Creating a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget

There seems to be an assumption among many that a healthy lifestyle is an expensive undertaking. True, going to SoulCycle classes multiple times a month, plus Pilates and yoga…that could add up to a small fortune very quickly. My husband would likely have a heart attack over our credit card statement if he didn’t take classes with me — because we enjoy doing something active together in the morning.

But as I take time away from a good-paying job in advertising to pursue my passion, and hit the books again, the reality that I will need to find less expensive alternatives to fulfill my fitness needs is looming. First world problems, you might say? And you would be right. At no point have I attended a Megaformer Pilates class and thought I was doing the world a great service. It does wonderful things for me and that’s about it. However, there are many other things I can do to reap the same benefits, and most of them are free.

On the food end, I have already found, and invested in, a good system of buying natural/organic products that’s simple and saves a lot of money. Did I mention, I dropped 10% of body fat from it while working long days and planning a wedding? Not looking for a pat on the back here, but do want to highlight that I understand how difficult it can be to play the part of professional plate spinner. Social media can only give you a small glimpse into the life people want you to see, and based on what I choose to share, my life looks pretty delicious green smoothie and abs all the time… but I’ll tell you, I’ve had weak moments on my path to getting to where I am. And I have them still! I just know how to better navigate away from them now than I did a year+ ago.

All of this is to say, you’re not alone, and it is possible to have a million and one things going on in your life, be on a budget, and succeed at health. It DOES takes committing to yourself and the goals you’ve set. And sometimes, just knowing you have permission is enough to take the first step.

Prioritizing your health is the greatest investment you will ever make. Here are some ways to save on that investment.

  1. Thrive Market (—this online health food store is a great option if you want to buy in bulk and save a lot in the process. I save about 33% on average buying pantry products from Thrive versus Whole Foods. From dehydrated fruit, to chia seeds, cacao powder, bone broth, coconut milk, cream and more, Thrive is where it’s at. A shipment I received yesterday had 12 products and was only $40. It will last me 2–3 months!
  2. Buy the largest size for products with a longer shelf life. For example, I buy the large size tin of vanilla whey protein powder by Whole Food’s 365 brand. It’s a little over $20 but lasts me over 2 months making smoothies for 2 people nearly every day! I save about $6 buying this way and have to purchase less often, so it’s a win-win.
  3. When in doubt, select the food with ingredients you can read, and aren’t labeled “low fat” or “diet.” If the ingredients are whole, real food, not passing themselves off as a gimmicky “diet,” you will save money in the long run. Most of the food I buy comes directly from the earth or an animal, which finds me eating less because I fill up on full-fat, nutrient-rich products, thus making them last longer. A cauliflower curry and coleslaw salad I made this week made appearances in 3 separate meals. The ingredients were maybe $10.
  4. Buy fresh produce and freeze it. I also buy most of my berries for smoothies from the freezer section (still buy organic!). They last a lot longer and also makes the consistency of smoothies thicker and more refreshing.
  5. Plan meals ahead and meal prep. I was never good at this until I wanted to eat healthier, and now meal prep is one of my favorite things! It’s nice spending an afternoon cooking everything you need for the week knowing it’s a). Done, and b). You saved a lot of money by making multiple meals with the same ingredients.
  6. Working out doesn’t have to cost money. As I embark on student life again, I will be making a lot less money than my ad/marketing career yielded for the foreseeable future. I’ll need to make sacrifices, cut back where I can, and put my heart into every step I take towards my new career goals. Hiking, running/walking at the beach, lifting weights at home — working out doesn’t have to cost money. But it does require commitment, like everything else. Set a reminder every day to dedicate 30 minutes of your day to doing something active. Try to work your way up to an hour over time if you can. Make your activities varied and fun! If you don’t like running, now is not the time to try to “make” yourself. You’re goal, after all, is to find a plan you can stick to — and actually look forward to. It makes all the difference. Here is a link to great hikes in Los Angeles you can check out this week:
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