Many people have been forced to cut back on their spending since the beginning of the year.
The monthly budget of many families has also taken a hit since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, it’s possible to still maintain a healthy lifestyle and save money at the same time.
Food usually takes up a large proportion of the budget, so it makes sense to start there when cutbacks have to be made.
When looking to cut back on food spending, a lot of people turn to fast-food.
As a result, fast-food chains are experiencing new sales records as people look for low-cost ways to eat and feed their families. This is the junk economy/junk food relationship.
Eating this way will save money in the short term, but what are the long term costs when it comes to health?
Many People Cut Back on Gym and Spa Visits
Other expenditures that are often eliminated include gym memberships, spa treatments, and even necessary health costs such as prescriptions and doctor visits.
Being health-conscious can help counteract the stress a tighter budget can bring and will save time and money in the long run.
Keep in mind that preventative health is always less expensive than curative measures.
Fortunately, there are ways to cut back on spending and continue living a healthy lifestyle.
9 Ways to Stay Healthy on a Budget
1. Exercise Daily on a Budget
Continue making time for daily exercise. This is vital for mental and physical health as well.
I remember the gym membership was the first thing to go when I had a financial crisis back in the day.
However, cutting out the gym doesn’t mean you stop working out.
My fitness program is based 100% on home workouts. I haven’t been to a gym in years.
The best thing about a lot of home workout programs — you don’t need a full home gym. The basics are usually adequate.
Don’t care for home workout programs? You can still walk around your neighborhood with your dog or a friend, or just by yourself.
2. Create a Meal Plan
At the beginning of every week, create meal plans for the week. Look at sale circulars from the grocery store, which usually arrives on the weekend.
Plan meals around weekly sales and specials. Utilize leftovers on busy evenings.
Meal planning helps eliminate waste and extra trips to the grocery store and unnecessary spending.
Cook a couple of days a week and then stretch out the meals by adding things to change it up.
For example, roasted chicken for one dinner could be chicken tacos the next. Eating at home is always a great healthy living strategy.
You can go as far as cooking in bulk and freezing for weeks in advance. I do this with my soups and stews especially.
Related Content: Grocery Checklist Printable Set
3. Create a Food Budget
Decide what your budget is before going to the grocery store, and eat something before you go.
Have a list of essential items and food items you don’t necessarily need but would like to buy.
Purchase the necessities first, and use a calculator to add them up as you place the items you must purchase into the cart.
If you have money left over after getting everything you need, you can then pick up a few of the foods and treats you had hoped to get.
5. Shop Smart and Avoid Prepared Foods
Foods which need a little more preparation are less expensive. For example, buy a whole head of romaine lettuce instead of a tub of pre-washed greens.
Cut up your fruits and vegetables and meat at home. Buy frozen vegetables but use them up quickly.
Look at the top and bottom shelves for the cheapest foods, such as bagged beans, lentils, whole grains, oats, cans of tuna, etc.
Vegetable sources of protein like lentils, beans, quinoa, and peanut butter are packed with fiber, filling, and also cheap!
For more smart shopping tips, read 9 Efficient Ways to Save on Groceries Without Using Coupons.
6. Go Green to Reduce Costs
Most cleaning products are expensive and unnecessary. DIY a cleaning product with white vinegar, water, and baking soda.
For instance, you can use this baking soda and vinegar recipe to clear slow-moving drains.
You also won’t have to worry about exposure to chemicals such as ammonia, bleach, etc.
Use cold water and the minimum amount of laundry soap to save up to 90% of the energy costs of heating the water.
Avoid buying paper towels and use old sheets and rags to clean with. Shop in the bulk aisles to buy only the amount you need and reduce waste.
7. Don’t Buy Bottled Water
Buy a water filtration unit like Brita Everyday Pitcher to avoid the costs of bottled water and exposure to plastic particles.
These are reasonably priced and will pay for themselves quickly.
You will drink a lot more water by keeping your reusable water bottle with you and it will stay colder.
You’ll also save money on buying beverages when you’re out and about.
8. Buy Organic for Less
Visit EWG.org to learn about which foods should be purchased organic, if possible, and the foods you don’t have to buy organic.
EWG.org also outlines the skincare ingredients that should be avoided.
Also, consider starting an organic garden. Gardening can be a relaxing and therapeutic activity.
For more on starting a garden, have a look at Gardening and Sustainable Living Bundle.
9. Don’t Forget Farmers Markets
Farmers Markets usually open up in the spring. You can get loads of fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable rates there.
On the plus side, locally grown food items are fresh and mostly organic.
Additionally, you can find unusual fruits and vegetables you wouldn’t find in a grocery store at a farmers markets.
A financial crunch doesn’t automatically mean turning to junk food just to eat.
Between all these tips, you should be able to cut down on spending, still have a good diet, and stay fit.