10 Ways To Stay Healthy for Less
Healthy living or a healthy bank account- sometimes it feels impossible to have both. Fresh fruits and vegetables cost far more than a frozen pizza at the grocery store, and investing in a gym membership can take a big chunk out of your budget.
But here’s the good news. There are many strategies you can follow to stay healthy for less. Below are our ten best suggestions for saving money and improving your health at the same time. Once you put a few of these tips into action, you’ll be surprised how simple it is to start living better.
Eat Lots of Meat-Free Protein
You don’t need to fill up on Hamburger Helper to feel full on a budget. Consider stocking your pantry with other forms of protein, including eggs, dried beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, and even canned tuna. Not only are these ingredients both cheap and simple to prepare, but they also will last a long time without spoiling.
Buy Your Produce Frozen
It’s tempting to only browse the produce aisle for your fruits and vegetables, but you’ll save more money by shopping in the frozen food section instead. Not only will you save money, but the produce you purchase was flash frozen at peak freshness, ensuring that you get more nutrients per serving than if you were eating broccoli that spent four days in a semi to travel across the country.
You’ll get the biggest bargains from buying frozen fruits that are only in season for a few months of the year, like blueberries or raspberries. You can sprinkle some into plain yogurt for a low-budget healthy snack that saves a lot of money compared to buying personal sized “fruit on the bottom” yogurt servings.
Invest Time in Sleep (It’s Free!)
If you want to improve your health, make it a goal to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Starting each day well rested boosts your mental concentration and makes it easier to make better health decisions without losing the willpower to resist the vending machine or skip a workout.
For those who struggle to fall asleep each night, considering making your bedroom a phone-free zone when you head to bed. The blue light your phone emits when you scroll social media keeps your brain activated so that it’s harder to shut down so you can get some rest
Explore Alternatives to a Gym Membership
It costs between $40-50 for most gym memberships in the United States these days, but you can shave that expense out of your budget with a little creativity instead. For instance, you can use social media to find free or inexpensive fitness classes in your area. The local YMCA might offer membership deals, and it pays to look into the possibility of free fitness classes in nearby parks.
You might also benefit from shifting to a subscription home fitness service like Aaptiv, Daily Burn, or Peloton Digital. Each of these platforms gives you access to thousands of workout videos, many of which require little more than enough floor space for a yoga mat. You’ll pay between $15-20 per month for these programs, and an even cheaper option is to turn to the thousands of free workout videos available on YouTube.
If you’re eager to set up a stellar home gym, turn to resale shops, Craigslist and Facebook marketplace to score some deals on lightly used fitness equipment. Commercial gyms often upgrade their machines every few years, and you can buy their castoffs for a fraction of their retail cost.
Make Meals in Advance
If you typically feel stressed and unprepared around meal times, there’s a good chance that you’re spending more than you should to go out to eat instead. Strive to do a better job of keeping your budget under control by prepping your meals a week in advance so you always have something to stick in the oven.
Not only does this let you take advantage of sales on bulk items, but you can control the ingredients you use to ensure you eat healthy meals. Best of all, knowing you have a meal ready to go at home makes it easier to turn down those gas station candy bars.
Buy Meat in Bulk for Better Sales
One of the most expensive ways to buy meat is in small portions, so consider investing in some freezer space so that you can take advantage of sales when they present themselves. It’s also possible to make deals with your local farmers to purchase a quarter cow or pig at once for a fraction of the cost per pound if you were buying the same quality meat over the deli counter.
Grow Your Own Kitchen Herbs
Even if you don’t have the space (or the passion) to tend a vegetable garden, it’s smart to cultivate your favorite culinary spices at home. You’ll pay a small fortune for fresh herbs at the grocery store, but you can grow and dry your own at home for a fraction of the cost. All you need is a sunny south-facing window to get started.
Store the Food Most Prone to Spoiling in the Front of Your Fridge
On average, Americans toss out an estimated pound of food per person each day because it spoils before they can get to it.
You can stop yourself from throwing out money each month by arranging your fridge so that the most perishable ingredients are front and center, so you remember to use them.
It’s also smart to invest in quality storage containers that keep fruits and vegetables fresh until you get to them. We recommend using clear glass containers so that you can see exactly what’s stored inside.
Stick to Your Grocery List
When you shop at the grocery store, it’s easy to underestimate the financial cost of impulse purchases. You can quickly increase your bill by $20-$30 per trip if you give into a few indulgences at the ends of the aisles, which is bad news from both a health and financial standpoint.
A better option is to write a list and stick to it- no exceptions. Make sure you eat a quick snack before shopping so you don’t get cravings get the best of you.
Another way you can save some serious cash is to shop with coupons. Valpak offers discount codes for quick and easy savings at the grocery store. Check out the website often to secure discounts for everything from organic food to personal care items and home cleaning supplies.
Buy Cute (Used) Workout Clothes
Many people feel more motivated to exercise if they feel cute doing so. If you don’t want to blow your clothing budget on designer workout clothes, consider buying them used for less. Your local thrift stores likely have good options, but you can also turn to online platforms like Poshmark or ThredUP to score deals on lightly used fitness apparel. Best of all, you can make some side money by selling off your own clothing castoffs.
A small budget should never be a limiting factor for healthy living. Put these tips into practice, and you’ll find it easier than ever to stay healthy for less.