Making Healthy Choices for your Budget

This is a guest post from Sarah Greesonbach, who is a contributor at Suburban Finance

Have you ever signed up for an exercise program, gym membership, or subscription, only to find out months later you’ve squandered your money and time with no results to show for it? Maybe you’ve gone to the gym once or twice and then dropped the ball.

Welcome to the club; we’ve all done it with something, but fitness clubs and gym memberships are probably the most common. It doesn’t have to be that way. By incorporating simple habits into your daily life, you can get and stay healthy without the monthly fees. Here are some ideas on how to do so:

Multitask with things you have to do anyway

Do you love to watch TV, or do you spend a lot of time on the computer? Why not Health-i-fy these necessary habits and make that time count towards your healthy goals?

Does TV often win over exercise? Make a deal with your partner or roommate that you aren’t allowed to watch TV during certain hours unless you’re on the treadmill, doing yoga, or doing sit-ups.

Work from home? Use your Bluetooth on conference calls and do squats around your apartment, or, with particularly casual clients, while walking the neighborhood. It will likely help you focus on the conversation, too, if you’re far away from your pen and paper doodles or multi-tasking online tendencies.

Buy more vegetables

Cheaper than chips and popcorn, and a bajillion times healthier for you, using your grocery money to purchase fresh foods like carrots, celery, broccoli, and sweet potatoes will help you keep your costs down and also encourage you to snack healthier when you reach for something in the fridge.

Not only will having healthy options at home encourage you to eat them, but picking out a new vegetable to learn about and cook up will be a fun experiment. Try something you’ve never tried before, like fresh brussel sprouts, beets, or jicama.

These don’t have to be tasteless either. They can be much more appetizing than a bag of salty chips!

Switch out your personal maintenance products

“Getting healthy” also covers using natural products and soaps with as few chemicals as you can find. Your skin absorbs these chemicals. There are plenty of organic options out there. Start by trying out the “no-poo” fad, saving you monthly and yearly costs of shampoo and conditioner products.

Feeling up for a challenge? Try to find a natural oil to replace your styling products, like Jojoba or coconut, and see what kind of hairstyle you can come up with sans hairdryer or curlers.

The same goes for cleaning your home: switching to cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar cost can save you tons each year, and help you rid your home of unnecessary chemicals. Cleaning with chemicals can cause many side effects that you want to avoid.

Do you like grand, healthy gestures, or do small swaps work for you? What are your favorite tips?