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Save Money while Cutting Calories


If you are one of many with a New Year resolution to slim down your waist or your spending, I’ll show you how to kill two birds with one stone. Everywhere you turn there will be food products with labels shouting for your attention with misleading nutrition claims. Save your money and eat REAL food. By making these easy and cheap substitutions, you’ll be saving calories AND money at the same time!

Use a measuring cup

You’d be amazed at how easy it is to overestimate serving sizes. Let’s say you eat oatmeal every day. Purchase a canister of plain quick oats and keep a ½ cup measuring cup near by for a quick scoop and the cost comes out to roughly $0.08 per serving. You can add your own toppings (cinnamon, nuts, raisins, teaspoon of nut butter, fresh fruit, etc) for a few cents more. Compare that price per serving to the flavored instant packets at $0.81 per ½ cup serving (two packets). By making a simple switch like this you’ll be cutting out excess sugar and sodium and save a whopping $255.50 per year!

Add Beans

If you substituted one pound of cooked canned beans at $1 per 15-oz can (look for “no salt added” on the label) for one pound of meat at $3.99 per pound once a week, you’d save $155.50 per year. There are plenty of recipes you can do this with- chili, meatloaf, lasagna, tacos, soup, and the list goes on. This little change will save you calories, cut saturated fat, and give you an extra boost of fiber! Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

Breakfast at dinner

Breakfast is one of the cheapest meals of the day. Let’s re-use the price of $3.99/pound for meat and swap two ounces of meat for two eggs ($0.13 per egg) to get an equal protein exchange. If you did this twice a week, the total savings would be around $25 per year. Not much, but a little here and there can add up. If you’re worried about the cholesterol in eggs, don’t. It sounds backwards, but the dietary cholesterol in eggs won’t raise your blood cholesterol and the yolk is where a lot of the nutrients are found.

Reusable water bottle

If you purchased one bottle of water (or pop) per day and it cost $1, you would save $345 by switching to a reusable water bottle and drinking only water. That’s even assuming you splurged $20 for a nice CamelBak water bottle. If you made the switch to water from a daily bottle of regular pop with 240 calories, you could drop 25 pounds in a year!!!

Total savings per year by making these four changes: $781

What would you do with an extra $781 per year???


What simple substitutions do you use to save calories and money?

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Dry beans are even cheaper but take longer to prepare. We eat a lot of rice which is also pretty cheap!

    • With rice & beans I cook a big batch at once (I’m already making them, why not make extra?) and freeze them for a future meal. That way I technically have “minute” rice and beans!

  2. While I don’t eliminate meat from my dishes, I add in lentils and beans while reducing the meat content. I save money and get several more servings from some of my favorite dishes, whule only paying a tiny amount extra.

    • Those are easy ways to stretch a meal. I encourage people to try out the examples you gave rather than waste their money one “diet” foods that won’t even fill you up!

  3. I’m starting to realize that as I get older, I don’t need to eat as much – both because of my slowing metabolism and because of my inactivity! This desk job is not helping me keep the pounds off! Anyway, eating healthy is definitely an option to cut calories, but so is eating less.

    • I bet you still need 3,000 calories per day since you are so tall! I can’t imagine your mother’s grocery bill when you were a growing boy in high school 🙂

  4. I’m not a meat eater, so I do save money in that regard, but in the same breath, protein can keep you full for longer, which makes you eat less, so adding beans is a good idea to keep food costs down.

    • You’re right! If adequate protein is consumed especially at breakfast, people are less likely to overeat. Cereal and milk only gives you ~10g protein. Adding a hardboiled egg or two will provide an additional 14g protein.

  5. I love breakfast supper, one of my favorites. Half a pound of bacon can be made into so many different things from suppers/breakfasts to sandwiches. I’m also going to start adding more lentils and beans to foods, super filling and good for you!

    • You can definitely stretch bacon into a lot of meals because the a little bit adds a LOT of flavor.

  6. Saving money isn’t a simple matter, as a young woman I always try to make a certain list of necessary goods, nevertheless I always buy more than needed. I think it’s our nature to buy nonsense without thinking. To my mind we are attracted by low prices, sales and so on. Buying clothes unthoughtfully we don’t usually carry it, or wear only at home. Friend of mine is a kind of shopaholic and she is so crazy that use to sign up for a cash advance services. Good article, but nothing specific.

    • Thank for the comment, Kate. I’m sure the initial attempt to cut costs is hard if making spontaneous purchases is a regular occurrence. I offered a few examples to get readers thinking about a small change; from there you can get specific to your own situation. It takes one small step to lead to the next step and the next step before a habit is formed.

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