Budgeting a Healthy Lifestyle
Eating well and exercising don’t have to come at a high price. By now, word is out that a good diet and exercise are the keys to staying healthy. But with $200-a-month gym memberships, pressed juices that go for $10 a pop and organic food prices sometimes much higher than their conventional counterparts, it can feel like fitness is an expensive proposition.
Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can live well and stay on a budget — although you might have to forgo the yoga pants that cost the same as a car payment.
Buy organic when it matters most.
If you can’t afford to go all organic, focus on the produce that’s most likely to be contaminated by pesticides. This includes strawberries, apples, peaches and celery — think foods with a thin, edible skin. It’s less important to buy organic avocados, pineapples, onions and grapefruit. And when you buy local, you can often get higher quality for a smaller price tag.
Find deals on classes.
Working out at home is a convenient, inexpensive option, but if you feel more motivated by a group atmosphere, there are options. If you live in a big city, ClassPass offers packages for classes at pricey boutique studios — covering everything from spin and barre to weightlifting and Pilates — that significantly reduce the cost per visit. Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial often feature reduced-price classes as well.
Learn to love your freezer.
When you see that ground turkey on an incredible sale, stock up — and then be sure to put it in the freezer so it doesn’t go bad before you can use it. For a time- and money-saver, make double batches of your favorite meals and immediately freeze the servings you don’t plan to eat right away.
Trade your time.
Many gyms will let you trade services (such as cleaning) in exchange for a membership. Consider getting your certification to become an instructor, too — this will usually get you complimentary access to the place where you’re teaching, even if it’s only once a week.
Visit the bulk section.
It might be slightly easier to buy your steel-cut oats in a prepackaged bag than to scoop them out of the bulk bin yourself, but it will definitely be more expensive. Take the time to get what you can from the bulk bins, and you won’t pay for extra packaging costs. This is also helpful when you only need a small quantity of an ingredient you don’t use often.
Find fitness offerings on social media.
If you follow local athletic clothing or sporting goods stores on Facebook or Instagram, you can find out about free classes or workshops they’re hosting. Area instructors and studios can also be great resources for learning about fun events that don’t cost a thing.
When you’re searching for cost-effective ways to be healthier, don’t forget to look into programs your employer might offer. More than 70 percent of companies have wellness offerings now, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management. This includes gym membership reimbursements, free activity trackers and smoking-cessation programs. Thirty-one percent of businesses also offer a weight-loss program. For example, American Airlines offers a 10-week skill-building program, Naturally Slim, to help participants change how they eat, lose weight and improve their overall health.