I try to buy fruits and veggies at a reasonable price. I do not buy organic. I do not go to a gym. Gyms are great if you need one for motivation. I don't. I have a treadmill and some weights and I run. Where I live, gym memberships are about $40 a month. Also, I buy fitness wear at a discount. Instead of compression shorts and pants at $50 a pop, I found a site that had closeout versions of an off brand at $6.99 each. They work for me. Also, I do not eat out as often now. That is saving a lot of money.
current weight: 255.0
Fitness Minutes: (12,828) Posts: 10,476 9/13/10 1:18 P
All sounds like good advise. I buy healthy foods on sale, even when they are close to expiration date and they want it off the shelves, such as meat, you can either freeze it for a later date or use it right away. Make extra so you can freeze it as well, like soups, stews, and chili. Farmers markets are great place for fresh veggies and fruit and decent prices.
I don't belong to a gym, way to expensive. I walk to a few Leslie Sansone dvds that I bought at decent prices as well and same with a piece of equipment I bought through HSN ( a Tony Little piece) that is like working with gym equipment-resistance training. I love it and it is portable and came with a dvd as well. So basically they have paid off for themselves at this point.
I am hoping now that the bf will be moving to the area this weekend, we can cook for each other and learn to eat new foods...for me it will be fish. I am not a fish fan, but would be willing to give it a try. This way, I know foods won't go to waste either. I am not a big fan of left overs and I hate cooking for just one person.
In terms of cooking on the fly or for larger families, I think back to when I cooked while in a relationship or further back, when I was in high school and both parents worked.
Stews, soups and casseroles are great when cooking on the fly especially with slow cookers. Put it on and leave, it'll be ready when you get home. Even when I was at my poorest I could make a nutritional soup. I purchased the cheapest cuts of meat I could find (as stew meat is not always cheap), buy veggies on sale that were almost rotten and back then, I'd either use a ketchup base or toss in boullion, whatever I found cheaper. The alternate to meat is beans and barley - both are reasonable cost and often can find in bulk. If I had a little extra cash I'd toss in pasta. The only thing I didn't skimp on was spices, as that'll bring out the flavour even if you have to skimp on the veggies and meat. There are good recipes all over the place for soup and when you are tired of soup, add some thickner and you have stew.
Casseroles can be anything. They can be fish, meat, vegetable - whatever you can afford and want. There are many casserole recipes. I usually threw together whatever I had in the house, then splurged for cheese that I grated on top. If I couldn't get cheese, then I'd crumble up old bread soaked with a bit of milk and seasoning, put on top.
When I could still eat salads, I loved making shrimp salad or chicken salad and those can be made ahead. It's just watching when stuff goes on sale, grabbing it. Little bit of romaine lettuce, whatever veggies you want to toss in and for shrimp, lemon juice and chicken, whatever you want. Often we made a soy based vingerette. We even made salads with moose meat, it was good.
Stir-fry is another inexpensive and tasty way to cook. It's also quick. If you want, you can prep up the meat and veggies ahead of time and toss in the fridge. If you do, I'd suggest tossing the meat with a bit of sauce to saute and toss vegetable spice on the vegetables to add flavour. Stir-fry is fast and healthy - depends whether you add sauce (like my girlfriend loved doing) or leave it plain with spices (as I tend to do).
Another cheap healthy and quick meal is pasta sauce and pasta. You can make up the pasta sauce ahead of time and freeze. Then when you don't want to cook, just put on a pot, toss in pasta and thaw out the sauce. I add vegetables to my sauce but if you don't, toss up a salad or plain veggies to the side.
I get the costs as I used to be dirt poor and now, I'm not dirt poor but I do live pay cheque by pay cheque. It is tough but what I suggest is using your imagination. It's amazing what you can create when you look at what you can afford and go "okay, how will this make into a nice meal."
Do the same with exercise. Put on music and dance while cleaning the house. Borrow DVDs from the library for exercise. Talk with neighbours and friends about starting a walking club. Go to the local playground and play. There's lots to do, just sometimes we get wrapped up in that it needs to cost money to make it good.
I made sure I gave myself extra time to pack my breakfast and lunch today. I find that sometimes I am in such a hurry that I fail to do that, then I get to work and end up wasting money on food. (And it's usually NOT healthy food!) And honestly, I don't know why I am in such a hurry; a few extra minutes won't hurt anything, and it will save money!
I don't think it is easy anywhere. We have parks for walking which is great. Food is a problem. at least my kids ar grown now when I was trying to feed 4 kids it was whatever was the cheapest. They didn't get great eating habits from that. But I am trying now. Work it just too much to cook from scratch every night. And DH can only cook the simplest meals. Ah enough complaining from me... The best we can is all we can do.
I agree with Sassi_Spring - walking is GREAT! And you can do it anywhere. I also do some of the SP exercise videos at home, as well as some of the strength training ones that use just your own body weight, no other items.
I, too, am frustrated that healthy food costs less than junk. I try to stick with buying organic only for the "dirty dozen", and regular for the rest. Sales are always good! I also try to make more vegetarian meals, with plenty of grains, legumes & veggies. And don't forget water - the healthiest drink around! Even with using a filter it's less expensive than anything else.
Oh and forgot to add, look into a YM/YWCA. When I lived in the city I volunteered at the local Y and in turn, I received hour credits that I put towards exercise classes. See if there is anything like that available in your area.
I live in northern BC, so food costs are high and organic isn't always an option - either not available or way too high to afford. I don't have gym membership for two reasons. Like you I can't afford it, here it's around $125 per month and there simply isn't much offered to rationalize the costs. The second reason is that I hate they moved women to the basement as it's dark and crowded. I won't go upstairs because of the jocks.
So like you I work at maintaining a budget and being healthy. I hit sales when I can, when it comes to food...not always possible but I do the best I can. You are in NYC, is there fresh markets that you can hit as usually those are better prices than grocery stores. If I lived down south I'd always buy at the fresh markets - there are 2 in my bff's area and both have great produce and fruit. Sure you have to buy in season but that's okay. Makes it all that much more tastier when it comes out. Plus there are bags of cut up mixed veggies for stir-frys, which I always get when I'm down there to make dinner for her and the boys.
I walk, that's my form of exercise. Walking is free. I hope one day our stupid town builds a pool as I'll definitely buy a membership. If it's expensive, then I'll just figure out where I can cut back and make it happen.
In NYC when there is bad weather hit a local mall and walk. Many malls in Vancouver area and I noticed the same over in Edmonton Alberta, they have how many miles (kms) certain paths are to walk and they even have walking groups in the mall. All that is free. See if there is something similar in your area.
I rarely eat out because of the expense and now with HST (added tax), it's really jumped. Save up coins for those times you want to eat out and that way it's more special and doesn't actually cost you directly.
The piece that I find frustrating is food - how junk is cheaper than healthy and how usually sales promote buying in bulk which isn't always an option (space might be limited, living single etc). Still it can be done, even if it's frustrating and difficult at times.
I don't do this often but coupons are another way to save on costs. I get coupons from save.ca but there are many out there for the USA.
It's really no different to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a budget than it is to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle - it's all in what you make to be your priority and make it happen.
It is hard to maintain a budget living anywhere . New York is worse though then living in a small town in the middle west . california is just as bad as new york . no advice just use all of your food . even the left overs can be made into another meal that is not just reheated same old same old .
Out of curiosity, how do you all maintain a healthy lifestyle and still stay on budget? I find that it's extremely difficult to do, especially in NYC. For now, I cancelled my gym membership ($75/month) and although I still buy organic, I limit myself to eating out a couple times a month.
Would love to hear some other tips on living a healthy life style and still save money.
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