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Let’s face it: living healthy can be expensive. Supermarkets usually charge you a premium for organic produce, making it a tough decision to forego your regular groceries or canned goods. In many cases, it’s easy to save money by just sticking to those cheap junk foods your family loves so much. Most gym memberships can be pricey as well. It doesn’t have to be that way! If you’re looking to get in shape and eat better, and many people are these days, here are five ways you can get healthy today without blowing your budget.
1. Join a CSA
If you want to start eating healthier without spending a fortune, you should consider joining a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program in your area. CSAs, sometimes called farm shares, are systems where a farmer sells directly to consumers, usually via a weekly delivery or pickup. Many CSAs charge a single upfront fee at the beginning of the season, and then provide their products for the rest of the year. If you opt to use a CSA, you’ll often just have a single payment to make for months’ worth of produce, poultry, and meats, which will make managing your budget easier. Additionally, if you choose a certified organic producer for your CSA, you’ll be able to eat healthier, too.
2. Shop the Farmer’s Market
There are thousands of farmer’s markets across America, many in large cities. Chances are strong that there’s a market near where you live, and you should start shopping there as soon as possible. Most farmer’s markets offer locally produced vegetables, poultry, meats, preserved foods, and other items. The goods offered at these markets are often certified organic as well. Thousands of vendors at farmer’s markets across the country are also set up to support Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, and many states offer additional subsidies to senior citizens and those with modest incomes, ensuring as many people as possible can take advantage.
3. Grow Your Own
If you want to control the quality of the food your family consumes, one of the best ways to do it is by raising it yourself. If you have a backyard, plant a garden of your favorite vegetables and perhaps a few fruit trees or berry bushes. This will allow you to put otherwise unused space you’ve already paid for to work producing delicious, healthy food. If you live in an apartment or otherwise don’t have any space for a garden, no worries; many large urban areas have garden share spaces where you can tend to your own garden plot and raise your food downtown! Raising your own produce may lead you to get more adventurous by purchasing a few backyard hens. Chickens are extremely inexpensive to raise, and many varieties are prolific layers of delicious, nutritious eggs, too.
4. Buy a Bike
If you want to get healthy and save money while you’re at it, one of the best investments you can make is a good bicycle. A sturdy bike can help you get around town to run your errands, and it can save you a ton of gas, maintenance, and insurance while you’re at it. Better yet, moderate bike riding will help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular endurance. You can get accessories for bikes too, such as racks or even trailers, which will let you accomplish key errands, perhaps even your weekly trip to the supermarket. Foregoing that car for a bicycle can definitely save you serious cash, and it’ll help get you in the best shape of your life while you’re at it.
5. Exercise on the Cheap
Bicycles aren’t the only way to get fit on a budget. Plenty of fitness activities exist that are either free or cost next to nothing. For example, it’s free to run or walk on the roads and trails around where you live. Get a pair of running shoes and some workout clothes and you can exercise whenever you like. Many communities also have fitness trails, with things such as pull-up and sit-up stations along the route that let you get a full body workout while you’re running. It’s also not hard to find a pickup game of soccer, basketball, or Frisbee at your local park. Find a game to jump into and you’ll surely get fit; you may even make some new friends in the process.
Get Fit, Stay Fit, and Save Money While You Do it!
Getting yourself in good shape doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can eat well, exercise, and live your best, healthiest life, even on a modest budget. If money worries are keeping you from eating better or starting a new workout routine, consider these tips, and start living healthier today!