The most common answer I get when I ask people what is preventing them from taking better care of themselves is, that it is too expensive and they can’t afford it. They compare the cost of a cheeseburger to a salad or organic vs non-organic and just say that there is a reason people in this country are fat. Many people get discouraged because they look at the world of health and wellness more as a luxury than a necessity like a car or a cell phone. Here is what I know as a health coach and what I try to tell my clients. Your health is an investment, the more you put into it the more you will benefit over the long term. That investment doesn’t have to come in the form of money, but instead, it can come as an investment of time, patience and research. You don’t have to have a lot of money to be healthy. Health and wellness are not just for the rich, being healthly is for everyone. Below you will find some tips and tricks for becoming and staying healthy on a budget. No one should feel like their health is out of reach.
Let’s say you’re the kind of person who needs a group class to get you motivated to workout. However, spending $15- $45 to spend on a single fitness class is not in the budget. Or, you want to join a gym but the monthly fee is too expensive. Instead of letting your fitness route lapse, there are ways around the high-priced fitness class but will still put you in that group setting.
- Community classes/ Charity classes: Most studios offer community classes to promote their studio or gym. They usually happen once a week and are by donation or are around $5. You still get the experience of taking the class, but don’t have to pay the high prices.
- Running/Biking Groups: A lot of cities and towns have running or biking groups that you can join. They meet a few times a week and are usually working toward an easy goal so that you don’t need to be a professional to keep up. I love these groups because every one in them is usually really laid back and friendly; best part is they are almost always free! Also, there are usually a few really experienced people who you can ask for tips and guidance if you’re new to running or biking.
- The Gym: There are some gyms out there that only cost about $10-$15 a month to join. While most of them don’t have fitness classes and personal training costs more, they almost always have someone who will show you how to use the equipment for free. Plus, don’t be shy to tell them that you are on a budget. Everyone respects someone who is trying to better himself/herself by not spending a lot of money.
- Online: We live in the age of online-is-everything-and-everywhere. You name it, it is probably online. A great way to cut your costs is to look around online. Nowadays you can find thousands, I mean thousands, of fitness class and routines online for practically nothing; sometime they even cost nothing. While you’re not doing it in a group, you are doing it to a video that has people in it, so I mean close enough. You can always invite a friend over to do the videos with you. These subscriptions usual cost $10-$15 a month and you have access to every type of workout that you can imagine. Plus, these subscriptions usually give you a 30 day free trial! Then, of course, there is always YouTube, where you can find fitness videos for free!
- The Great Outdoors: It doesn’t get much cheaper than this. Being outside is completely free or your tax dollars have already paid for it! I am talking about hiking, running, and walking around in a park or trail. Community and state-run parks are almost always free to use because your tax dollars have already paid for them. Most of them also already have workout equipment, like jungle gyms and fitness tests, along the way. So, don’t be afraid to take a look around the next time you are at your local park.
Everyone is always telling me that eating healthy is so expensive. They go into the health food store and see that one bag of carrots is twice as expensive as another because it’s organic. So, when you are trying to replace everything in your kitchen with more healthy products, but your budget’s not allowing it. Being healthy can appear almost impossible. What can you do?
- Shop local: Signing up for CSA or food share can save you hundreds of dollars. They are boxes of produce that typically come once a week or once a month, depending on the kind of share to which you subscribe. These programs usually cost $20-$35 a box (depending on the size), but contain enough local organic produce to feed you and your family for a week and a half.
- Co-ops: Local food co-ops are an amazing way to save some money. They usually have an annual or one-time membership fee that more than pays for itself on the first few shopping trips. The memberships come with a discount on each purchase or access to special discounts. Plus, these store are usually stocked with hundreds of local products, from produce to cheese to homemade pasta, from a small family owned facility of which you never heard. They usually also have a bunch of homemade premade food you can take with you on the go or use to help you make dinner. Because, let’s face it, we don’t always have time to make our own pesto.
- Cook at home: Cooking at home can save you a bundle because, while going out and eating healthy might cost you more, staying in and cooking yourself will save you a bundle. This way you can control what goes into your food, you can buy and make things in bulk, and you’re not paying for someone to bring you your food.
- Avoid processed food: While frozen, prepared, and processed food might appear cheaper and will save you time, they almost never do. Cheap processed and frozen food is usually full of unhealthy things and the ones that aren’t are very expensive. Pre-cleaned or prepared food is going to have an added cost because you have to factor in the person who spent time making it or preparing it. So, save yourself some money and just make it yourself.
- Buy what’s in season: It is a perfect example of supply and demand. Food that is in season is cheaper because there is more supply of it. More people have an easier time growing it, so it drives the price way down. Instead of spending $6 on your strawberries, wait till they are in season when they are $3.
- Subscription Food: One of the best ways to spend money is by subscribing to something you could do yourself. Many of those food subscription services that deliver things to your house, like juice, smoothies, or meals, can really add up. There are plenty of cheaper ways to eat healthy than relying on a service to do it. Instead, look up free healthy recipes online and make things in bulk. It is cheaper to buy a whole chicken than pieces, plus you can make gravy, broth, stews, and soup out of what is left over. The same can be said for vegetables. Just because you used the bulk of the produce doesn’t mean you can’t use the “waste” for something.
- Avoid trend diets: Trend diets are expensive because the industry wants to get the most out of your pocket and in a short amount of time. A juice cleanse or a supplement cleanse will end up costing you a lot more than you will benefit. Plus, those diets aren’t sustainable. The only reason to invest in yourself is to see results long term. Quick fixes will only cost you money and won’t solve anything long term.
Nothing sounds more expensive than taking care of yourself. Most people think it means taking time away from being productive, going to an expensive spa, or spending a large chunk of money on vacation. The truth is it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of things you can do for yourself that don’t cost any money.
- Bathtime: Taking a nice relaxing bath will barely cost you any money at all. You can even use things from your kitchen to make baths more special. Oatmeal or olive oil is a great way to get smooth skin without investing in an expensive bottle of bath oil. You can even grow your own lavender or sage for a relaxing smell in the bath and around the home. It doesn’t cost much and you only need a sunny window. You can also put things like baking soda or salt to help with soreness. A luxury bath doesn’t have to cost you much.
- Self Massage: We have been lotioning ourselves after a shower for years, so why not use this time to slow down and give yourself your own massage? It’s cheap, easy, and it is a really great way to self care.
- Meditation: There are so many free guided meditations online now, so you don’t have spend money to learn how to meditate. Simply find the firmest pillow in your house and press play.
- Masks Mask Masks!: You can make your own face, body or hair mask in your own home using things from your kitchen. Don’t worry about spending $40 on some expensive mask just go to your kitchen and, boom, here comes some “me” time. There are lot’s of recipes online that help with every skin or hair problem out there, and they are all free!
- DIY Facial: Grab your cleanser, a crockpot full of warm towels, lemon juice, some honey, and baking soda to give yourself an at-home facial.
- Simply cleanse first, remove with a hot towel,
- Mix some baking soda into your cleanser and gently massage, rinse, and remove with another warm towel.
- With a clean makeup brush, take some the juice and coat your face, let it sit for 5 minutes, then remove with a warm towel.
- Then take some honey and place it on your face for a mask, let it sit for 10 minutes, and remove with the final warm towel.
- Then put on some moisturizer and you are done!
Being healthy does not mean you have to spend all your fun money on fitness, self-care, or organic products. You can easily find ways to make healthy cheap because no one should have to make six figures in order to live a healthy lifestyle. With all the money you save, remember to treat yourself to something fun because there needs to be some balance to your budget. *wink