I conquered the fast food habit.
We no longer stop to grab a quick lunch when we are out and about – I am so stoked about this habit changing! I wrote quite a bit about it already, so I‘ll just have you read this link for how we did it.
I learned to pack snacks.
This goes along with conquering the fast food habit, but has helped us with more than just fast food. We keep a variety of snacks in the car (usually pre-packaged).
I also recently learned that keeping snacks in the car on a road trip is a great way to spend less money on dining out. If you stuff the kids full of trail mix before you stop to eat, you can order them a lot less food. :)
I downsized my coupon box and my coupon shopping.
I’m still using coupons, but I’m not clipping as many and earlier this year, I moved my coupons to a much smaller case. Read more about this here.
I started buying hormone/antibiotic-free ground beef.
I’m the first to admit that this new habit was only somewhat motivated by health reasons – the big part was because we like how it tastes! Sometime last spring, I bought a bundle of ground beef from Ranch Foods Direct and we were wowed by the flavor. The fact that it was hormone- and antibiotic-free convinced me that it would be okay to spend a little more (about $3.99/lb when you buy 80/20 in cases of twenty pounds) for this meat, and we haven’t looked back.
I haven’t purchased ground beef at the “regular” store since then, though I do still buy a few beef roasts there. I would love to purchase all our beef at Ranch Foods but that’s definitely not in the budget. I can’t do everything that is currently touted as “the best” in the manner of the foods that we purchase but I’m thankful to be able to make little steps here in there – especially when I can taste the difference!
I started shopping at fewer stores.
With high gas prices, the closing of Rancho Liborio, and the process of leaving the house with five kids feeling overwhelming at times, I started shopping at fewer grocery stores this year. King Soopers is my go-to store now, and I usually make a stop into Sprouts every week or two, and Safeway every couple of weeks. I went probably three or four months without stepping foot into Albertsons or Walmart.
We (mostly) eliminated cereal for breakfast.
Cereal does not fill up my family like it used to – especially Jeremy, who tends to get lightheaded a few hours after just eating cereal for breakfast (it’s worse than if he skips breakfast entirely). Cold cereal has gotten more expensive, and the deals are pretty few and far-between, so I only buy cereal on very rare occasions.
I’m still getting used to cooking a hot breakfast or having something else ready, and cold cereal sounds so much easier about 75% of the time. But, I’m working on developing better habits so that breakfast is ready to cook or warm up the night before, or that we have homemade granola bars or muffins to grab quickly.
I stopped buying brownie mixes.
I used up my stash of brownie mixes from last Christmas in maybe March or April, and I bought one for the first time since the other day, for an experiment for my From Garbage to Gourmet ebook. (It called for 3/4 cup of oil, which shocked me!) I’m not completely sure why I completely stopped buying mixes, but the health factor and the expense factor both had something to do with it.
I started wasting less in the kitchen.
In January 2012, I wrote a blog post called 5 Simple Ways to Save More by Wasting Less. In it, I wrote this:
I will save more and waste less by finding ways to use perfectly-good items that I am used to throwing away.
I’m stoked that I have made huge progress in this area, particular in the kitchen – so much so that I decided to write the aforementioned ebook (From Garbage to Gourmet) about how to waste less and make delicious food out of things you normally throw away. While I can’t say that I never throw food away, I’ve gotten a lot more creative in the kitchen to use up bits of this and that, and constantly ask myself if I could use vegetable and fruit scraps for something else before I throw it away. I’ll be sharing more about that in the book, of course.
Overall, I think 2012 was a pretty big year of changes for me in the area of cooking, eating, and grocery shopping. I’m excited to see what 2013 brings, and when I look at what I was able to improve upon on 2012, I think 2013 can be an even better year!
What about you? Did you make any eating/cooking/shopping habit changes in 2012?