There’s this common misconception that eating healthy and living a fit lifestyle is too expensive. People often use it as an excuse, saying things like, “The grocery bill is too high. I can’t afford to eat organic.”
The truth is, however, that it costs far more in the long run if you fall into poor health, visiting doctors every other week. As we get older, we tend to appreciate this more. There is a saying that “youth is wasted on the young” and it’s so true because we feel invincible when we are young and often don’t take better care of ourselves until our health starts to decline.
Here are a few ways to live a healthier life without breaking the bank:
Impulse buying kills us at the grocery store. Have you gone into the store without a plan, or better yet, when you’re hungry? That scenario never ends well. Not having a plan leads to impulse shopping and choosing foods that simply look good right at that moment. Those impulse buys then come home where they tempt you daily until they are gone, and you repeat the pattern again. Stop doing this. Go in with a plan; a list of healthy snacks and a menu and don’t deviate just because you have a coupon for some sugary cereal or tortilla chips. Planning takes a little extra time but that extra time will mean less money spent on junk that isn’t serving you and helping you reach your goals.
I can’t imagine the hundreds of dollars that families waste each month on fresh produce that simply spoils before it eaten. I know this has happened in my house and it’s the worst feeling when you think about the money that you end up tossing out. Instead of experiencing this month after month, buy frozen fruits and vegetables. They are flash-frozen soon after harvesting and often retain more nutritional value than fresh produce that is picked, may take a long journey overseas before it reaches the grocery store and then waits to be purchased. Granted, fresh tastes best but keeping frozen on hand is a great way to have options that won’t spoil and will save you loads of money.
Buying in Bulk
Research different farmer’s markets and/or co-ops in your area. Go in with a friend or neighbor on buying a box of what is locally grown and in-season. This way you split the cost and don’t end up with more than you and your family may be able to eat each month.
There are also options to buy in bulk! Costco and Sam’s Club make it possible to buy foods such as fish, meat, veggies and produce in bulk. Since most of their fruit and veggie options are not organic, grab some veggie cleaner or make your own and give them a good scrub. Portion these foods out for quick access or put them in the freezer for later day.
Don’t buy a bunch of fancy drinks! If you do, don’t make these what you drink for a regular source of hydration. While water isn’t exactly free because you have a water bill, you can run your home water through a filtration system on your fridge or buy a special filtration pitcher, which will certainly be more economical than constantly purchasing bottled water or specialty drinks. Tea can be a low-cost healthy option too.
There are plenty of coupons available with the Sunday paper or online. If there are foods that you like, take a minute to print out or download coupons from their vendor sites. It may seem tedious at first but when you save upwards of $50 on your grocery bill, you may begin to look forward to couponing.
Prepare in Advance
Prepare the foods you are going to eat in advance. For example, when I get home, I love to prep veggies. I’ll slice up bell peppers, wash other veggies like cherry tomatoes and celery that we can eat right away, and take grapes off the stem for my kids.
My kids love to play the guessing game with the peppers. We buy red, yellow, orange and green. They close their eyes and we put a piece of the pepper in their mouth and they try and guess the color. Keeping healthy foods accessible means that you are less likely to grab something packaged that tends to be less filling, less healthy and more costly.
When it comes to training and exercise, you don’t always need to go to the gym. Get creative and train at home. There are plenty of bodyweight option to try that require no equipment whatsoever. Exercise moves like lunges, squats, dips, push-ups, etc. are all highly effective. It does not cost much to take your routine to the next level with some additional inexpensive home equipment options like a jump rope, a stability ball and some dumbbells. Not interested in spending any money but still want to add resistance to your workout routine; load up a bag or backpack with things around your house for rows or squats. You can also use gallon jugs, soup cans or even kitty litter for added weight. Take advantage of these simple and effective options! Where there’s a will there’s a way.
Joining a Gym
Certain times of the year are better than others for joining a gym. Wait to take advantage of membership specials, or simply ask to have your sign-up fees waived. If that’s not an option or you simply don’t have access to a gym around you, think about finding someone you can possibly make a trade with.
As a trainer myself, I have kids. If you want to trade babysitting for a training session, I would be gung-ho for that! We all have something that we can offer. Think about what you can potentially trade.
Online Training Programs
As a fitness professional and trainer, I am always creating new training programs and sometimes I need beta testers. Follow some of your favorite trainers on social media so that you can be privy to any special offers or free content. There is an abundance of low-cost options online and many of the online programs are much cheaper to follow than hiring a personal trainer.
Find places to train outside. Run bleachers, run around the track, run sprints, use picnic tables, swings, monkey bars, etc. I highly encourage you to change it up from time to time, because it keeps things fun and interesting.
It is possible to live a healthy lifestyle by planning and thinking outside-the-box. Don’t simply cave to the notion that it’s expensive because you tried to make that elaborate recipe one time and it cost an arm and a leg. Save anything fancy for a special occasion and keep things simple. Buy the healthiest options you can afford, keep them accessible, and keep them on a rotation! When it comes to your workouts, keep moving, keep it interesting and keep it consistent.