Beginner’s Guide to Saving Money and Living Healthy
If you just decided to live a healthy lifestyle on a budget, you have come to the right place. At first, the idea about changing your lifestyle may seem expensive and challenging. It may conjure up images of spending hundreds of dollars at a trendy grocery store and handing your hard-earned money to your new fitness instructor.
There is nothing wrong with buying organic food at an expensive store or training with a fitness instructor. But when you are on a limited budget, you will have to make smart choices.
While you may not have time to read several posts in this website, this article gives a quick overview of how to save money and still eat and live healthy at the same time. We also provide a brief overview of how to save money on medical bills and health insurance policies. For additional information, you can just click on the links provided in this post or explore this website.
1. Eating Healthy on a Budget
The key to eating healthy on a budget is to shop local seasonal produce at your farmer’s market. Supermarkets and grocery stores mark up the price because they have to pay several employees on their payroll and pay for vegetables and fruits that come from halfway around the world. Yes, your vegetables and fruits are labeled organic but that does not mean shopping at the big name stores is the best option for your wallet.
Instead go to your local farmer’s market and ask a few questions about how the vegetable or fruit was grown. Soon you will find out that some of the farmers do not use pesticides and grow their vegetables organically. Note that the process of completing an organic certification is a costly process for farmers. So not all farmers can stamp the organic label on your favorite fruit.
By buying local, you will benefit from eating produce that grows in season. If you do not know what vegetables or fruits grow during each season, this post has some useful tips regarding seasonal produce.
Also, you can reduce your cost by buying organic only for the list of vegetables and fruits that have the highest pesticide load. These fruits and vegetables are called the dirty dozen. You will find more information about them in this link.
Finally, eating on a budget is different from eating healthy on a budget. Sure, you may be able to live on cheap Ramen noodles, canned food and dollar meals from your favorite fast food restaurant. However, eating unhealthy will make you more likely to get sick in the long run and you will end up spending more money.
If you do not know how to eat healthy, this post provides useful tips about eating healthy for beginners. If you can save even more money by eating healthy (compared to Ramen noodles and frozen food), why should you eat unhealthy food at all?
2) Save Money on Gym and Fitness
If your goal is to lose weight or stay in shape, handing a big chunk of your paycheck to your fitness instructor is not the only option. In fact, the best exercise for weight loss is walking and it is free! You can walk around the park or find an opportunity to walk during several times of the day. In fact, research shows that slow exercise such as walking is more effective in helping you lose weight.
Now you may be wondering about other work-outs such as strength training to build muscles. There are actually several affordable fitness alternatives to expensive fitness equipment. This article talks about several interesting ideas about your options if you do not want to spend much money. Here is another link with additional ideas about staying fit and healthy on a budget.
In this consumer-oriented economy, we are led to believe that you need to spend money to get any results. The reality is that you can get the same results (or sometimes even better) by using simple ideas listed in the linked posts.
3) Reduce Medical Costs (because doctors are expensive)
Despite following all the advice about eating healthy and exercising, you may still need to visit your doctor at some point of life. (If not, congratulations and consider yourself lucky.) You will still need to plan for medical emergencies. The first step is to get an affordable health insurance coverage. Be careful about buying the cheapest health insurance option because it may not pay for your medical bills when you need it. Here is a quick guide to learn more about health insurance if you are confused about how to pick one. If you are employed, you can also ask your HR department about the coverage and costs.
When you go to a doctor, you may be amazed to know that you can actually negotiate. Doctors can be really flexible especially if you do not have any health insurance. They may be able to come up with a payment plan and also reduce their fees. Always remember to ask the generic alternative for your prescription medicine. If a doctor recommends that you need a surgery, ask her if there is also a surgery-less option available to save money. If she recommends several expensive medical tests, try to shop around for various medical labs that offer the test to save money. Generally, if the doctor works at a medical facility that offers the lab test, the test is more likely to be expensive.
Or you may consider moving to a country where the health care cost is free and subsidized.
4) Plan for Long Term Medical Savings
If you live in the United States, opening a health savings account is the best way to build a savings account for future medical bills. Based on my experience and conversation with others, you still save money with health savings account even with a few doctor visits, medical tests and prescription medications.
Most companies provide insurance with health savings account as one of the options. Some of these companies even have matching contributions so that you can start saving right away. This is an excellent option if you are young and do not expect much in medical expenses.
You can also open a health savings account (HSA) if you are unemployed. You will need to contact your HSA administrator and then start filling out the paperwork.
For beginners, these tips will help you transition to a lifestyle where you can not only live healthy but also save money.
If you are an advanced health blogger and wondering tell me what I don’t know already, then we encourage you to write a guest post with your ideas. Or you may be thinking that the ideas mentioned above works in the US but not in your country. That will be another idea for a guest post as well. We will give full credit back to your website if the post provides useful information to the readers. If you do not want to write a post, you can still email us or leave a comment below.