Hey friends, thanks for stopping by to read 12 easy tips to say healthy on a budget!
Actually this is a follow up to a post I wrote a few years ago called 10 Easy Tips to Stay Healthy on a Budget. Since I wrote that post, we’ve all been dealing with Covid-19 and the after affects or lingering affects of the pandemic. We’re all suffering with higher prices everywhere we turn: the grocery store, the gas station, restaurants, and life’s basic necessities.
It’s getting tougher to stretch that dollar!
I think what most of us want is to have happy, healthy lives. We can find ways to do that without eating organic foods or following the latest fad diet or buying a monthly or annual pass to a gym.
Us low income workers have to make the right choices when it comes to housing, groceries, saving for retirement, hobbies, and general fitness when sometimes there’s not even enough money to cover basic bills. Factor in inflation and the pandemic and I knew it was time to update an old post. Of course, those original tips are still valid and some are included below, but I wanted to address more mental health issues. So here we have it. The new and improved: 12 easy tips to stay healthy on a budget.
1. Frozen Produce
Buy frozen fruit and vegetables. As a single I find that I often don’t eat the fresh produce I’ve bought before it goes bad. Who else has that problem? What a waste!
Most companies freeze fruits and vegetables at their prime ripeness, locking in their nutrients, often making frozen better than fresh.
Frozen produce is often cheaper than what’s currently being sold fresh in the stores. I especially like frozen sliced avocado and mango chunks. These are two things that I always seem to get bad ones when I buy them fresh. Buying frozen diced onions are a lifesaver. No more crying when peeling and chopping onions!
Make oatmeal your friend! It’s inexpensive, freezes well, and is heart healthy. I buy it in large bags and store them in the freezer.
My Black Lab, Chica (RIP) struggled with weight and ate oatmeal for breakfast and dinner.
3. Eat More Soup
Hot soup really fills you up. Whether you open a can or make soup from scratch, eat (drink?) more of it. When I’m grocery shopping I keep an eye out for crackers on sale, and even better if they’re low on calories and I can eat a whole lot of crackers for under 100 calories. Soup and crackers. Works well for either lunch or dinner. Check out my recipe for super easy Instant Pot vegetable barley soup. I also make this recipe in the crock pot. Even a pot on the stove top can make homemade soup, but you have to keep an eye on it for boiling over or burning.
4. Don’t Buy Food on Credit
It’s a mantra I live by: never buy food on credit. Unless I’m in another country where it’s easier to use the credit card and conserve cash. If I used a credit card for grocery shopping I’d probably fill my cart with ice cream, chips, cookies, and cake. Food I certainly don’t need to be overindulging in.
Too many times we look at purchasing anything on credit cards as “free money”. Until the bill comes in, that is. Once the food is eaten, it’s gone forever, but the credit card bill might take a long time to pay off.
Stay financially healthy by not running up the credit card debt. Worrying about finances and debt can cause other health issues.
5. Exercise for Free
We all know we should exercise. If you’re on a budget, you probably can’t afford a gym membership. Not unless you’re giving up something else in your life and making the gym a priority.
Reality check for most of us who don’t like to exercise. Paying for a gym membership is torture, whether or not we’re on a budget!
Let’s find free or cheap alternatives.
And when I say free, I’m assuming you have a computer with Internet and own a bike. Or can find a free or cheap bike on Craigslist. Most of us have a bike collecting dust in the shed. It’s time to wipe it down and remember why we love riding a bike! Walking. Hiking. Biking. Yoga. Pilates. You can find all these fitness videos on Youtube.
6. Get Outside
It doesn’t cost you anything to put on your sneakers, open the front door, and go for a walk around the neighborhood.
Smell the fresh air. Look at things you never notice when you’re driving. Take up geocaching!
7. Check Blood Pressure
I remember my father could never walk past a blood pressure machine without stopping to check. There are blood pressure machines in most drug stores that are free to use. You’ll also see blood pressure machines in other places. My father enjoyed a blood pressure machine in the lobby of a Waikiki Beach hotel!
Normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. The higher your blood pressure levels, the higher the possibility of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.
Every now and then my blood pressure shows a higher than normal rate. In February I was at the doctor’s office and my blood pressure was 140/80 which surprised me, because generally it’s lower than 120. Probably was a little high because I was anxious at being at the doctor’s. Blood pressure can rise up to 30 points in minutes.
I checked my blood pressure the next time I was at the drug store – and a few times since! – and I’m fine. I’m usually 113 to 117 over 70 to 73.
If this is a concern for you, see this article that’s a quick read about preventing high blood pressure.
Even if you’ve never given your blood pressure much thought, I urge you to check your vitals the next time you’re at a drug store and see a blood pressure monitor. If you’re higher than where you’d like your blood pressure to be, check it over the next couple of weeks. If it remains high, see a doctor. This can be controlled with medication.
8. Yoga for Anxiety
The day my blood pressure was a little high, it concerned me enough to look on YouTube for videos on yoga for anxiety. Generally I try to live a stress-free life and don’t have much anxiety.
I found a video on a channel called Yoga with Adrienne that is 14 minutes long. The first few minutes are about finding a seat. The rest of the video is breathing. Adrienne has a very soothing, calming voice. I felt more relaxed closing my eyes and listening to her. I often do this video after doing yoga for my love handles.
I tell everyone I have a black thumb!
My type of gardening tends to provide me with fresh fruit and vegetables. In the past I’ve had apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes, zucchini, grapes, and herbs.
Flowers and decorative plants are not really my thing, but when I was a home owner I definitely had to deal with them. Curb appeal. A tidy yard. I didn’t mind watering the plants but weeding and hoeing – yuck! Many people do find gardening a relaxing activity. It gets them outside and is exercise. For that reason I didn’t mind mowing the lawn. That was my exercise.
Many of us on low-income live in apartments or basement suites and don’t have the space for a garden. If you have a balcony or patio, there’s an opportunity to have a small garden that grows in pots. Or if you prefer larger scale gardening, check to see if there’s a community garden in your area where you can take care of a small patch of land.
10. Healthy Brain
Another thing I worry about is Alzheimer’s Disease. I know it’s not hereditary but my mother had Alzheimer’s. No one else in her family did, and I hope it doesn’t happen to me.
Keep your mind active. I read a lot. I’m not huge on crosswords, but occasionally I’ll do one online. Sometimes I watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy – and I’m not bad! I’ve even found online jigsaw puzzles I’ll do every now and then.
Wordle has become popular. I play it a few times a week. A new five letter word puzzle every day.
Check Meetup for groups that play card games. Not the kind that bet money on the outcome! Or a Meetup book club. There are many free ways to use your noggin. Keep yourself thinking and keep that brain active. Use it or lose it!
If you’d like to read my mother’s story as Alzheimer’s took over, I wrote a book called Recipes My Mother Forgot. If you click the link below, you’ll be taken to Amazon and if you make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
11. Be Preventable
Can you afford a sick day? Mentally, physically, and financially. You don’t get paid if you don’t work, so getting sick is no fun. Many times you can prevent or lessen your chance of being ill.
Wash your hands frequently. I’m always washing my hands, but then they get dirty a lot thanks to horses and dogs! This is basic hygiene after using the washroom or before preparing food.
I’m not fanatic about hand sanitizers but I keep one in the bathroom and one in the car for those just in case moments. And for sure since Covid hit, I’ve been keeping a couple of extras around too!
Use sunscreen if you’re heading outside on a sunny day. I use Olay face moisturizer with SPF 15 and use SPF 50 sunscreen for the rest of me. My father and his sisters constantly had sun spots removed by dermatologists. I’m very conscious about making sure I wear sunscreen.
BC does a series of “preventable” videos. https://www.preventable.ca/
Check them out. Not only do they pack a good reminder of making good choices, they’re kind of entertaining!
12. Self Care
Looking after yourself, body, soul, brain, and finances, is an important part of a happy and healthy lifestyle. The activities and routines that we regularly put into practice to maintain and enhance our health and well-being can be as easy and cheap as taking a walk, drawing, baking cookies, or reading a book.
And I get it. We have busy lives, families that need our time and attention, and a demanding job. Stressful things when you don’t have enough time in your day to do everything that needs to get done.
Take the time to give your body the food, rest and activities it needs. Self care will give you more energy and prevent burn out.
Take time to look after yourself and improve your quality of life!
Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on March 25, 2023.