Being healthy and fit seems to be quite the trend of late, with everyone looking for ways to implement cost-effective lifestyle changes. With quotes such as “Strong is the new skinny” and “Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle,” we all seem to want to jump onto the health bandwagon in our own little way.
However, somewhere along this journey, we realize that this switch to being healthier is costing us (literally). The wallet seems to get lighter whereas the rest of us… not so much. So we ditch the prospect of a healthier version of ourselves and go back to our old selves.
Contrary to popular belief, though, being healthy doesn’t have to be inversely proportional to losing dollars. Find cost-effective ways to make lifestyle changes and keep your dollars! Lose weight and adipose fat and get lots of health, happiness and productivity instead.
Now that’s a low glycemic index but still a really sweet deal, right? Not losing money is one thing. But in fact, being healthy could even save you money! We bet that’s a spin you probably haven’t considered.
So, ditch those daily juice cleanses and lunch delivery services. Make some real, lifelong changes that will save you dollars and buy your health. Don’t hit the panic button already. This doesn’t have to be some grand commitment. Just some minor changes you can make which will go a long way. Read on to see what we are talking about:
Cost-Effective Lifestyle Change #1: Cook your own food
Rationale: Let’s do some math here. The classic cheeseburger at Applebee’s is $12.49. However, if we prepare our own homemade sandwich, it would cost us less than $3 (all if the ingredients divided by the amount to make one burger).
Sure, you might spend $30 at the store for a family of four, but if you bought four cheeseburgers at the restaurant, it would cost $49.96, plus tip and tax! Cheaper-check.
If you are cooking for one person, this is still cheaper because you can make multiple patties ahead of time and eat them later. Or meal prep something else with the remaining ingredients. If you have hamburger meat, lettuce, and tomatoes, you have practically everything you need for tacos!
Healthier-check. More time spent in the kitchen connecting to your food and ingredients-check.
Cost-Effective Lifestyle Change #2: Ditch the car
Rationale: Do you really need your car for tiny errands? Couldn’t you use a bicycle instead? And even if it’s a bag or two of groceries-there are no recorded instances of deaths by lifting bags and walking.
Walking and bike riding are great healthy activities, and if you are carrying around a bag or two, it is like walking with weights!
These small trips might not sound like much, but they will cut down on some of the wear and tear on your vehicle. You’ll save on fuel costs too!
Cost-Effective Lifestyle Change #3: Stock up on healthy foods
Rationale: That grocery trip you’re planning to take on foot or on your bicycle? Yes, please make a shopping list prior to stepping out for it. Stock up on healthy foods such as nuts, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, ingredients to whip up a homemade hummus/pesto/guacamole, whole-wheat penne, etc.
Avoid things like gum, chips, chocolates, juices, biscuits and sugary cereals. The foods which are kept at home are the foods you would reach out for when a hunger pang strikes (obviously). So, creating an environment conducive to healthy eating by only stocking up on healthy foods at home is an extremely wise idea.
Consuming unhealthy foods lowers your immunity, increases your chances of falling sick, so you would eventually have to make a trip to the doctor and/or buy some medications. Healthy foods have the exact opposite effect and are thus, even though it may not be clear, save you hundreds of dollars otherwise spent on doctors, hospitals, and medications.
Cost-Effective Lifestyle Change #4: Eat your breakfast at home on weekdays
Rationale: Say no to take-aways and to-go’s. Waking up a teensy bit earlier (20 minutes) won’t kill you. In fact, it would give your day a head start. Here are two images of what your morning could look like:
Image 1: Snoozing your alarm incessantly until you absolutely have to wake up, crawling out of bed, showering, dressing up, packing, leaving and picking up an enormous chocolate chip muffin and a venti black coffee (this is costing you a little under 7 USD 5 days/week) before you head to work. Feel a caffeine rush and a subsequent crash mid-morning, which leaves you irritated and snappy.
Image 2: Wake up even BEFORE your alarm has gone off, walk to the kitchen, play some peppy music as you prep your eggs and toast. Sit down with your meal and devour it as you look through the paper. Shower, get dressed, pack, step out, and wonder why you feel so pumped this morning. Realize that maybe it’s you not jolting your nervous system like you do every morning with a big coffee and you didn’t have a massive sugar rush from a big meal.
Which one would you rather be? Of course, everyone who claims to not be a morning person knows how this is easier said than done, but you owe it to yourself to at least try. If you need more bait, think about the money you’d save daily, and how you will be more alert and concentrate better at work.
This translates into more productivity, which will give you..no points for guessing.. a job promotion and perhaps even a raise Save money and earn some more. All this from a tiny breakfast switch. Worth a shot, we say.
Cost-Effective Lifestyle Change #5: Carry snacks and lunch to work
Rationale: As you go through the process of getting healthier, you learn that your compliance heavily depends on your ability to pre-plan meal logistics. A simple thing to do every morning before you step out is throw in an easy fruit (apple, pear, banana) into your office bag.
Then you can snack on it mid-afternoon when you’re hungry. If you don’t pack this, or some other healthy snack, chances are you will walk to the vending machine and grab an unhealthy one instead.
Again, paying money for an unhealthy snack that makes you feel like crap right after versus eating a cheap, healthy snack that makes you alert and more productive. Which one would you rather do?
Now, while you’re up and about making yourself breakfast and packing yourself a fruit, throw in your lunch as well 😉
If it’s easier, make a 10-day lunch menu (Monday through Friday for 2 weeks), take a print-out and put it up on your refrigerator so that you’re not waking up every morning and worrying about what to cook today.
If your meal requires some basic chopping and prepping, you could finish that the evening prior as well. A chicken roll, a vegetable sandwich, whole-wheat pasta are some wonderful options. Rationale stays the same-healthier, cheaper and, thus, better for your body and your bank account
Cost-Effective Lifestyle Change #6: Let there be light!
Rationale: When my apartment got revamped, my parents and my brother couldn’t stop talking and raving about their suave new purchase–blackout curtains! Basically, curtains would make it impossible for sunlight to reach your bedroom.
In fact, even if you need to take an afternoon nap, these babies can create an illusion of it being nighttime because they make the room so dark. Now isn’t that fancy? Unfortunately, though, by doing this, you’re seriously depriving yourself of Vitamin D.
So my suggestion is to open the curtains, let the sunlight enter, and save yourself the trouble of feeling depressed and the monetary cost of taking Vitamin D pills and/or shots. (Do check your vitamin levels with your doctor, though, as sunlight is not always a substantial source of Vitamin D).
Change #8: Pack a coffee from home
Rationale: I am going to level with you here. If you have woken up in the morning and prepped and eat your breakfast, pack your lunch and pack your mid-afternoon fruit, you’re already ahead of the game!
Of course, at the very least, you’ve earned yourself a coffee purchase before you step into work. But (and you could even wait for this to happen organically), consider making your coffee at home and carrying it along. It will save you money and, who knows, you will end up drinking less caffeine because you’ll be in control of the amount you pour.
Start slow, but make sure you start
Okay, if this seems like too many things at once; remember that you don’t have to make all the changes together. Take them one at a time and once you have confidently and successfully incorporated one change, move onto the next one.
So there you have it, simple changes that could dramatically transform your life. Don’t wait for an opportune moment to start. Start with doubt and uncertainty, but get started today!
Let us know about any other cost-effective healthy lifestyle habits you have, and how they save you money in the comment section below.