43 Ways to Live Healthier for Less Money

Times are tough, money is tight, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up your healthy lifestyle. Sure, eating organic food can be more costly, and working out with a personal trainer ain’t cheap—but there are easy steps you can take that will shave hundreds or even thousands of dollars off your monthly expenses.

From free home-gym equipment to discount prescription drugs, cheaper medical procedures, and health insurance that pays you back, the opportunities to save money on healthy living are plentiful. Here’s how to take advantage of them today.

Eat organic (cheaply)
Buy organically grown: You don’t need certified organic, just organically grown. Some farmers use organic farming practices but have chosen not to become certified organic because of the added red tape and expenses. This means you can often buy organic fruits and veggies from these farmers for around 50 percent less than what the certified farmers charge.

Plan around your protein: Look for sales on free-range or naturally-raised meats and buy them first, says nutrition educator Amanda Louden of Gold River, California, who writes EatYourRoots.org. You’ll save twice: You will get your protein on sale and be able to better plan (and buy less) to fill out your meals.

Be super-choosy: You don’t need to buy organic when fruits and veggies have a protective layer that you don’t eat (like bananas and watermelon) or when they’re unlikely to have been sprayed heavily with pesticides (like blueberries and kiwi). Check out this chart for guidance:

Do Buy Organic Don’t Buy Organic
Apples Asparagus
Celery Bananas
Grapes Blueberries
Lettuce Broccoli
Peaches Cauliflower
Strawberries Kiwi
Potatoes Onions
Tomatoes Watermelon

These are not your mother’s coupons
Here’s the modern way to cut costs with coupons: Sign up for a service that sends you exactly what you need—from discounts on healthy frozen entrées ($2 off five Lean Cuisine meals at Target, for example) to organic, gluten-free, or all-natural foods—for a small handling fee. Try TheCouponClippers.com or TheCouponMaster.com.

Shopping for a new piece of exercise equip­ment? Google the item you’re interested in and search for coupon codes issued by the manufacturer or the retailer you intend to buy from. Yes, even your high-end elliptical trainer may have a coupon or discount! You can often shave off 10 to 20% with a single promotional code—or at least get free shipping.

Skip eating out
Cooking a meal at home that serves four to six people will cost as little as $7 to prepare, compared with the average restaurant meal, which is $40.78 per person in New York City. That’s if you’re a smart shopper and buy a month’s worth of groceries at a time, says Nanci Slagle, author of The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet. For meal-plan ideas, visit 30DayGourmet.com.

Waste not
Embarrassed by how much past-its-prime food you toss each week? That waste can add up to hundreds of dollars a year! Cut your losses by using the Reynolds Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealer ($9.99 for starter kit; retailers nationwide), which preps meats, fruits, and vegetables for long-term freezer storage. Simply defrost the frozen ingredients when you’re ready to use them. Or stock up on EvriFresh sachet disks ($3.99): They neutralize the food-spoiling ethylene gas that produce releases in the fridge as it ripens.

When to buy big
If you have a freezer buy good-for-you grass-fed meat straight from the farm; use a site like EatWild.com to find local farms.

“You can buy a quarter, half, or even a whole cow for an average of $5 to $6 per pound—far less than what you would pay for naturally-raised meat at the grocery store,” nutritionist Amanda Louden says.

When to buy small
Any time you clip a coupon use it to buy the smallest size allowed in the coupon restrictions—and you’ll save even more! How does that work? A buck off of a 10-ounce, $2 box of rice, for instance, provides more savings (you pay $1 for 10 ounces) than a buck off of a 20-ounce, $4 box of rice (you pay $3 for 20 ounces, a whole $1 more).

Continue Reading over at living.health.com

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