I hear it all the time (and unfortunately, I live it too sometimes), “It costs too much to eat healthy all the time” and “gym memberships are so overpriced.” Yes, it does sometimes cost a little more to lead a healthier lifestyle, but it costs more in the long run to pay for an unhealthy lifestyle. Good news. There’s a ton of wiggle room between those two extremes. Here are my best tips for living a healthy life while staying on budget:

1. Cook at home from scratch: This one thing will probably make the biggest difference in your grocery budget. That same steak you would pay a high price for in a restaurant, you can throw on your grill at home for a fraction of the cost.


2. Plan ahead: Plan a menu for the week, get a list together and hit the grocery store just once, sticking to your list.

3. Plan meals around fruits and veggies in season: When something is in season the stores will have it in abundance, and it will usually be on sale.


4. Plant a garden: Even if you just have a few plants in a window, growing your own food cuts down on what you have to buy, and it doesn’t get fresher!

5. Join a CSA: A CSA or co-op is a great way to get produce on the cheap.


6. Use less meat:  Meat can get expensive very quickly. Meals like soups, tacos or casseroles can be made with just a little meat.

7. Exercise at home or outside: Why pay for the pricy gym membership when you can exercise at home or in the great outdoors? Find a new fun exercise DVD or hit a new trail for a run.


8. Buy in bulk: Stock up when you find a great deal on something you use regularly. Later on you won’t have to pay a higher price; you can rely on your stash until the prices go down again.

9. Enlist a friend: Being accountable to someone can accelerate results. Do you have a friend who is also trying to get healthy? Why not team up for some group motivation?


10. Use more beans: Beans are cheap, filling and very nutritious. Add beans to your meals just twice a week and see how much further your grocery dollars can stretch.

11. Brown bag it: When you bring your lunch from home you not only save money, but with a planned meal waiting you won’t be as tempted to give in to fast food french fry cravings when lunchtime hunger pangs hit.

12. Drink water: With other beverages you have to deal with questionable ingredients and a high price tag. Switching to water is better for your wallet and for your body.

woman eating packed lunch

How do you stay healthy without breaking the bank?