My Story: Could a Frugal Diet Cost You?

contributed by Lois J.

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My Story: Eating Healthy for Less

I used to "save" money by buying the absolute lowest priced food on the market, for the sake of saving a dollar, and my grocery bills were actually lower than they are today. As a family of six, we budgeted about $80 per week for food. I frequented sales, used coupons, and even used local food banks and church pantries. If it was available at little or no cost, we got it, fixed it, and ate it.

But something has changed me. I started having health problems, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. For the money I saved in groceries, I more than made up for in very expensive drug prescriptions and medical care. I felt lousy. And big clothes cost much more and are harder to come by than regular sizes in most places.

One day, it came to me that if I wanted to be healthier, I would have to start being more discriminate about my shopping. If I need a food bank, I refuse the high carb stuff, or else give it to another family I know is in need. When buying "on sale" items with triple coupons, I save the cake mixes to make for church potlucks, but not for the family here at home. We now use olive oil, not shortening, soy bean oil or lard. And we use it sparingly. We still buy our bread at the thrift outlet, but we make sure it is whole wheat.

Guess what! I've lost 116 pounds, and my kids have also lost weight. I have come off of all kinds of medicines, and only have to visit the doctor now about once every six months. That fact alone saves me a lot of money. I don't have to buy big clothes. I can find clothes at yard sales or thrift stores that look like they came out of Belks and other expensive stores (and probably did) at a fraction of the cost. And portion control also helps our food to go farther. We don't eat as much meat, which saves us money. We don't buy soda, which saves us money. It is possible to be thrifty and healthy at the same time. So never sacrifice health for thrift. In the end, it doesn't pay.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it by

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