{Eat on the Cheap} Healthy Eating on a Budget

I got this question in from a reader who connected with me through my about.me!

Hello there! I am curious, I am wanting to start using the envelope method but I’m wondering how to go about spending the amount given for me in the grocery amount when on a diet. Diets are super hard to stick to especially when you are on low budget. Any advice?

MyKudos to you for making two great decisions eating clean and trying not to go into debt doing so. The envelope system, by Dave Ramsey, is such a wonder tool that has helped me reshape how I think about money. Truthfully, it may take a few visits to the grocery store for you to figure out exactly how much goes into your grocery envelope. My latest goal that I have implemented into my own life is to set realistic goals. Once you figure out how much is realistic to spend for your budget, lifestyle, and family size, then you are really to maintain a consistent amount every check.

My second recommendation would be to plan your meals on a weekly basis and make a grocery list based on the meals you plan to cook. There are a number of sources that provide recipes to help you eat cleaner by planning your meals in advanced. Choose My Plate is a government website that helps you plan motivational menus on a 2000 calorie diet, provides tips to help you save, and suggests foods that are great for your diet. Here is an example of a sample menu for the week. Another great source is Pinterest, which is filled with thousands of recipes from people across the web who share similar tastes and goals as you. Now that you have an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, then it is time to make the all important grocery list. I really like this grocery list from MomAgendga and I recommend never stepping into a grocery store without a completed list.

Other tips to consider:

  • Never shop on an empty stomach…it often causes people to over shop and over spend.
  • Wear your most fabulous heels to the grocery store: Look good, feel good, right? Well, yes… but wearing your most fabulous heels (which often ends up being the ones that hurt the most) will force you to stay on track so you can get exactly what you need and get out of there so you can get home to more comfy shoes or…no shoes at all. It may sound crazy, but I keep my heels on after work ONLY on days when I have to run errands where I may be tempted to spend!
  • Get a shopping/accountability buddy: My good friend, Kema and I used to make our grocery lists and go shopping together. It made the experience fun, we used that time to catch up, and we helped each other stay on target and budget.

For other tips, check out these 10 tips from Choose My Plate on Eating on a Better Budget

What is your favorite budget shopping tip?

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{September Update} Confessions of New Year’s Resolutions

This post is dedicated to Audrey at Just Add Paris…hey girlie! Back in April, I posted an update to my New Year’s Resolutions. As we approach the final leg of 2012, I thought I owed Ashley an update since she asked me to write one over a month ago. So…here goes:

Start Putting Money Away for Emergencies

January 24, 2012: Since I’m being honest, I might as well go all in. Currently, my emergency fund looks like the sad little piggy pictured here. That’s right, even She Makes Cents, has to get her own finances together sometimes. I almost depleted my fund when… an emergency came up. I am so glad that I got myself into the habit of saving for the unexpected because life would have been so much harder without one.

April 4, 2012: I have started my emergency fund again and I must say it feels good. I really hope it will be a long time before I have to tap into it since there isn’t much in there and two, no one likes emergencies.

September 30, 2012: I’m still going strong putting away money into my emergency fundJ How are you doing with your emergency fund? 

Cook More, Eat Out Less

January 24, 2012: The Mr. and I love trying new restaurant spots; consequently, we have gotten in the habit of going to restaurants multiple times a week. Sometimes, I even eat out multiple times a day. While examining our finances, we both concluded that we can’t save if we are constantly spending on dinners out every night, plus tips for the servers, plus parking. Do you see how quickly it can add up? Not only are we spending too much, but also it is counteracting to my bangin’ body goal.

April 4, 2012: Well…we still eat out, but we are now more conscious of it. Using the envelope system has really helped with this one. I set aside a certain amount of money per check for non-grocery food expenses. For example, I stopped at Smoothie King this morning for a Pineapple Surf and used my “restaurant fund” to essentially…fund it. The envelope system, regarding eating out, has also forced me to really think about my motivation. Am I really hungry? Am I going to be social? Now, I need to work on the “cook more” portion of this resolution.

September 30, 2012: We are still working on it. I have actually set a new goal for myself to eat at least 10 home cooked meals a week. I might actually like cooking a little more. Did I mention that I made my first lasagna from scratch?

Bangin’ Body 2012


January 24, 2012: I think this one is a little self-explanatory. I will just let these swimsuits be my inspiration. I say show it while you got it…so I have to get mine tight. Get it right, get it tight 2012!!!

April 4 2012: I am pleased to announce that I am actually starting to see a difference in my tummy. I started jogging, stretching, and taking the dog out for longer walks. I am also trying to eat a little better, so once swimsuit season officially begins; I hope to have accomplished my goal of losing 2 to 3 inches. As of yesterday, I’m already down an inch.

September 30, 2012: I actually just started “The World’s Fastest Workout” and let me tell you it is NO JOKE! I also plan to take advantage of the FREE online classes that Keep It Moving Fitness is offering to readers of She Makes Cents. I now have a goal to be healthy first and then the bangin’ body will follow.

Reduce Impulse Shopping



September 30, 2012: I am finding that my urge to impulse shop has significantly reduced. I am happy about it and trust me, so is my wallet!

See the World

April 4 2012: So my Dad and I are getting our passports updated this week. This is very necessary since I will be celebrating the Mr.’s 30th birthday in Germany among other places. Overall, I would say that I’m not too far off of my goals for 2012. While I could be doing better in some areas, I could also be doing A LOT worse. In fact, as I accomplish my goals, I will start replacing them with new goals.

September 30, 2012: I got my passport and I am back from Germany and Czech Republic. This was both of our first international trips and we are already planning the next one. It was an AMAZING experience and now I want to see more of the world. We toured castles and beautiful Cathedrals, kissed under the fake Eiffel Tower, shopped, tried foods, celebrated the Mr.’s Dirty Thirty in style! I even found a TK Maxx over there, which was their version of TJ Maxx! Yep, I was shopping smart even 4,000 miles away.



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{Update} Confession of my New Year Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions???  That’s so January… Save more money. Eat right. Exercise more. I remember having to try at my goals again after an epic fail the first time around. I think the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that people set either too many goals or a couple of unrealistic goals. This is why after a couple of days, resolutions seem impossible. Throughout the year, I promised to share my game plan to accomplish some of my goals and resolutions for the year- so here you go!

Check out some of my favs!

Start Putting Money Away for Emergencies

She Makes Cents

January 24, 2012: Since I’m being honest, I might as well go all in. Currently, my emergency fund looks like the sad little piggy pictured above. That’s right, even She Makes Cents, has to get her own finances together sometimes. I almost depleted my fund when… an emergency came up. I am so glad that I got myself into the habit of saving for the unexpected because life would have been so much harder without one.

April 4, 2012:  I have started my emergency fund again and I must say it feels good.  I really hope it will be a long time before I have to tap into it since there isn’t much in there and two, no one likes emergencies.

Cook More, Eat Out Less

January 24, 2012:The Mr. and I love trying new restaurant spots; consequently, we have gotten in the habit of going to restaurants multiple times a week. Sometimes, I even eat out multiple times a day. While examining our finances, we both concluded that we can’t save if we are constantly spending on dinners out every night, plus tips for the servers, plus parking. Do you see how quickly it can add up? Not only are we spending too much, but it is counteracting to my bangin’ body goal.

April 4, 2012: Well….we still eat out, but we are now more conscious of it.  Using the envelope system has really helped with this one.  I set aside a certain amount of money per check for non-grocery food expenses.  For example, I stopped at Smoothie King this morning for a Pineapple Surf and used my “restaurant fund” to essentially…fund it.  The envelope system, regarding eating out, has also forced me to really think about my motivation.  Am I really hungry?  Am I going to be social?  Now, I need to work on the “cook more” portion of this resolution.


Bangin’ Body 2012

January 24, 2012:I think this one is a little self-explanatory. I will just let these swimsuits be my inspiration. I say show it while you got it…so I have to get mine tight. Get it right, get it tight 2012!!!

April 4 2012:  I am pleased to announce that I am actually starting to see a difference in my tummy. I started jogging, stretching, and taking the dog out for longer walks.  I am also trying to eat a little better, so once swimsuit season officially begins, I hope to have accomplished my goal of losing 2 to 3 inches.  As of yesterday, I’m already down an inch.

She Makes Cents get abs

She Makes Cents


Reduce Impulse Shopping


See the World

She Makes Cents svae money
April 4 2012: So my Dad and I are getting our passports updated this week.  This is very necessary since I will be celebrating the Mr.’s 30th birthday in Germany among other places. 

Overall, I’d say that I’m not too far off of my goals for 2012.  While I could be doing better in some areas, I could also be doing A LOT worse.  In fact, as I accomplish my goals, I will start replacing them with new goals.

Let’s Connect!

FOLLOW: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, RSS Feed,

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

inform and inspire ways to use your “cents” to live a fab life

Confession of my New Year Resolutions

Question… have you already started to deviate from your New Year’s Resolutions? Save more money. Eat right. Exercise more. I have. Two days ago, while taking the time to make my vision board for the new year, I decided to try at these goals again. I think the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that people set either too many goals or a couple of unrealistic goals. This is why after a couple of days, resolutions seem impossible. Throughout the year, I will share my game plan to accomplish some of my goals and resolutions for the year.

Check out some of my favs!

Start Putting Money Away for Emergencies

She Makes Cents

Since I’m being honest, I might as well go all in. Currently, my emergency fund looks like the sad little piggy pictured above. That’s right, even She Makes Cents, has to get her own finances together sometimes. I almost depleted my fund when… an emergency came up. I am so glad that I got myself into the habit of saving for the unexpected because life would have been so much harder without one.

Cook More, Eat Out Less

The Mr. and I love trying new restaurant spots; consequently, we have gotten in the habit of going to restaurants multiple times a week. Sometimes, I even eat out multiple times a day. While examining our finances, we both concluded that we can’t save if we are constantly spending on dinners out every night, plus tips for the servers, plus parking. Do you see how quickly it can add up? Not only are we spending too much, but it is counteractive to my bangin’ body goal.


Bangin’ Body 2012

I think this one is a little self-explanatory. I will just let these swimsuits be my inspiration. I say show it while you got it…so I have to get mine tight. Get it right, get it tight 2012!!!

She Makes Cents get abs

She Makes Cents


Reduce Impulse Shopping


See the World

She Makes Cents svae money
Stay tuned to see how these resolutions play out. First up in my 2012 Resolution Series will be “Stop Impulse Shopping” in which I will share my game plan to reduce and eventually quit impulse shopping all together. Until then, I’d love to hear what is on your list.

What’s on your list?

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

inform and inspire ways to use your “cents” to live a fab life