4 Tips for a Healthy and Frugal in 2019

You may assume that a healthy lifestyle is also an expensive one, but it’s actually quite easy to nourish yourself well on a budget. It just takes planning.

So you’ve decided that 2019 is the year you finally behave like a grownup. No more living on ramen noodles and drive-thru. This year you’re going to eat real food that you prepare yourself. We’re talking fresh produce, whole grains, the works.

But, you’ve also made a commitment to gain control of your finances. Spending all your money on beer and pizza is fine when you’re in college. When you’re gainfully employed, it’s just sad. This year you’re going to budget like a boss.

Here’s your dilemma though. How are you going to be healthy and smart with your money. Isn’t it expensive to eat like an adult? Actually, no. Healthy and frugal can co-hab just fine, all you need are a few pointers to get started.

Frugal vs. Cheap

The first thing to understand is that there’s a difference between frugal and cheap. Frugal means you’re smart with your money. You prioritize saving over instant gratification. You’ll shop at second hand stores, buy off-brand food products and only drink alcohol at home.

Living within your means is a good thing, but being cheap doesn’t serve any purpose. If you never leave a tip when you eat out and calculate your part of a group bill down to the cent, you may be taking penny pinching too far.

Healthy on a Budget

People always assume that living a healthy lifestyle is an expensive exercise. Shopping at high-end health food stores will definitely break the bank, but you can just as easily be healthy on a budget. You just need a proper plan.

1. Get Smart About Grocery Shopping

frugal and healthy

The first thing you need to do is learn to shop smart. Helpfully, the guys at Nerdwallet have put together a comprehensive list of ways to save money on groceries. Their advice starts before you even set foot in the store.

Avoid doubling up on perishables by checking what’s in the fridge before you leave the house. This will ensure less wastage. Once at the store, opt for generic or store brands, as they’re invariably cheaper than well-known labels.

If you tend to frequent the same store, join their loyalty program, if they have one. Finally, pay attention to when things go on special. You’ll often find that fresh produce that’s still on the shelves will be marked down when they restock. These items are usually still within their expiration date and perfectly fine to eat.

2. Buy Organic, It’s Often Cheaper Than You Think

frugal and healthy

When we switched to organic produce recently, we discovered it to be much the same as conventionally grown fruit and veg, from a price standpoint. When we order the weekly pre-packed box selection, it’s often less expensive.

We live in South Africa, so I’m not sure how prices compare elsewhere in the world. It’s definitely worth checking out, though. You’re sure to find at least some more affordable produce at the farmer’s market.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the short-term expense of buying organic will offset the long-term health implications of eating food laden with pesticides. If you’re in a position to spend a little extra, this is an area to splurge.

3. Plan Your Meals & Brown Bag Your Lunch

frugal and healthy

Throwing away food that’s gone off and buying lunch at work are two unnecessary expenses that you can easily avoid. Planning your meals ahead will save you money and time, and it’ll help you avoid decision fatigue.

Instead of wondering what to make for dinner, you just take a look at your meal plan and make that. These vegan meal prep ideas will make life even easier. Set aside a weekend morning or afternoon and make your lunch for the next week.

Preparing food in bulk means less chance of wastage and helps you avoid empty fridge syndrome, which we all know is an excuse for ordering expensive and unhealthy takeout. From a health perspective, making your own food from scratch means you have more control over what goes into it.

4. Grow Your Own Herbs and Veggies

frugal and healthy

Growing your own fresh herbs and vegetables is a great way to save money and be healthy. It’s also better for the environment, because you don’t need to use pesticides, and there’s no additional plastic packaging required, either.

Even if all you have available is a sunny windowsill in your apartment, you can still grow some herbs. A balcony opens your options even further. With the extra space for bigger pots or window boxes, you could try your hand at growing tomatoes and lettuce or even green beans.

Sprouting is even easier. Sprouted seeds, grains and legumes are packed full of nutrients and don’t require much in the way of equipment. Even if you’re not blessed with green thumbs, you’ll still be able to grow some delicious sandwich fillers and salad toppings.

As you get better at it, you’ll find that frugal, healthy eating is more of a fun adventure than a challenge. Junk food will quickly lose its appeal as your culinary repertoire grows along with your bank balance. Best of all, you’ll feel amazing.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

37 comments

Vincent T
Vincent T27 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Mia B
Melisa B2 months ago

tyfs

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Hannah A
Hannah A2 months ago

thank you

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric3 months ago

tks for sharing

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Maria P
Martha P3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Elinor Dorrian
Elinor Dorrian3 months ago

Great article! But the title is missing a noun. Or it has an extra 'in'.

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Gino C
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you

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Shae Lee
Shae Lee3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S3 months ago

Thanks.

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