20 Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget

Jen SmithFrugality, Personal Finance26 Comments

healthy lifestyle on a budget

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Still looking for ways to amp up your health routine this year? Follow these familiar tips and a few unique ones to inspire your healthy lifestyle on a budget.

1. Walk

A few extra steps today could be the start of lifelong, healthy journey. Walking in everyday situations like taking the back parking spot walking during lunch are easy. You can also walk the mall in bad weather (leave your credit card at home though) or the beach on vacation. It’s easy and can set the tone if you’re just starting a health routine.

2. Download an App

From workouts led by professional athletes to running from a zombie apocalypse, the number of free fitness apps is vast. You can find something for every skill level, apps tailored for women, those short on time, the outdoor enthusiast, and more.

3. Use Your Bodyweight

You don’t need a gym membership to tone up 3-6 minutes on each muscle group for an hour will suffice and you can easily do that with bodyweight. Modifications can be made to most exercise and easily searchable on the internet. You can even find schedules to help you plan your routine.

4. Make an at-Home Gym

If you do like the feel of a gym you can make one at home for pretty cheap. Start out with three sets of dumbbells in weights (like 5, 10, and 15lbs,) resistance bands, sliders, and a kettlebell. Don’t go overboard, you can get a ton of exercises out of one piece of equipment.

Also Read: Free & Cheap Ways to Workout for People who Hate the Gym

5. Watch Youtube

There are more than just cat videos on YouTube. Fitness professionals make a living posting free videos of HIIT, yoga, and Pilates for all skill levels.

6. Search Groupon

This site’s known for savings on restaurants and getaways but they also offer savings that benefit your health too! You can find discounts on teeth cleanings, chiropractic exams, massage, and fitness classes.

7. Drink Tea

Way cheaper than a latte, tea has health benefits that not only make it more budget friendly but health friendly too. Tea contains antioxidants, boosts your immune system, can help with sleep, and has a number of other health perks. Take that coffee!

8. Join a Recreation Club

Most cities have social running, biking, or walking clubs. These are more for socializing than competing so you’ll find every skill level. Check local running and biking stores or Meetup groups to see what’s available in your area.

Also Read: 10 Free Activities for Couples

9. Eat at Home

There’s no question that you consume more food and more calories at a restaurant then you do at home. Heck if I have the opportunity to not cook or do dishes I’m getting the most complex thing on the menu, not a salad. Plan your weekly menus to make eating at home easy and convenient while allowing yourself a “cheat” meal 2-3 times per month. Your waistline will thank you.

10. Plan and Meal Prep

The key to make eating at home affordable and convenient is planning. Deciding your meals ahead of time, sticking to your grocery list and prepping what you can beforehand will keep you from eating out after a long day.

Also Read: How to Start Meal Planning

11. Eat More Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein and extremely filling. Reheat egg cups for a quick breakfast or whipping up a hearty frittata for dinner is an inexpensive meal that packs a healthy punch.

12. Eat Your beans

The average for ground beef, the cheapest albeit most unhealthy choice in the meat family, is around $3 p/lb, Chicken averages at $3.41 p/lb. Dried beans and lentils come in at $1 per pound. And considering you get the same amount of protein in a cup of beans as a ½ burger that’s a lot of protein for a third of the price and way healthier.

13. Try Tofu

The same argument can be made for tofu, which costs an average of $2 per pound. It’s not my favorite protein substitute but it has far less cholesterol, fat, and fewer calories than meat.

14. Get Whole Grains

Including whole grains with your meal keeps you fuller longer. Replace the old refined white flour products with inexpensive whole grains like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat pasta.

15. Buy What’s in Season

I’m known for not looking at a fresh fruit or vegetable unless it’s on sale. Fresh produce offers you the highest nutritional content but isn’t always the most affordable. You can usually tell what’s in season by what’s on sale but find a Seasonality Chart online so you can plan your meals accordingly.

16. Buy Off Season Veggies Frozen

Everyone’s guilty of tossing a few vegetables because they went bad “too quickly.” Frozen veggies keep much longer and are more affordable when you want something that’s off-season. And they’re hands down healthier than their canned counterparts.

17. Shop at Ethnic Markets


Mexican and Indian rely heavily on low-cost ingredients in their cuisine. You don’t have to be eating international to shop at these hidden gems though. In addition to their native offerings, ethnic markets carry many items you’d find at traditional grocery stores at cheaper prices.

18. Leftovers for Lunch


Eating out for lunch every day, or even a few times a week can add up. Make enough for dinner that you can easily package it up for lunch the next day and avoid the temptation of going out.

19. Go to Farmer’s Market at the End of the Day

If you’re looking to save at a farmer’s market go at the end of the day. Vendors would rather discount their products to sell rather than load them back in the truck. You need to ask for it to get it but it’s much less crowded at the end of the day so negotiating is easier. You’ll get even deeper discounts for buying in bulk or going in bad weather. Some markets don’t allow end-of-day discounts so check your local market for details.

20. Meditate

Take time out of your day to sit and rest. Meditation reduces stress, anxiety, chronic pain, and boosts your immune system. There are quite a few free apps available to help guide beginners and Buddhas alike.

healthy lifestyle on a budget

26 Comments on “20 Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget”

    1. Thanks Beth! With so many new options it’s easy to forget the free ones that have always been around!

  1. Yessss! These are such great tips. Love the “use your bodyweight” one. People tend to not understand how great of a workout we can get with our own body weight!

    1. Right!? I can barely get myself off the ground much less do push ups and pull ups. Very humbling.

  2. These are really great tips for staying healthy! I buy my massages on groupon regularly! Also, if I want to try a new fitness class, I wait until theres a groupon for it!

  3. Thank you for these tips! Turns out that I’m already doing most of them.
    And workouts with dumbbells are my favorites! It’s like a gym at your own house. I watch youtube videos and blogs to find exercises.
    I’m eating at home and even if I know I will have to eat out, I take a meal with me. So I can not just eat healthier but save some money. And if you will make a meal by yourself, with a time you will become a chef cook. So you will make really tasty dishes…
    And I also plan my meals for a week so I can go to the shop two, not 5 times. Otherwise, I can buy something I don’t need to..

  4. Great tips! I love the free app MyFitnessPal – it really helps out when I’m serious about losing some weight.

    I also think a lot of people don’t realize that if they eat out kind of a lot – even if it’s grabbing cheap stuff – once you cut that junk out of your diet, it’s not really expensive to eat healthy. Your bill will go up a little if you want to pick up some “fancy” healthier foods, but overall, it will almost always still come out to less than you were spending on food before when it included a lot of takeout.

  5. Hey Jen, great ideas!

    I particularly like the one of preparing more for dinner so you don’t have to worry about lunch the next day. It’s very easy to follow since the only thing you have to do is to cook a little bit more!

    1. True, I know Youtube has a lot of free yoga and there are free yoga events via Meetup, etc. Thanks Michael!

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