How to stay healthy when you’re on a budget   

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A balanced diet, being physically active and getting good quality sleep are essential for staying healthy and protecting your wellbeing. The rising cost of living can sometimes make it seem challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t worry! We have some tips to help you stay healthy without straining your budget.

Scope out the cheapest place to buy groceries 

As the cost of food and groceries continues to rise, it pays to do your research and find the best deals before you go to the shops. 

 Create a shopping list and compare prices on certain items ahead of time by looking at catalogues or online stores. This will also show you which supermarkets have weekly specials or special promotions.   

 When comparing products, be sure to check the unit pricing (e.g. cost per 100g) on the price tag, rather than the displayed price. This is the best way to compare product sizes and different brands and know which offer the best value.  

Plan your meals ahead of time 

Man looks in fridge while woman writes a shopping list on the kitchen counter

Planning and preparing healthy meals for the week is not only great for your health, but also your bank account. By dedicating time to write a meal plan, you can make use of ingredients already in your fridge or cupboard.  

Try out our family meal planner to start your planning today.  

A shopping list is a great way to stick to your budget, ensure nothing gets forgotten, and avoid making impulse purchases. It also allows you think about how many fruits and vegetables you are buying to incorporate into your meals.   

 For more tips, see our blog on how to make budget-friendly healthy meals

Create budget-friendly balanced meals 

Man cooks in his kitchen

There are many ways to get all 5 food groups into your diet whilst staying on budget.  

  • Consider frozen or canned fruit and vegetables, as these still have high nutrients and are often more affordable (Tip: they are also great for smoothies or meals like stir fries or fried rice).   
  • Swap ingredients in a recipe with in-season fruit and veggies. These often taste better and cost less. Consider freezing them to lock in nutritional value and use later once they go out of season.  
  • Buy fruit and vegetables from the odd and imperfect range. These are more affordable and reduce food waste.  
  • Buy food items in bulk where possible. For example, lean meat sold in bulk is often better value and can be frozen for later if you’re not ready to use it (Tip: date mark your meat before freezing it).  
  • Cook larger portions to help save time and money. Having leftovers in the fridge, or freezing some portions, is great for those days when you are feeling tired or short on time.  

Stay fit without breaking the bank 

Healthy living is not just about what we eat, but how much we move as well. Physical activity can have better health benefits when paired with healthy eating as it gives us the energy to perform at our best. Physical activity is also known to release Endorphins and Serotonin, the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain which help improve our mood and our mental wellbeing

 There are plenty of cost-effective ways to move our bodies everyday including:  

  • Walking  
  • Running  
  • Hiking  
  • Bodyweight exercises(Tip: see our at-home workouts that require minimal or no equipment) 
Woman does an at-home workout holding two small weights

Get a good night’s sleep 

Good quality sleep is an important part to recharging our bodies and feeling refreshed and energised the next day. To promote good sleep, try and stick to a consistent sleep schedule and avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.  

Engage in wind-down activities that avoid screen time, such as: 

  • Reading a book 
  • Meditation or stretching 
  • Painting, knitting, or other crafting hobbies 
  • Doing a jigsaw puzzle 
Asian man does a jigsaw puzzle at the dining table

Don’t neglect your mental wellbeing 

Financial stress can take its toll on your physical health and mental wellbeing. Learning how to manage stress is key to protecting your health. Effective strategies might include: 

  • Meditation 
  • Practicing deep breathing 
  • Going for a walk 
  • Connecting with nature 
  • Connecting with others 

If you’re on a tight budget, it’s important to still make time for the things that bring you joy. Engaging in your interests and hobbies can offer some mental relief from other stressors in your life and stimulate your brain in different ways.  

Depending on your interests, you might need to think creatively on how to do them on a budget. Here are a few ideas:  

  • Borrow books, CDs or movies from the library  
  • Follow a workout on YouTube or our workout page  
  • Host a games night with friends 
  • Go thrift shopping with a friend 
  • Join a free run club or walking group in your area 
  • Volunteer for a local community group or community garden 
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