I am in debt. I’m not afraid to say it. I am in debt and most of it is because of my choices. Between a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, I have over $40,000 in student loan debt. I have a few medical bills that have either not been paid or are very very very slowly being paid, in tiny increments. I also like to shop.
I am telling you this because I am not only trying to pay my normal monthly bills (rent, utilities, etc.), I am also striving to pay off some of my debt, so I am living off even less than I normally would. That being said, I am still paying for Shakeology! I recently did a vlog about what is so awesome about Shakeology (if you don’t know how awesome it is, you should gocheck it out) and it made me think about the number one objection I get to Shakeology: “I can’t afford it.” I know that there are people out there who definitely cannot afford Shakeology because their income isn’t enough or because they have children that need to be taken care of on a smaller income—that’s not who I’m talking about. With my own income, I couldn’t afford Shakeology at first, not because of my income but because of the lifestyle I was living within my income. In order for me to be able to order my Shakeology every month and continue improving my health, I had to change a couple of the things I was doing each month…
So, here are my tips for being able to afford Shakeology:
1. MEAL PLAN!! I used to go to the grocery store each week and spend well over $100 on God knows what (for just myself, mind you), and then feel like I had nothing to eat. Then I’d usually go out to eat because I didn’t have anything sensible in my pantry anyway. Since I’ve started meal planning, I go to the grocery store with an exact grocery list (and do not stray from it, because that will lead to cheating on my meal plan). This cut out about $100 a month alone!
2. FREEZE meals ahead of time! There are always nights where I am just not going to be able to cook. I’m already pretty good about eating last night’s leftovers, but there are usually days where I still have leftovers on top of that. Freezing meals keeps me from buying prepackaged frozen meals or making a surprise run to McDonald’s. It’s also nice because, when I’m meal planning, there ends up being a day or two the following week where I don’t need to buy dinner food because it’s already in the freezer!
3. EAT LESS MEAT. I am trying to now cook one dish (which will last me at least two nights, if not more) that does not contain meat. Meat can add up and usually dishes taste just as good without it!
4. BUY IN BULK, when possible. I don’t recommend buying produce in bulk (unless you have a large family), because it will go bad before you can eat it all. But think about what you can buy in bulk—meat (you can save a few dollars a pound this way), rice, and household items. Meat can be frozen (just separate it out into the amounts you would cook with) and toilet paper can be stored somewhere.
5. USE COUPONS, when possible. Eating clean does make couponing a little less thrilling (I never see coupons for produce or meat, although it can go on sale), but think about the things you use that you can get coupons for: toilet paper, paper towels, shaving cream, razors, toothpaste, dog/cat food, diapers, etc. Coupon disclaimer: don’t just buy something because you have a coupon. I seek out coupons for specific things, and only use those coupons. Also, do some math—is it more economical to get the store brand?
6. MAKE YOUR OWN. I’ve seen all of these recipes on Pinterest lately on how to make your own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and household cleaners. At first I was a little skeptical (there is just something about the smell of Gain that keeps me coming back for more), but then I thought about how much money I probably waste on things I could make myself.
7. TRIM your bills. What can you get rid of? In the last few months, I have cancelled my cable (didn’t watch it—Netflix is all I need in my life), cancelled Audible (I don’t have time to listen to it anyway), and cancelled my Sirius XM (I usually listen to iTunes). I also try to do small things towards my electricity bill like only using cold water to wash clothes (warm water is reserved for sheets and towels only), unplugging things that are not being used (does the Keurig really need to be on all day if you’re only using it in the morning?), adjusting the AC by a degree or two when I’ll be out all day or by a few degrees if I’m going on a trip, and closing all of the blinds and curtains on particularly hot or cold days so the AC doesn’t have to work hard (the heater doesn’t work too hard in my apartment… this is North Carolina, so the AC runs constant!).
8. BECOME A COACH! Coaches get a 25% discount on all Beachbody products, including Shakeology. You don’t even have to do anything! You could be a “coach,” not actually coach anyone, and get a discount. OR you could be a coach, help at least 3 people a month, and that usually make you enough for your Beachbody income to pay for your Shakeology!
9. If you’re not into coaching, become a Team Beachbody Club Member! For $38.87 every 3 months ($2.99 a week basically), you get access to Beachbody on Demand AND you get 10% off Beachbody products!
Other crazy things I do to try to help make money:
10. Annual YARD SALE! Some of my friends and I get together in the summer and have a big yard sale together. I go through my whole apartment and I am ruthless, making piles of tons of stuff I just haven’t used in a while. Then I price things to SELL. Want a beach chair for $2? I’m your girl!
11. SELL YOUR STUFF! Even when it’s not yard sale time, I am constantly trying to purge. Do you have books that have been sitting on your shelf for years, like you are actually going to read them a second time? Take them to a second-hand bookstore and make a few bucks. Do you have a bunch of clothes that you are now too skinny to wear because you’ve been working out and drinking Shakeology and now your clothes are too big? Take them to a consignment shop! That necklace your ex-boyfriend gave you? He’s an idiot, therefore you don’t need to hang on to it—put that thing on eBay! There’s usually a community Facebook page where you can also post things for sale! You can also sell clothes to places like Plato’s Closet or Once Upon a Child.
12. USE YOUR SKILLS! I’m a teacher, so I will occasionally tutor kids and make some extra cash. If you’re crafty, you could open up an Etsy shop. Dog sitting? Monogramming things for people? Think about something you’re good at and do some side work!
Mini-tips for getting some extra cash each month for some superfood nutrition (aka Shakeology):
-Make a budget and stick to it. I currently use the Expense app and it’s great.
-Quit buying useless stuff. No, you don’t need another candle or body wash.
-Don’t be a brand snob. Walmart’s ziploc bags hold just as well as the other ones.
-Shop at cheap stores and figure out what’s cheapest where. I like Aldi for produce because it is CHEAP, but I can honestly get meat cheaper at Food Lion or Walmart.
-Drive as little as possible. If you can carpool, DO IT.
-Try to get creative about hanging out with your friends. My friends and I seem to gravitate towards expensive things—eating out, shopping trips, painting pottery, etc. But we’re all strapped for cash, so we know it’s got to stop! When you want to hang out with friends, see if there are some other options—going to someone’s pool together, movie night in someone’s living room, buy some cheap canvases and borrow some paint from a crafty friend and follow a YouTube painting tutorial together, work out together, walk your dogs together or talk your dogs on a dog park date, or have a (healthy food) potluck!
-Never buy books. That is what the library is for! If there is something you really really really want to read and they just don’t have it at your library, post on FB that you’re looking for the book and if anyone has it, can you borrow it? Last summer, some fellow teachers and I would get together every couple of weeks and swap books so that we could read lots of popular books, without having to pay for them all! If you can’t find the book within your circle of friends at all, don’t go to Barnes and Noble; get it on eBay or Amazon. I am amazed at how overpriced Barnes and Noble can be and even more amazed that people actually shop there!
Do you have any great money-saving tips to help people afford Shakeology? I’d love to hear about them—please share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.