Fitness is on the minds of many Americans. In 2018, almost 50 percent of Americans were trying to lose some weight, according to statistics by the Centers For Disease Control’s National Center For Health. If you take a glance at any supermarket aisle or social media platform, you will notice that the healthy eating and fitness trend continues to stand strong. As the nation pursues health and fitness, we ask the question: what is the cost attached? Much has been said and published on how better finances can impact your overall health, but how can we budget sensibly for getting healthy, even when our finances fluctuate?
Getting Fit Can Save You Money – And Cost You Some
Many publications and institutions recommend investing in your health now to save later. The Journal of American Heart Association estimates that getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week can end up saving you over $2,500 in healthcare costs annually. When it comes to the amount you are investing, you can expect to see a bump in spending in many areas from your diet and food spend to your recreational spend. Gym memberships and classes require a monthly or annual subscription, while additional supplements will further increase your fitness regime total in the budget. Fresh fruits and vegetables tend to carry a higher price tag than their processed counterparts, which means you are likely to see an elevated grocery spend.
The key to being successful when budgeting for your fitness is by being aware of your habits, both financially and physically. Treat your exercise as you would any other bill when working out your monthly budget. As commonly recommended when looking to save, look to your budget for ways to cut back, starting with your exercise. Keep a journal of not just your expenditures but the health spends such as supplements, healthy take-out meals or food bills. From there you can gauge exactly how much getting fit is adding to your budget, and more importantly, how you can reduce it if needed – for example, by meal prepping instead of using meal subscriptions.
Take Advantage Of Free Or Low Priced Exercise
Get creative with your exercise routine and head outdoors instead. If you’re looking for variety, try working out with any of the multiple free workout videos available online that can be done in the comfort of your own home. In the warmer seasons, take advantage of free activities and support offered around your community, such as walking clubs in your neighborhood or discounted community boot camps. This is very helpful for seniors pursuing great health after their careers on a reduced retirement income. Alternatively, there are small pieces of at-home gym equipment that require a small one-off investment but can be reused in many exercises, such as kettlebells and resistance bands. Taking steps like will reduce the cost needed to get and stay healthy, easing the pressure on your finances.
Don’t Just Shop Healthy, Shop Smart
Once you have gotten your exercise and activity spend under control, it’s time to focus on your diet. While healthy, farm fresh foods can be more expensive than processed foods, there are several tricks you can use when shopping to make your money (and vegetables) go further. The first one is to go shopping with a healthy meal plan. Americans waste over 150,000 tonnes of food each day, and a significant factor influencing this is proper meal planning. We often head to the store with no idea of what we intend to cook, and end up buying random ingredients. Another popular mistake is repeat buying: buying more of an item that we happen to have in the refrigerator because we neglected to look before heading to the supermarket.
Make Meal Prep Your Friend
Buying in bulk can sometimes net you great discounts, and by cooking and freezing extra portions, you can not only reduce the temptation to stray from your diet, but also become quite cost-effective in the kitchen. It makes meal times much easier for those busy days, and can prove to be much more budget friendly than ordering take out or some meal subscription plans.
Getting healthy does not happen overnight. It is a process that takes time, commitment and to some extent, financial navigation, but it is completely possible. More importantly, it is a process that produces benefits of value that far exceeds the costs for the rest of your life.
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