Fact: You don’t have to be loaded to live a healthy life. You just have to be savvy with your spending! One of the biggest stigmas around the wellness industry is that it costs a fortune if you really want to live well. Today, we’re sharing tips and life hacks that will enable you to eat healthy on a budget and get those endorphins pumping for little or no cost!
Commit to a weekly shop and be organised with your meals
Making a shopping list might sound super simple, but it could save you a lot of time, money and stress in the long run. How many times have you stopped for ‘a few bits’ on your way home and ended up spending £20 on things you don’t really need? It’s a struggle. This is where being organised at the beginning of the week will be your saving grace. A good way to do this is to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and plan the meals you want to have throughout the week. This might sound boring and time-consuming, but if you dust off those cookbooks you have barely touched and get some inspo it can be really fun and can help you be more creative with your cooking! Take a look at some of our favourite recipes here. Writing your shopping list like this will help minimize waste and is far more friendly on your wallet.
Feel you rely on the convenience of just grabbing something on the go? We feel you. If this is you, making a big batch of roasted vegetables with rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week/on Sunday means you can simply grab it from the fridge, or pack it up for a healthy lunch at work! A much healthier and cheaper alternative to ready meals or grabbing an overpriced salad at lunchtime. And it is true that practice makes perfect – commit to having packed lunch 3 times a week for one month, rather than swearing to never step foot in Pret again, and gradually build up to cutting out shop bought lunches and dinners unless there’s a special occasion.
Opt for frozen fruit and leafy greens!
Frozen foods often get a bad rap but frozen fruit and vegetables are actually one of the healthiest things you can pick up at the supermarket. This is because as soon as the fruit is picked it begins to lose its nutrient value, and because the fruit is usually frozen right after its harvested it retains all of its antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for a much longer period than fresh fruit. And with a much smaller price tag than fresh fruit, buying frozen is a simple way to save money and get your daily superfood hit! Throw frozen bananas, spinach and berries into smoothies for an amazing texture, stir into hot porridge as a compote, or (our personal favourite) dip straight into nut butter for a refreshing and healthy treat!
Think about being plant-based…
Becoming plant-based isn’t just amazing for the environment and your body, but also for your bank account! We believe that everything in moderation is key, and not everyone feels ready to be strictly plant-based or vegetarian. However, buying organic, free-range, organic meat and fish can add heavily to the weekly shop and eating a plant-based diet could really help save you some pennies. Worried about protein? Buying canned beans and chickpeas is a much more wallet-friendly way (about 30p per can!) to get your protein in and feel satisfied after your meals. Our tip is to mix your beans with grains such as buckwheat or quinoa to create a complete protein and feel fuller for longer! Bonus: canned legumes and dried grains have a super long shelf life, so no need to worry about sell-by dates! Cutting out meat doesn’t mean eating bland meals either, experiment with different spices to create amazing flavours in your vegetarian dishes – or take a look at some of our yummy plant-based recipes for inspo!
Change the way you exercise!
Sometimes it can seem like being in amazing shape requires a bulging bank account but staying fit and healthy doesn’t always have to come with a price tag. A lot of gym memberships, especially in London, can be very pricey and whilst joining a luxury gym with Aesop Shampoo is a lovely experience, you need to evaluate whether it really warrants the dent it makes in your bank balance. There are various gyms in the UK that offer a more basic gym experience, everything you need for a great workout minus the extras of fluffy towels and cold lemon water, for a fraction of the price.
If you are thinking of making this change, our first piece of advice would be to take advantage of the free trial session usually on offer before signing your life away. Visit your new gym when you have time to explore and try everything out at your own pace, it might also be a good idea to go at the same time that you usually would as this will indicate how busy it will be!
Some examples of budget-friendly gyms:
- £24.99 for central London and even less in outer London and other cities in the UK
PureGym – £15.99-£34.99 depending on location
You could even consider cutting the membership altogether…
Youtube and social media has revolutionised working out, and provided access to thousands of different workouts from the comfort of our living rooms. Whether it is HIIT, yoga, pilates or body weight circuits, there really is a workout video for whatever mood you are in. Some of our favourites are Shona Vertue, The Body Coach, Yoga with Adrienne and Pop Sugar Fitness. To get the most out of your at-home workouts consider investing in a few key pieces of workout equipment. A good quality yoga mat is the place to start, you don’t want to be slipping around or getting carpet burn when you work out (ouch!). We love the Kriya Veda Eco Travel Mat which is hypoallergenic, lightweight and foldable making it super easy to travel with. Want to take it up a notch? Kettlebells are great because they are so versatile and allow for a wider range of exercises than dumbbells. We would ideally suggest investing in one lower weight and one heavier so that you can push yourself and mix up your workouts. Good quality resistance bands are also an amazing addition to any home workout as they are low impact but great for focused toning of the muscles. It might seem like the cost of working out at home is mounting… but a one time purchase of a few essential items will mean you can wave goodbye to expensive classes and memberships for good!
We know, we know – you hear this all the time, but it is so true! Not only is walking so amazing for your overall wellbeing but it could save the average London commuter £135 a month – if that’s not motivation we don’t know what is! And yes, we are aware that it isn’t always possible to walk all the way to work, but even splitting your journey by partly walking and then jumping on the train or bus could cut your monthly travel expenses in half. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, getting in those 10,000 steps helps to burn fat, boost your mood, improve your sleep quality and build stronger bones. To make sure you really see the benefits, walk briskly to raise your heart rate as you go!
If you enjoyed our tips on how to be healthy on a budget check out the other posts in our Budget Series!
words by Lucy Edgerley