- There are many inexpensive options to help you feel great, look good, and perform at your best
- Living an affordable healthy lifestyle is about habit change and mindfulness
- A healthier lifestyle on a budget benefits the planet as well as you
It can be hard to fit into a healthy lifestyle in today’s fast-paced world – especially if you’re on a budget. The biggest hurdle many people face is cost.
Though most of us are more aware of the importance of healthy living, many aren’t sure how to go about it when money is a concern. The rising costs of healthy food and the required equipment for a healthy lifestyle can make it tough to know where to begin. While you can’t avoid the costs entirely, there are various ways to save money and still lead a healthy lifestyle.
In this guide, we’ll discuss several healthy lifestyle changes you can make without spending any extra money, and perhaps even saving a bit.
Seven Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget
Living a healthy lifestyle is about making minor changes to your habits and routines. It’s not about spending money on expensive products or services that promise to make you healthier. Instead, you can live a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank.
The first thing to do is figure out what kind of lifestyle you want. For example, do you want to go vegan? Do you want to start practicing mindfulness? Maybe you simply need to find more time to exercise. Once you’ve figured out your goals, make a plan that fits your budget and schedule.
The following are some healthy lifestyle on budget ideas you can put into practice right away:
Make an at-Home Gym
A fitness center membership isn’t necessary to stay in shape and maintain a healthy weight. Instead, you can make your at-home gym with stuff you already have lying around the house and perhaps a small purchase or two.
Don’t worry about setting up an entire home gym if you don’t have enough space. Your living room, the garage, or an extra bedroom will do just fine.
Wondering what to include in your home gym? Here are some ideas:
- A yoga mat is an essential piece of equipment that you can use for stretches and functional strength training
- If you want to add more variations to your workouts, consider purchasing a jump rope or resistance band set, both of which can be had for a song
- Use household items as weights. For example, water bottles filled with sand or beans work well, and you can weigh them on your bathroom scale to measure what you’re lifting
- Use your body weight for resistance exercises
- Get the kiddos involved and have fun while lifting them up in the air with your legs or arms
If you’re looking for something that won’t cost an arm and a leg, here are some tips for finding cheap workout gear:
- Craigslist – you’d be surprised at what people give away on Craigslist.
- Yard Sales – these are great if there’s one close by where you live. If not, check out sites like YardSale Treasure Map, Garage Sale Finder, or The Yard Sale Finder App. They’ll help you find yard sales anywhere.
- Facebook Marketplace – Like Craigslist, if you’re a Facebook user, you have access to a community marketplace where you can find new and used items at great prices, sometimes even free.
Meditate for Free
There is no need to pay for a meditation class; you can meditate on your own. It’s as simple as sitting down in a quiet place and focusing on breathing.
You can even do it at work.
If you’re new to meditation, here are some tips for getting started:
- Choose a time when you’ll be able to sit for about 15 minutes without interruption
- Ensure there’s no noise coming from the outside or inside the room where you’ll be meditating
- Sit on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your back straight and let your arms rest on either side of your body. If your back hurts when sitting up straight, try folding a blanket over your knees so they’re higher than your hips.
- Close your eyes. Then, take some slow, deep breaths until they are even again. After that, focus on breathing through an open mouth until you feel ready to stop meditating.
Whether you’re unsure where to start, want a meditation timer that gives you that ashram feeling, or prefer guided meditations, there are dozens of inexpensive apps for your phone.
Most have a free trial, so you can give them a whirl before paying for the premium:
- Balance – free for your first year, Balance has numerous guided meditations and is terrific for creating meditation habits
- Simple Habit
- Meditation Time 2.0 – a simple and clean timer for your meditation session that is forever free
- Mindfulness Bell by Spotlight Six
Prepare Meals at Home More Often
Cooking your meals at home more often is one of the most cost-effective and healthiest choices. You can make more nutritious meals for less money than you’d spend eating out or ordering up Uber Eats every night.
When you cook for yourself, it’s easier to know what goes into your food and whether or not there are any hidden additives.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy good food without breaking the bank. For example, try these recipes for quick meals:
- Pasta with vegetables and olive oil for an easy weeknight dinner
- Fresh salads with chicken, eggs, cheese, nuts, or beans for added protein
- Lentils with veggies
- Vegan Chilli
- Orecchiette and chickpea tomato soup
- Breakfast for dinner – anything, anytime
Finally, keep in mind that nutritious meals don’t always have to be cooked. There are many raw food recipes that are delicious and good for you, inexpensive to make, and save energy (lowering your power bill) because you needn’t use electricity or gas to cook them.
Make Your Wardrobe Minimalist
Minimalism isn’t just about keeping your closet clean. It’s also about freeing up mental space. So if you’re trying to get rid of clutter in your life, this is one place where it makes sense to start by reducing the number of clothes that you own.
Instead of having a closet full of outfits you only wear once or twice before boredom sets in, choose versatile pieces that you can mix and match with everything in your wardrobe. Accent your outfits with statement pieces that you find in thrift shops or have collected over the years to keep things fresh and fun.
By taking a minimalist wardrobe approach, you’ll have less stuff to clean and organize, which means more time for yourself. You’ll also save money on cleaning products, storage space, and dry-cleaning bills.
Buy or Grow Your Produce in Season
Sourcing fresh, local produce might cost more than frozen options, but you’ll get more nutrients and save money on health care.
Also, you can save by shopping for fruits and veggies in season. When you buy seasonal produce, it’s cheaper because it’s more readily available—and it tastes better than out-of-season produce does because it has more nutrients.
Here are the most common fruits and vegetables by season:
- Spring: strawberries, asparagus, peas, spinach, artichokes, zucchini
- Summer: tomatoes, bell peppers, corn (on the cob or off), melons (cantaloupe, honeydew), watermelon
- Fall: apples (including Honeycrisp), pears (including Bartlett), grapes (red and green), and blueberries
- Winter: potatoes (white and sweet), onions (yellow or white), carrotsFinally comes wintertime—the most challenging time of year for finding fresh produce
Plant a vegetable and herb garden in your yard if you have the space. Apartment living? Not a problem – check out Pinterest to find many creative ideas for building a miniature wall garden indoors.
Ride Your Bike to Work
If you have access to a bike rack at your office or place of employment, try riding instead of driving. Taking your bike will help you stay fit, but it will also save money on gas and parking fees.
Health benefits associated with cycling include:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved mental health
- Improved mood
- Better sleep quality and quantity
- Decreased stress levels
- Increased energy levels
Use Nature as Your Gym
As a substitute for a gym or other fitness facility, take advantage of all the natural beauty surrounding you. Nature offers so many great benefits. For example, walking outside in green spaces has been linked with relieving stress, while spending time in parks makes us happier and more connected with other people.
In addition, nature has been proven to reduce anxiety, increase focus, improve sleep quality, boost creativity, and much more.
The best part? Getting outdoors is free of charge!
Here are some outdoor budget activities you can do:
- Go for walks through parks or along hiking trails
- Swim in lakes or oceans
- Play sports outside with friends
- Spend time gardening
- Go biking
- Do yoga or Pilates outdoors instead of indoors
Living a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget is Easier Than You Might Think
There is an abundance of ways how to live a healthy lifestyle. Remember that taking control of your health and well-being isn’t complicated or time-consuming. Taking small steps to become mindful of your health will help reduce stress, eliminate bad habits and make you feel happier and calmer.
Lynette Garet is a bilingual freelance writer. A U.S. ex-pat living in Costa Rica with her partner Sil, when not busy with writing projects, she can be found hanging with her favorite “stinky boys” (the Grand-Littles), tending her garden, cooking, reading, enjoying good wine, and dancing in the kitchen to music from a limitless list of genres.