Dollars & Sense

getting healthy on a budget

Getting Healthy & Joining a Gym on a Budget

It’s that special time of year where everyone resolves to do achieve a goal or to try something new. For many people, they vow that, beginning with the new year, they will become healthier than ever before. Many people decide join a gym or a fitness class, while others commit to eating more greens. But how do you go about actually achieving these goals – especially if you are on a tight budget? We have some ideas on ways to make your resolutions come true.

Do your research

It’s okay to admit that you probably spend a lot of time on social media. We understand. And we think you should put it to work for you! Ask your friends about their favorite way to get healthy, and look up reviews of some of your local gyms or health centers.

Start with small goals

You may have big plans for the year, but you’re actually more likely to be successful at getting healthier if you set smaller goals to help you get to your big goal. If you want your veggies to cover half your plate, try adding them to your dinner twice a week, and then four times a week, and work up from there. Starting too big too soon will just lead to frustration.

Get creative

Joining a gym can be pricey, but there is good news – you don’t have to join a gym to exercise. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood, or swimming at a local pool, or biking through a park. If it’s raining outside, look up some videos on yoga or dance routines. Invite a friend to join you so you’ll enjoy your exercise more and keep each other accountable in the process.

Know your options

If using a gym seems like a better fit for you, great! Many gyms will allow you to pay per class instead of purchasing a monthly membership, or will give you a free trial period to make sure the facility is a good fit for you. Taking advantage of these options will be easier on your wallet and allow you to experience a range of classes and equipment at the gym.

Make a plan

A popular phrase you may hear is “failure to plan is a plan to fail.” It may be a cliché, but it’s also true. Decide not only what your goals are, but how you will accomplish them. Write it down in a journal, email it to yourself, or text it to a friend who can help you stay accountable. Or maybe do all three if you’re really forgetful.

Grocery shop online

Several grocery stores chains have started offering an online grocery shopping experience, where you select what you want from the store’s website, arrive at the store at a designated time, and relax while a store employee loads the groceries into your car. This is not only a great way to keep an eye on your budget, but it also saves you from impulse-buying the discounted candy in the seasonal aisle on a whim.

Open that Pinterest app

Again, it’s pretty likely that you have a Pinterest account set up already. And if you don’t, we highly recommend it. Why? Because Pinterest is home to dozens of new recipes that can be tailored to both your budget and your health goals. Search for your favorite recipes and enjoy the dozens of results that come pouring in.

Substitute healthy choices

Have you ever tried spaghetti with veggie noodles? Do you think a turkey burger could be delicious (provided you have enough cheese, of course)? Look for ways you can swap out the less healthier parts of your menu with some lighter, better substitutes. Zoodles might not be your favorite thing, but you won’t know until you try! This is another instance where asking your friends for their favorite healthy meals could be very helpful.

Tell the world

Okay, you don’t have to tell the whole world about your fitness goals. But you should consider telling a friend or a group of people about what you hope to accomplish with your help. They will become a great resource for you to rely on when that birthday cake at the office is just too tempting. And they will be the ones to celebrate with you when you reach your final goal!

Ask an expert

If you are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of a health overhaul for your life, we get it. Consider reaching out to your primary care provider and asking him or her what they would recommend to help you become the healthiest version of yourself. They will be able to provide you with expert advice, and since you probably haven’t gone in for a yearly physical in at least three years, this is a great chance to make sure you don’t have any underlying health concerns that will affect your fitness goals.

Getting healthy won’t happen overnight. But if you start with some small steps, like these, you can start your journey to a healthy year.