About ten months ago, I wrote an article packed with tips on how to feed your growing muscles without going broke.
This is the sequel to that article, and couldn't have come at a better time. Now that the economy is swirling down the crapper, saving money's more important than ever. After you pay for gas, rent or mortgage, utility bills, and monthly gym dues, you still have to figure out how to fill your refrigerator and pantry with enough good, healthy food for optimal muscular growth.
1. Buy your Groceries Online
Amazon.com has great deals on more than just books and DVDs. Believe it or not, they also have a great selection of healthy food at low prices. Here are some of the things I regularly buy from Amazon:
Pemmican Beef Jerky
Crystal Light (great for mixing with Biotest creatine)
These are just a few of the health food products that Amazon offers. What's great about Amazon is that you get free shipping on all products if you spend $25 or more. Plus, you can "subscribe" to a product.
2. Biotest Now Has Free Shipping on all Domestic Orders
TC mentioned this a few months ago, but in case you haven't gotten the word, Biotest now offers free shipping for all domestic orders placed from the Biotest store. Whether you spend twenty dollars or a thousand, your order is shipped abso-friggin'-lutely free of charge to addresses in the United States.
I generally make one big order a month, just so I don't have to think about ordering supplements for a while. However, we've all had that anxiety moment, when you open the tub of Surge and see that there's only about two servings left, or see that you only have one more tab of Spike. Before, you might have hesitated to buy just one tub, or one package, but with free shipping, why the hell not?
3. Cook for the Week and Don't Waste Anything
People are always eating on the run. Eating out is expensive and it can tempt you to make poor meal choices. That's why I prepare my meals for Monday through Friday on Sunday, when I have some down time. I grill my chicken and meat, prepare my salads and vegetables, and make individual bags with two scoops of Metabolic Drive for my shaker. This leaves no room for error, and makes eating right as easy as going to the drive-through.
Also, be creative with your meals. With chicken, fish, meat, and produce so expensive these days, nothing should go to waste. Got an extra chicken breast or eight ounces of steak? Throw it in with that leftover spinach and almond salad from yesterday's lunch.
How about a half cup of blueberries and a cup of low-fat yogurt that's about to go bad? Throw everything in a blender with some Strawberry Low-Carb Metabolic Drive, four ice-cubes and six ounces of water for a high-protein smoothie full of antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and fiber.
T-Nation's own Dr. John Berardi has some great recipes for leftovers in Precision Nutrition. If you're throwing out food at the end of the week, you might as well take a few bills out of your wallet and eat them to meet your daily fiber quota.
4. Play "Let's Make a Deal" with your Gym
Did you know there is actually some wiggle room when it comes to monthly gym memberships? Much like a cell-phone contract, there is some room for negotiation. I even used this money saving technique at Gold's Gym in Venice. Since I was only going to be in the area for three months I had to sign up for a month-to-month plan. The drawback of that option was that I still had to pay the seventy dollar initiation fee. I immediately countered that the 24-Hour fitness down the street said they'd let me join for only 49 dollars a month, with no initiation fee.
I then said that I'd head over there because they seemed to have less traffic in the weight room. Before I finished my sentence he knocked down that joining fee to twenty bucks, and threw in a free set of Gold's Gym lifting straps. If you haven't signed up yet for a membership at your prospective gym, come prepared with some ammunition, including their competitor's prices and the patience to spend fifteen to twenty minutes negotiating.
If you've already got a contract with a gym, tell the person who handles memberships that you're thinking of canceling your membership, because you found a better price at a competing gym. When I mentioned I was going to cancel my memebrship at Gold's, they offered me still another incentive, this time ten dollars off my monthly fees if I stayed.
One final area to explore is a long-term membership. If you're certain that you won't be leaving the area for a year or two, ask about a discounted rate that you can pay ahead of time. You can save up to 50% at the big name gyms like Gold's, World Gym, and 24-Hour Fitness. Remember, everything is negotiable.
5. Stop Buying Bottled Water
It boggles my mind when I see people buying cases of water at the grocery store or individual bottles of water at vending machines. Why do people pay a buck fifty for twenty ounces of water? You do realize that this stuff is practically free from the tap, right?
If you're one of those poor misguided water bottle-buying fools, do yourself a favor and buy yourself a Brita water filter. Each Brita filter, which can be purchased in 3-packs from Amazon for fifteen bucks, gives you forty gallons of crisp, clean, filtered water that tastes just as good, and maybe better, than the bottled stuff.
Forty gallons is about three hundred bottles of water. Even if you go to Costco and score 24-packs of cheap bottled water for five bucks, you'd still be spending around sixty dollars if you bought three hundred bottles. Sixty bucks for bottles, or five bucks for a filter. Pretty simple math.
Now, I'm no tree-hugger, but let's not forget that manufacturing and shipping all those water bottles takes a hellacious amount of oil. And if you need yet another reason to avoid bottled water, go read the xenoestrogen article by Mike Roussell and Dr. John K. Williams.
No, really, go read it. Right now. I'll wait.
Back so soon? Scary stuff, huh? I'll bet that bottled water that's been sitting in the back of a hot shipping truck doesn't sound so appealing to you now, does it?
Just because the economy is suffering, doesn't mean your quest of bigger, harder, and leaner muscles needs to suffer as well.
If you have any other tips on saving money when it comes to buying groceries and supplements, please post them in the discussion thread!