It’s easy in today’s busy, modern world to get caught in a rut of bad habits. From eating poorly to not getting enough exercise, sometimes daily routines don’t provide enough time to make good choices for our minds or bodies. What’s more, the perceived cost of healthy lifestyles can be a barrier; gyms require monthly membership fees and organic products take up the majority of paychecks. However, with the rise in organic food production, Consumer Reports suggests buying organic can be cheaper than conventional groceries. And people don’t need gym memberships to exercise their bodies! Living well and nourishing yourself can be affordable when you consider the following tricks.
Buy organic strategically. Higher prices on organic produce, grains, meat and dairy might scare you away from purchasing them. However, with some careful planning and creativity in the kitchen, anyone can afford to eat wholesome foods. Buy ingredients you can use for multiple meals and avoid specialty stores that charge more for organic labels. This might require shopping around to find the best deal, but since more and more stores offer organic products, the selection and pricing has improved over the years. For example, Kroger’s Simple Truth and Target’s Simply Balanced brands offer organic products for reasonable prices, plus you can use a site like Coupon Sherpa to track down Target coupons for additional savings. For more inspiration and tips, learn how Money Saving Mom feeds her family organic foods every week on just $100!
Drink plenty of water. Consuming water regularly is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body and costs little to nothing. Whether you prefer filtered water or drink it from the tap, always keep a reusable water bottle with you. Water filters help eliminate the need to buy bottled water, so invest in a good system that will keep you drinking throughout the day. Plus, opting for water over soft drinks and sugary fruit juices saves money when you go out to eat. If plain water bores you, try adding a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber (or all three!) to pep it up.
Care for your skin. Taking proper care of your outside is just as important as staying healthy on the inside. Protect and nourish your skin on a daily basis with good-quality moisturizers, cleansers and a protective sunscreen. Look for products that have natural or botanical ingredients and aren’t loaded with chemicals. There are a variety of affordable organic skincare brands, but if you really want to save, make your own products. Natural ingredients like lemons, lavender and oatmeal have been shown to have beneficial effects on skin, and are cost-effective ingredients. If you do want to invest in a professional product, wait for good sales or seek out coupons to save on your favorite brands.
Detox or cleanse your diet. Tweaking your diet and focusing more on whole foods with valuable nutrients is a smart move both financially and medically. At some point, everyone can benefit from a good cleanse or detox, but this doesn’t mean you have to pay premium for bottled programs. Cleaning out your system can be as easy as drinking lemon water every morning and giving up meat and heavy foods for a week. The benefits of a detox process include increased energy, better digestion and a healthier body.
Exercise. Before you make the assumption that exercising entails a pricey gym membership, consider how you can work out from home. There are a variety of free apps and Youtube videos that guide users through simple, 20 to 60 minute workouts every day. If you work in an office, take a daily 15-minute walk during your beak. In the summer, go on hikes or visit the park for free exercise and fresh air. Not only does exercising help keep you fit, it produces mood-enhancing endorphins that make you feel happier.
Take personal time. Staying healthy mentally is just as important as physical health. Between work, personal life, parenting and other responsibilities, life gets crazy! Escaping the chaos once in awhile is not just okay, it’s recommended. Plan a “staycation” in which you take time off from work but stay at home (with the kids at the sitter’s, of course). This might be a good time to declutter and improve your home environment. Or, look for an affordable weekend retreat or a day trip that you can do on your own to reconnect with yourself.
Try meditation. Sitting back and quieting the mind goes beyond the yoga studio. People who regularly meditate are less stressed, more focused, and often in better overall health. Get in the habit of practicing mindfulness either first thing in the morning or before sleep at night. You don’t have to put on new age music or have a fancy cushion to do it; just create a relaxing, quiet environment in which to practice. Not sure where to start? Try Calm, a meditation and sleeping aid app that helps guide you through practices.
Have an at-home spa moment (or day). Give yourself the spa treatment without the cost. A lot of the same luxuries you enjoy at a spa can be replicated in your own home. Set aside an afternoon or evening to treat your mind and body to a cleanse. Start with soothing music and your favorite drink, then soak in the bath for a bit. Make your own face or hair mask and light candles to set a calming mood. Cleanse and moisturize your skin or do a facial steam to open pores. You can even give yourself a manicure or pedicure, saving $30 to over $100! This beautification process not only helps you look and feel better, it allows you a few hours of uninterrupted personal time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.