Updated: Aug 17, 2021
Ideas to help you budget and save while taking care of your health
When thinking about getting healthy, one of the main things that may come to mind is the cost of getting there. From gym memberships to organic groceries from Whole Foods, it can seem all seem a bit overwhelming and expensive.
Let's start here: investing in your health is actually one of the best things you can do for your finances (and yourself). By taking care of your health now, you can help avoid many costly health problems in the future, such as medications, doctor visits, and hospital bills. Unfortunately, investing in our health isn't always made easy as we live in a society where organic fruits and veggies cost much more than highly processed and unhealthy foods, in part because we aren't told the true cost eating these foods.
That being said, not everyone has the privilege to be able to put time and money into their health, and I believe that everyone deserves the chance to get healthy and feel great. Thankfully, there are many small adjustments that can be made in your life in order to help you get healthy while saving money. Here's a list of tips to get you started:
Tips to save money while getting healthy:
◦ Create a budget- one of the first steps we can take when hoping to improve our finances is creating a budget based on our individual lifestyle and needs. This can be done on your own, working with a professional, or using a financial planning website or app. Creating a budget is helpful because it gives you a general overview of what your finances look like at this moment in time. You can see what is coming in, what is going out, and what your money is being spent on. A budget also allows you to set limits for yourself in certain areas of spending (if this is what you are looking to do), such as with groceries or entertainment.
◦ Set financial goals- creating financial goals is a great way to help motivate you to stick to your budget. Whether your goal is to save up enough money to continue investing in your health and wellness, or you are hoping to set-up an emergency fund, all financial goals are important if they have meaning to you. Like with other goals, make sure they are specific and that you have action steps that you can follow to reach them. For example, you may decide that you want to save a certain amount from each paycheck to set aside for investing in your health. In order to do this, your action step may be to create an alarm on your phone (for days you get paid) to remind you to transfer a certain amount of money over to your savings account. No matter what your goal is or how you are working towards it, writing it down and/or having a symbol for it somewhere that is special to you can be a good way to remember what you are working towards.
◦ Look at the essential- Once you have a general overview of what your finances look like, it can be helpful to see where your money is going. Start by looking at what is essential, such as rent or groceries. Next look at what is essential to you, such as investing in your health, a monthly outing with friends, or an exercise class you love. After this, look at what expenses you may be able to cut out for one month, two months, or even six months. Letting go of non-essential expenses may be difficult at first, but keeping your budget and financial goals in mind can help remind you that it is so worth it.
◦ Buy in bulk- buying in bulk may not seem like it saves money upfront, but it can be very helpful in the long-run. In many grocery stores, bulk items tend to be less expensive than individual packaged item. Taking the time to compare unit prices can help you see how much of a price difference there is for specific foods. I recommend buying dry foods, such as rice, pasta, grains, oats and nuts in bulk. Another bonus of bulk buying is that it can help the environment by reducing the amount of packaging our food comes in.
◦ Meal plan- Do you ever find yourself eating out or headed to the grocery store an extra time during the week because there wasn’t a meal planned for the day? I know I used to find myself doing this on many occasions! If we have a meal plan and grocery list ready to go for the week, we are less likely to eat out or buy foods that we don’t need. In addition to helping us budget, meal planning also helps our health, and allows us to reduce our food waste! If you are looking to learn more about how meal planning can help your health and your wallet, head to https://www.faustinemicheyl.com/packages
◦ Consider home-cooked meals- eating out can be a pleasant and fun experience, especially for those who have very busy schedules. However, eating out can not only lead us to stray from our healthy food choices, but it can also significantly add to our expenses. Home-cooked meals are a great alternative because they are much less expensive (for the most part), and because they are also healthier more nourishing for our bodies. When cooking for ourselves (or others) we have the power to choose which ingredients to include and which to limit. Cooking with a loved one can also be a nice way to spend time together, connect, and have fun. If you find yourself feeling too busy for home-cooking, try adding in just one or two home-cooked meals a week to start, and look for recipes that don’t take too long to put together. Even if it is just one meal a week, any small difference can help make a change in your health and finances.
◦ Use what you already have- looking at our fridges and pantries before going to the grocery store allows us to avoid buying things we don’t need, and helps us to limit our food waste. If the ingredients you already have are still good and feel right for you, try challenging yourself to only using these foods to create a couple meals during the week. You might even see a noticeable difference in your grocery bill!
◦ Focus on what is right for you- as with all things, how we choose to spend our money is going to depend on what feels right for us. We all have things that we have to spend money on, such as rent or groceries, but we also also have different priorities, wants, and lifestyles. Think about what is important to you and try to focus on investing in that. If health is a top priority to you, think of ways you can invest in this area of your life, because the outcome will be completely worth it. For example, you might consider swapping a few vegetables for organic versions, signing up for a local yoga class, or taking up a new hobby. Finding small ways to invest in what we love can lead us to more happiness and a much healthier life.
◦ Eating organic on a budget:
◦ Eating plant-based on a budget:
◦ Budgeting websites and apps:
◦ Buying in bulk:
◦ Setting financial goals:
◦ Dealing with financial stress:
◦ Additional budgeting tips: