There are so many health and fitness fads that have taken the world by storm in the last few decades that it’s hard to keep up! We all know there is always some new craze everyone is talking about whether it is a diet plan or new super food. One thing that not many people may realize is that being healthy is expensive. That is, if you’re not doing it right. I’m guilty of buying into fads, spending too much on supplements and over-doing it on fresh fruits and veggies. Here are 5 lessons I have learned from the fitness trenches that will help you scale back your spending and still see healthy results.
*This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission on recommendations but all opinions are my own.
Save on supplements (or skip them altogether)
There are two things not a lot of people tell you in the fitness industry:
- You don’t need supplements to be healthy.
- A lot of protein shakes are created equal.
When it comes to purchasing supplements and shakes, here are some of the best ways to avoid breaking the bank.
How to avoid overspending:
- Do your research before you buy – check the Better Business Bureau, read online reviews, and look deep into the ingredients. You can even reach out to a doctor or health expert to get another opinion.
- Don’t make a snap purchase – Don’t just scoop up the latest diet shakes on an impulse. Delay your purchase by a month! Yeah, I really think a month is necessary. If you still feel in a month like you need this product, then you’ve at least given yourself time to save up.
- Add up total costs – Chances are if you are buying a new shake or supplement, it’s something you’re going to need to continue to purchase month after month for lasting results. Make sure you add up the total costs of your decision before you jump in head first.
- Purchase smaller – I was thrilled when I ordered from Brandless the first time and found that they had a wide variety of vitamins and supplements. You get a smaller portion than you may find in the stores, but everything is only $3! Get $6 off your order.
Avoid superfood fads
Another one I’m totally guilty of! You may remember reading about how I used to blow $500 in one week’s worth of grocery shopping. The main struggle was superfoods! I wanted them all. I loved learning about all the health benefits offered through healthy seeds, syrups, and veggies. No wonder I thought being healthy is expensive. All these wonderful superfoods cost a ton of money!
How to avoid overspending:
- Don’t buy in bulk – Yes, Costco has chia seeds, coconut oil, coconut water, ground flax seeds and quinoa in bulk. Superfoods like these ones last a long time and don’t require massive amounts. Save yourself the money by purchasing these in smaller portions at your local store or at Brandless.com.
- Use what you’ve got – Is your cupboard still packed full from your last superfood splurge? If you didn’t work through the last shopping spree, don’t start digging into new ones!
- Try one at a time – Like most things in life, one step at a time is usually better than trying to run the entire staircase at full sprint. If you just read about 3 new awesome things to add to your morning smoothie, pick one that fits the best and test it out. You probably shouldn’t be adding them all at the same time anyway if you still want a good tasting smoothie!
- 10 Serious Downfalls of a Healthy Lifestyle
- Home Gym. 5 Equipment Options for Any Size Home
- Minimalist Approach to Weight Loss. 10 Things You Can Stop Doing Today.
- Lose the Pooch. Gym-Free Way to Flatted Your Tummy
Meal plan to save
You know how they say, “Don’t shop on an empty stomach?” While that is totally true, it’s also crucial not to shop without a plan and a limited amount of spending money! Before you step foot in the store, it’s so much wiser to go in with a game plan. This way you can make the most of the food you have at home, avoid over-spending and avoiding wandering the grocery aisles for hours on end.
Not great at meal planning?
How to avoid over-spending:
- Check your cupboards before you shop – I always plan my next shopping trip off of what I already have available at home. If we have lots of noodles leftover, I plan for some pasta sauce. When there are oats still available, I know I can make waffles and don’t need to plan for other breakfast foods.
- Make a list – Once you have scanned the cupboard, make a list of all the foods you know you want to buy and stick to it! You can also get a game plan down with what rebates you have available!
- Bring what you budgeted for – Another one of my biggest money saving tips is to bring cash that you budgeted for! When you have no other options, you definitely keep better track of what you toss in the cart.
- Add while you go – I like doing this with my kids. I give one of them a calculator and have them add up our expenses as we go. This keeps them engaged (so they aren’t screaming at each other) they get a math lesson and Mama stays on a budget!
I am an avid gym-goer; I have been ever since Tom and I met over 10 years ago. BUT…are you? Be honest with yourself when it comes to your gym membership. Having a goal to lose weight or get in shape is great but if you are already feeling over-committed in other areas of your life, a gym membership may not be for you. In fact, sometimes just good ‘ol fashioned outdoor exercise is the best way to go! Tom and I went hiking on our 10 year anniversary/vow renewal and I found myself feeling totally refreshed. There is something soul changing about being outdoors and you can get a workout in while you do it!
How to avoid over-spending:
- Write out your schedule – Seriously. Before you jump on the gym membership bandwagon, make sure you actually have time in your schedule. People always say, “MAKE TIME!” But that can be easier said than done. We can make time for anything really, but it may end up costing us our sanity.
- Write out your priorities – Bet you saw this one coming! Is buffing up your body at the gym something that is at the top of your priorities list or is there different places you want to spend your time and energy? As a minimalist, this is literally the way I think about everything. It’s the whole foundation of my Minimalist Diet concept.
- Decide if it’s right for you – Before you throw away time, energy and funds on an expensive gym membership make sure you consider the alternatives. At home workouts, taking an evening walk, taking the stairs… any small way that you can make healthier changes to get you toward your goal is a step in the right direction and can help you avoid the cost of the gym.
- Skipping the Gym and All the Benefits
- 18 Practical Ways to Downsize and Simplify
- Downsize Your Schedule – Like a Minimalist Boss
- Start a Home Gym for Less than the Cost of a 1 Month Gym Membership
Changing your diet
Yeah, this one sounds weird, but hear me out. Because these diet fads just keep coming at us, often times it’s hard to pick one to stick with. You want to try paleo so you buy all the new flours and throw out all cheese.
Then you decide maybe keto is the way to go which requires new flours and boat-loads of cheese. So you head back to the store and stock up.
Trust me, I went through a month or so span of stomach troubles and I couldn’t stop myself long enough to actually let one way of eating take hold. I was in stress over-load trying to cure all of my problems without actually letting any of the potential diet solutions stick.
How to avoid over-spending:
- Research and decide –If you are hoping to find a specific result with one particular diet, research them all. Read the books (not just the internet,) seek out a physician and do your best to decide what is best for you, your body and your budget.
- Stick with it – Whatever you choose to stick with it for a month or two. See how your body handles and processes everything. Pay attention to anything that might feel wrong and adjust accordingly.
Fads that will save you money
Never fear! There are still healthy food fads that might wind up saving you money!
- Meal prepping – More and more people are catching on to the magic of meal prep. Not only does it save time throughout the week, but it helps people avoid buying take out on their lunch break when they already have a healthy home-cooked meal available. It can also be beneficial to make ingredients last longer.
- If you are terrible with meal planning, especially healthy meal planning, check out the $5 Meal Plan created by a busy mother of 4 to help you stay on budget and still be healthy!
- Fasting – Fasting is a new craze that I didn’t want any part of. I’m an eater by nature and fasting just sounded like pure torture. Then I did a little more research on intermittent fasting. That basically means, I still eat, but I only eat for 8 hours out of each day. That usually means breakfast at 10 am and dinner before 6 pm. With intermittent fasting I have: lost weight, had fewer stomach troubles, been more mindful with eating and wound up eating less. Because I haven’t been snacking as much throughout the day, our groceries seem to last way longer!
- Don’t eat before bed – If you’re not fully on board with fasting, try just not eating before bed. This isn’t even really a “fad,” it should just be a way of life. Give your tummy a break and avoid 7 additional meals/snacks throughout the week!
- Spend time outdoors – When you’re really wanting to shed pounds and start feeling better, there is no better way to do it than the great outdoors. Fresh air, sunlight, and exercise are perfect recipes for happiness. Plus, maybe it will shave off your gym cost. I know a lot of people from our gym do this through the summer months and I have debated it myself. Some gyms will only charge a monthly “holding fee” while you take a break.