Living a healthy life is not cheap. If you’re paying for things like supplements, gym membership fees and organic groceries on a consistent basis, your cash is very likely slipping through your fingers before you can even count it.
Making your healthy life more affordable may not be easy, but once the necessary habits are adopted, it will become second nature to you!
Use these tips to save money, stay fit, and feel good about your physical and financial health.
5 tips to make your healthy life more affordable
Look for fitness deals
Gyms can be expensive, but there are ways to get more and spend less if you know what to look for.
- Look for deals around the New Year and start of summer. Gyms know this is when more people are looking to get fit, so they offer special trainer and membership deals to get more new members than their competitors.
- Sign up at the end of the month, when trainers and sales people are trying to hit their quota. They’ll be more likely to work with you, because they need the numbers.
- Get your introductory fee waived. Almost every gym will offer this; you just have to ask for it.
Read more: How to get a gym membership for really cheap
On the other hand, you can skip the gym altogether and use the Internet as your personal trainer. There are a number of websites that offer high-quality workout videos from top-tier trainers, for free or cheap. Here are a few to check out:
- Fitness Blender: You’ll find 100’s of free workout videos, ranging in style, time and equipment needed. Do an 8-minute ab blaster one day and 65-minute cardio burnout the next. As a personal trainer, I highly recommend this site, and use it often for myself.
- Daily Burn: Try free for the first 30 days and then pay $14.95/month. That’s at least half of what you’d pay for a gym membership, and you don’t have to leave the house. You can stream from your phone as well, if you wanted to get outside for your workout.
- Barre3 : This service starts at $15 a month to access 250+ workout videos, with new workouts added every week. Led by experts, this online portal is a great way to get fit and avoid boredom.
Shop at the right stores
Not all grocery stores are created equal. While you might love the one that’s closest to you because it’s convenient, it may not be the best option for saving every week. A recent pricing analysis found that Aldi offered the most in average monthly savings (34.5%). Trader Joe’s, known for it’s deals and discounts, came in last, with 0% average monthly savings. Get more shopping insights from the full CouponBox grocery analysis here.
If you don’t have an Aldi near you, do your own pricing test. Each week for the next month, buy the same groceries at four different stores — shopping at a different one each week. Save your receipts and compare. Where did you spend the least? Maybe one store has a bulk section, great for stocking up on pantry items, while another is better for produce and fresh protein. Then modify your shopping routine accordingly!
Save on supplements
If you love your supplements, you’re not alone. The supplements industry is currently worth $37 billion, so there is clearly no shortage of supplements available.
And with a little research, you can find what you need at a price you love. Before paying out of pocket, see if your doctor can write you a prescription. If you can buy it from the pharmacy, you may be able to use your insurance, which could save a few dollars, depending on what you need.
Otherwise, Vitacost and Supplement Warehouse offer steep discounts on a variety of brands and types, and My Supplement Store is almost always offering free shipping for purchases over $50.
Note: It’s important to make sure you do your research — and even ask your doctor — about any supplements you decide you take, as they could include ingredients that conflict with other medications you’re currently taking.
Read more: Avoid supplements with these ingredients
Plan your meals
This may sound boring and typical, but planning your meals helps you buy just what you need, rather than spending on food that will end up in the trash. For example, you could plan on doing rice, veggies and protein for dinner for the next week. There are many ways you can change this up from day to day, while relying on a few affordable basics:
- Buy rice in bulk, this will save a few dollars.
- Choose 2-5 veggies, some which will be in every meal. For example, cauliflower only comes in one large head — that will be in every meal so you use all of it. Broccoli could be in just a few since you can buy smaller amounts of it.
- Choose 1-2 proteins. Protein is where it starts to get expensive, especially if you buy organic. If you like chicken, buy skinless, boneless breasts. Each package usually comes with two, and each breast can be seasoned and cooked differently. Grill one breast with barbecue sauce on Tuesday and sauté one with peanut sauce on Wednesday.
Planning your meals in this way allows you to get the most for your money, without spending on food you don’t need.
See if you qualify for food assistance
Government food assistance, often called food stamps or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), is offered for a reason: sometimes we need a little help, and there’s no shame in that. Many college students, for example, can qualify and get $60 – $100+ in food money every month.
When I was in college, this was a lifesaver. I was able to get the healthy food I wanted, and now, with a well-paying job, I can afford it myself. The best part: Most who qualify receive a “debit card,” so when you check out at the cash register, no one has to know it’s not your regular bank card.
Living a healthy life can be affordable if you plan a little, look for the deals, and know where to shop. You’ll be glad you took the time to do a pricing test and find the best online workout subscription when you see that you’re saving every month.