Your priorities are clear—crush debt, save for retirement, and perhaps put aside some cash for your kids. Yet you have a nagging voice in your head that’s telling you to start doing more for your health. Understandable, given those Instagram photos of ripped bodies and delicious-looking healthy foods. However, living a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to take money away from your financial goals.
There are clear ways to get the most out of your investment in healthy living. This will result in a healthier you (fewer sick days off work, less money spent on hospital bills, and more energy to enjoy your family even as you grind hard). So if you're on a quest to live a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank, keep reading!
Get clear on your health and fitness goals
When you chose to push for your financial freedom, you got clear about what that would mean for your life. More money in your pocket, a retirement that’s filled with rich experiences, and children that are set up to have a better life than you had.
Defining what your health would look like in your new financially free life should be no different. You don’t want to wake up one day retired to find yourself dealing with lifestyle diseases. Those that take away from the post-retirement life you planned so carefully. . . diseases that you could have prevented by taking care of your health now. A great way to stay healthy is by working out, which you can do from the comfort of your own home with an online personal trainer. Skipping expensive gym memberships can save you a bundle of money, and you can still have excellent workouts to improve your health from home.
As you reflect on your vision of financial freedom to help you stay motivated, visualize how you want to feel. Extend the motivation you have toward earning, spending, and saving wisely to care for your health. And it all starts with living a healthy lifestyle.
Cheap workout gear is a must
If you let social media tell it, you need to wear the latest athleisure clothing to work out. But you don’t need $90 yoga pants or a $150 jacket to exercise consistently and get the results you’re after.
These expensive aspects of a healthy, active lifestyle journey are optional. An old t-shirt and a comfortable pair of leggings are the perfect attire for exercising that isn’t expensive.
Another path to save money on workout gear is to get a few quality pieces that you can rotate through for a long time. Like a good capsule wardrobe, a few high-quality basics will get the job done, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.
Save money on groceries while living a healthy lifestyle
You certainly don’t have to follow the latest, expensive health trends to get the vitality-giving benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. Your whole paycheck doesn’t have to go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to get these benefits.
Instead, a strategic plan for getting healthy food on the table will work wonders. Some of my favorite strategies include:
Buying non-perishables in bulk
Get them when they’re on sale if possible.
Be disciplined when buying specialty items
Matcha green tea is touted as a superfood, but regular old green tea will do the trick in a pinch, and it’s a lot cheaper.
Enjoy cheaper non-meat protein sources
Foods like beans, nuts, and tofu have less protein, but you get a two-for-one deal because they’re high in filling fiber, which will boost your digestive health.
Get fruits and veggies in season
Buy local where possible, as shipping costs are added directly into the cost of your produce.
Choose frozen fruits and veggies when you can
Frozen fruits and veggies provide you with the necessary nutrition, and you can get non-seasonal produce for cheaper.
Buy store brand packaged goods when you need to
Sometimes they’re just as good as the name brand options. Comparing the ingredient list and nutrition labels can help you choose what’s best.
These are a few strategies to help you start living a healthy lifestyle. As you start to see how much more energy you have (or even the pounds come off), you’ll be motivated to find more.
Simplify living a healthy lifestyle with meal prepping
One of the best ways to save money with your new healthy, active lifestyle is to prep your meals. Meal prepping is when you make your meals in advance, so you have yummy food to eat without cooking every day! This also prevents food waste because rather than ordering out and your food going bad, you already have it prepared.
The key to meal prepping is creating a monthly meal plan. When you plan your meals, you know exactly what you are eating on what days. This also saves time and the aggravation of trying to decide what to eat every night.
For example, your meal plan would include what you are having for dinner on what night. This keeps you from breaking your healthy eating habits and prevents you from busting your budget on take-out. Meal planning will help you simplify living a healthy lifestyle and save you big bucks!
Take advantage of your insurance benefits
Having the right health insurance plan can reduce the financial burden of healthcare. It can help you spend less money out of pocket, which means more money in your retirement accounts or to pay down debt.
But don’t just buy health insurance. Look into benefits like:
Options for an HSA (Health Savings Account)
An HSA is an account you can put pre-tax dollars into to pay for healthcare expenses. This can help reduce your tax burden and save money for future health costs, as it rolls over each year. There’s a cap on how much you can contribute each year, but not how much you can have in the account. This means you can save toward your health expenses if leaving your nine to five is one of your motivations for financial freedom.
Subsidized preventive care
Preventive care can help catch any health issues early and take care of them before they become full-blown health emergencies.
Get started living a healthy lifestyle
These are five strategies that can help you benefit from caring for your health even as you care for your wallet. So don’t use your financial goals as an excuse not to live a healthy lifestyle! Financial goals are a valid reason to put other areas of your life on hold, but ignoring your health could put a drain on your future earning potential and quality of life.
Stay motivated and focused on living a healthy lifestyle by listening to podcasts and reading blogs. Learning how to save on groceries, meal prep, and setting goals will help you achieve the healthy, active lifestyle you desire!