, when we think that we have a lot of willpower, we're able to stay the course. Take a moment and think about the last few times you bought food or went out to eat. Were there times when you were rewarding yourself or trying to make yourself feel better?

Next time you're tempted to hit the drive-thru on a rough day, remember that you have an abundant supply of willpower and don't need to waste money on food you don't even want. And if you're just not able to resist, make sure to set yourself up for success. Don't even go near the restaurant if you may be tempted. Hitting the grocery store without a plan is a recipe for disaster.


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You will most likely be all over the store and start noticing all of these amazing products that you don't really need, but end up in your cart. Never go to the grocery store without a list in hand. Consider using an app like Grocery IQ where you can easily add items as you think of them throughout the week. When it comes to leftovers, it seems that people either love them or hate them. I happen to fall into the love category and could eat the same meal all week long.

However, many people can't stand repeating the same meal and end up throwing away their leftovers. This adds up to a lot of food and money wasted. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , about one-third of prepared food worldwide is wasted every year. They also say the foods most likely to be wasted are the ones that our bodies need the most — fruits and vegetables. If you won't end up using that leftover fresh spinach, get creative and toss it in a smoothie. Look for new ways to use the food to prevent boredom and keep it fresh.

When food is organic, most of us just assume it's healthier and higher quality. Maybe that's why we're willing to pay so much more for it. It sounds crazy, but we consumers are willing to pay twice as much for a product labeled "organic," and we do it without even thinking about it. This is a problem, because food is such a large part of most people's budgets. If you typically buy all organic food, do a little research to find out if it's truly worth it. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine , there is little proof that organic foods are more nutritious or safer.

Buying organic may reduce our exposure to chemicals, but even that hasn't been strongly proven.

The Shopping Diet: Spend Less and Get More

If you're the kind of person who throws away the coupons you get in your mailbox each week, you're potentially throwing away a lot of money. While it can be tempting to bin the papers and dismiss them as junk mail, a few minutes going through them could save you a lot on grocery costs. The same goes for the coupons that are often handed to you with your receipt at the grocery store.

Hundreds of billions of coupons are handed out to consumers each year, but only a small fraction of them are redeemed. If you're putting yours in the trash, you're spending more than you should. Shopping on an empty stomach? Bad idea. Studies show that going to the grocery store while hungry means that you'll be more inclined to purchase less nutritious food and spend more money overall.

The phenomenon isn't restricted to food , either.

Why Spending Less Doesn't Mean Living Less | Discover

Even shopping for clothes while hungry can lead to a much higher bill than if you put off your shopping spree until after you eat. You might think you're not susceptible to this phenomenon, but chances are, if you're shopping with a grumbling stomach, you're also overspending. A lot of people think spending a few dollars on lunch every day is a small splurge, but that money adds up pretty quickly.

Americans spend thousands of dollars on lunch each year, a cost that can easily be reduced by bringing your lunch to the office. Bringing your lunch to work just a couple days a week can help you save money. If you never brown bag it, your food costs are probably higher than they should be. If you want a surefire way to know whether or not you're spending too much money on food, look up the national averages. If you and your partner both have a habit of running to the grocery store throughout the week, make sure to compare notes on what you're buying.

If you both stop to buy avocados for the happy hour you're hosting this Friday, chances are you'll have too many, and some will go bad. All rights reserved. Signs that you spend way too much money on food. Your fridge is full of spoiled produce Shutterstock. It always feels like you have nothing to eat Shutterstock. You don't know how much food is supposed to cost Shutterstock.

It's all in the layout

You don't look at your receipts Shutterstock. Groceries are your biggest expense Shutterstock. Your pantry is full of foods you don't use Shutterstock.

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