Healthy living on a budget? IS there such a thing? There seems to be several reasons that people can’t or won’t follow a healthy program. Money is one of them. Obviously we all get stuck in our “old ways” and resist change. I understand that money is a concern for most people and this is somewhat about choices and priorities as much as it is about money itself. What do you spend your money on? I can tell you one thing. Everywhere I go places like Applebees, Burger King, McDonald’s, Steak and Shake, etc are all crammed to the gills. Fast food joints and restaurants alike. This is every single day. Is that food cheap? Not at all, but we get it because it is convenient and tastes good. What about grocery stores? It pains me to say but 90% of what is in grocery stores is junk food. This is the food most of us buy every day as FOOD! So what is the point here? We waste a boatload of money on junk and then end up paying a ton for medications, doctors visits, and insurance premiums not to mention the decline in quality of life. So what can we realistically do? Supplements are expensive. I cannot change your paycheck. I can’t change your mind. I can give you a few good tips on how to live healthy on a budget. Keep in mind that these steps are not always easy and some require a lot of “work.”
1. Limit junk-food, snacks, fast food, and eating out at restaurants. This step alone will save you gobs of money. Eating out is expensive. This also includes food we buy in grocery stores that doesn’t vibe with our health. Drinks especially come to mind. Soda pop, pasteurized milk, pasteurized juices, etc. Just switching your family over to “spring water” is drastically better for you and your wallet. I believe we pay 20-25$ per month for good quality water here.
2. Make and EAT your supplements. This one borders on the convenience factor. It really is hard to discuss budgeting without also talking about convenience. Most GOOD “supplements” out there are usually just bottled foods and herbs that got turned into powder and exponentially increased in price. Of course somebody had to concoct and bottle everything for us instead. Things like “probiotics” can usually be supplemented with “fermented foods,” which are very easy and inexpensive to make. Focus on super-foods to make sure you are getting everything you require. Some will argue that it is impossible to get all your nutrients from food these days. I’m not sure I agree with that. There are a few exceptions to this rule and in certain circumstances we may require supplementation to see us through until we get well again.
3. Make your own herbal medicines and remedies. This follows the same guidelines as tip number two. Most supplements that are worth anything are going to have natural substances in them. These usually include herbs and other ingredients. There are several reputable companies online that offer high-quality, freshly dried herbs. You will save a boatload on this stuff if you just set aside a little time and create your own stuff. Also remember the everyday stuff in the kitchen. Things like garlic, kitchen herbs, etc.
4. Buy in bulk. This is something that does wonders for the budget and for convenience. Buying in bulk when you can is often a great way to shop. Usually there are big discounts for doing it this way. Now assuming we are eating high-quality food; there are certain things that we need to routinely shop for. However, there are also things that we can stock up on. This helps you be prepared for any emergency as well as not having to go shop all the time. Foods that you can purchase in bulk would include: Most oils (olive, coconut, coconut butter, etc), raw nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, etc), quality meats, eggs, etc. Bottle certain foods and keep stocked on them. Things like fermented vegetables, olives, and other miscellaneous items. I don’t believe grains and beans are the best thing for people to be eating regularly but these may be stocked up on as well. Canned wild-caught fish are also a good choice. I will get into this a bit more in the convenience section but keeping your pantry clear for these items is a good idea. Another great idea is to keep a “chest freezer” around and then buy large amounts of meat a few times a year. Buy half a lamb, a dozen organic chickens, maybe 20 pounds of wild-caught salmon fillets. That way you are stocked up and won’t have to worry about running out.
5. Focus on the “freebies.” What are the freebies? Ironically, they are usually the things that help our health the most. They are what I call the basics. Make sure your breathing fresh air all day. Make sure you are sleeping enough at night and giving yourself personal time. Focus on your spiritual health. Some of these things you just can’t “buy.” Loving relationships with yourself and your family are of utmost importance. This includes resolving any conflicts we may have with each other. If your job or location are causing you to neglect any of these factors then maybe it is time for a change.
6. Visit farmers markets. These treasures are usually great for finding high-quality local food. Definitely large varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables. Usually there are good animal products there as well. The cool thing here? Most of it is cheaper than the supermarket. It is fresher as well. A lot of them are held on weekends and are fun to visit.
7. Grow your own. This is an advanced (or not so advanced) topic. I won’t pretend to know a ton about this subject but I know that many people grow their own food and save boatloads. There is more than saving money to growing food. You nurture and watch something grow. You learn a lot about how life and nature work. What do you get in the end? About the freshest food you can find at a super price. If you want to really take it to the next level, you can house chickens and other farm animals to help produce your family and community’s needs.
These are some simple tips that most people can use to save money when trying to implement a healthy diet and lifestyle. Of course a lot of these may require changing our mindsets and schedules, or working on things that are uncomfortable. They save money in the long run. Let’s start putting good in and getting good out =)