Budgeting 201
July 15, 2021

Staying Healthy on a Budget

Sometimes, staying healthy is easier said than done. A tight budget can get in the way of a person’s health, but the good news is that there are affordable ways to be healthy. Consider these eight tips for staying healthy on a budget.

1. For Affordable Health, Embrace Couponing

Extreme couponing turned into a reality television show for a reason. You can save a lot by clipping coupons, and it’s also challenging and fun. Keep in mind though that in order to save with coupons, it’s important to only use them to purchase things that you were planning to buy anyway. Also, don’t forget to check brand prices. Often, a generic brand is less than what you’ll end up paying for a name brand even with a coupon.

2. Exercise Outside When Possible

Staying healthy on a budget means exercising outside when possible. Getting outside is good for your mental state, and you'll save on pricey gym memberships. When you exercise outside, you might be more challenged since terrain diversity is tougher to manage. If you’re walking or running, be sure to change your path from time to time to take full advantage of that.

If you live somewhere with cold winters, search for a recreation center nearby that offers exercise equipment or workout space. Many of them have walking tracks as well as treadmills and exercise bikes. The fees for using these facilities are usually less expensive than a gym membership. You can also complete your workouts at home to save even more.

3. Plan Meals Ahead of Time

Staying healthy on a budget is more doable when you plan your meals in advance. Take some time to decide what you’re going to eat each day of the week. Once you’ve decided, create a grocery list that includes the things that you’ll need to make your meals.

Be sure to check your refrigerator and pantry to see what ingredients or food products you already have. Save money by using what you have on hand first and only purchase the food items that you know you’ll use. This will help you avoid tossing away items.

4. Don’t Deviate From Your Grocery List

Once you’ve created a grocery list, don’t stray from it. At the store, it’s easy to be tempted by sales or other food items that look tasty, but not only will this tank your budget, it could also make it harder for you to stay healthy.

The experts recommend starting a grocery trip at the store’s perimeter. That way, you’ll be more likely to come home with food products that are healthy. The middle section of most grocery stores typically features processed food items that aren’t as healthy for you to eat. Along with this, stores usually stock the most expensive items at eye level. To save money, look toward the top and bottom of the store shelves.

These days, there are grocery list apps. Download a few to help you save money at the store. Some will even save your favorite items. You can also share lists with several shoppers, which makes it easier to stick to a food budget. When you use an app, you won’t have to worry about leaving your grocery list at home.

5. Buy Economical Food That’s Healthy for You

Purchase reasonably priced fruits and vegetables like spinach, bananas, cabbage, oranges, and apples. Other economical food items include carrots, green peppers, and sweet potatoes. Check the grocery store for deals on imperfect food.
You might want to consider joining a veggie co-op. These kinds of groups often put in a large order with a produce company for a variety of healthy foods. The bulk order decreases the food cost, making it easier for you to stay healthy on a budget.

6. Purchase Whole Foods

Many food items are more affordable when you buy them in their whole form instead of in processed form. For instance, you’ll spend less to buy a block of cheese than you will cheese that’s shredded. Also, whole grains, such as oats and brown rice, are cheaper than most boxed cereals.

Keep in mind that grocery stores sell processed foods in smaller quantities than whole foods. You’ll also receive more servings in each package of whole food items.

7. Don’t Buy Junk Food

Not only will it make your finances a little more comfortable, but purchasing less junk food will also help you maintain your health. Soda, cookies, and chips are expensive. They also provide little nutritional value and are full of unhealthy ingredients.

If you love sugar and eat a lot of food products that contain it, then you might suffer from some withdrawal symptoms by leaving it out of your diet. Those symptoms will pass after a few weeks, so stick with it. Once you’ve bypassed your sugar addiction, you will likely feel more energetic. You might even sleep better.

8. Stock Up When There's a Sale

If you have a food item that you generally keep on hand, stock up on it when it goes on sale. For instance, Worcestershire sauce is a great addition to many dishes. It's also something that will keep in your cupboard for a time as long as you don’t open the container.

Stock up on the items that you know you’ll use. This will save you money over time. Make sure that what you’re buying more of won’t expire before you use it, or freeze it before it goes bad. If you have to toss it, then this will hurt your budget instead of helping it.

Improve or Maintain Your Health on a Budget

To stay healthy on a budget, consider using coupons, working out at home or outside, and purchasing economical food that’s good for you. With creativity, a little planning, and consistency, you’ll find it possible to improve or maint