New year, new you, right? Time to get healthier; time to save more money for that trip to Austria you’ve been planning for years.
But wait—those two goals don’t fit together at all! Or do they?
It’s pretty widely accepted that if you want to get healthy, you have to be willing to spend more money. Organic and nutrient-rich foods, after all, are far more expensive than potato chips and Hamburger Helper.
Nothing can change that reality, but believe it or not, there are a few creative lifestyle choices you can make to start pursuing your health and savings goals simultaneously.
Here are a few of them.
1) Run Instead of Buying Coffee
The health benefits/detriments of coffee have been debated since the dawn of time, but there’s one thing we know for sure: cardio is very, very good for you
According to the Daily Beast, aerobic exercise reduces the markers of inflammation, burns liver and visceral fat effectively, and may produce more protective antioxidants in your body. So yep, running is healthy.
Back to that coffee thing, though. You probably know this, but it’s ridiculously easy to spend a lot of money buying coffee. You can buy a latte at Starbucks for literally the same price as an entire pack of ground or whole bean coffee at the grocery store.
But I need it, you say. One, if you were to commit to running every morning, you’d be amazed at how good a job it does at waking you up. Two, it’s fine to stick to drinking coffee, but make it yourself.
Seriously, a six-dollar pack of coffee from the store could last you as long as a month. If you go to a coffee shop and spend $5 even once a week, you’re basically quadrupling your budget. You don’t even want to think about how that number goes up if you visit coffee shops two, three, or five times a week…
2) Check Out Online Exercise Content
These days, you can’t claim ignorance when it comes to exercise instruction. Youtube has tons of free exercise content, and it just doesn’t get any cheaper than free.
3) Eat Out Less
It seems as if the price of healthy food is the biggest hindrance to personal health goals (that, and your own motivation), but this may not be true.
Seriously, the biggest problem with buying healthy groceries is not their price, but how hard it is to budget for that price when you’re spending so much money eating out. A firm commitment to spending more on groceries and far less on restaurants would yield the physical results you want while keeping your budget right where it’s at—if not lowering it.
Try out regular social eating as well. Cook large meals together with friends, and split the cost and leftovers. That way, you’ll spend less while getting regular accountability from people who support your goals and may even be pursuing those same goals themselves.
4) Eat Smaller Portions (and More Snacks!)
Another solution to the healthy grocery expense problem is to learn to be content with smaller portions. For example, if you want to eat organic/grass-fed cuts of meat, you can buy smaller cuts and stay in the same ballpark in price.
Most of us eat more than we actually need (or sometimes want). Very few of us give ourselves time to digest our food and find out if we have actually had enough to eat.
Learning to eat smaller portions is very difficult, but an ultimately worthwhile exercise. One way to help yourself is to eat smaller amounts of food more frequently instead of infrequently gorging. Yes, that means more snacks for you, although you’ll probably want to demonstrate some wisdom and restraint in the types of snacks you choose as well.
5) Stock Up on Food When It’s Discounted
If a particular type of produce is in-season and on sale, don’t worry about how much you need in the coming week. Buy a lot of it and freeze whatever you don’t use.
You can do the same with all food. If you’re patient enough, you’ll come across really good deals for healthy foods and snacks. When those times come, buy them in bulk and enjoy them throughout the coming months.
Health and Savings, Joined at the Hip
Putting health and savings together may sound like an oxymoron, but that doesn’t have to be your reality.
Don’t feel like your goals have to compete with one another. Put a little thought into ways to make health work for you and your budget.
And guess what? The more you save now, the less creative you’ll have to be about shopping healthfully later.
By Ryan Drawdy
Jan 30, 2017
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