These days saving money as well as living healthier seem to be popular topics of conversation. It's the savvy consumer who can both save money and live healthier in the process. Here are 10 ways that you can trim your budget and your waistline at the same time.
Walk or Ride Your Bike to Work
There's no need for a gym membership if you learn to build exercise into your normal activities, and walking or riding your bike to work will not only get you healthier, it'll save you money as well. With gas nearing or topping the $4 per gallon level, it makes sense to invest in a good pair of walking shoes or to get your bike tuned up.
Carpool or Use Public Transit
Carpooling to work or to school saves you gas money and it helps contribute to the overall cleanliness of the air in your city. If there's no one to pool with consider using public transit. A monthly bus or train pass saves you money and with many of these modes of transport operating on electric tracks, you cut down on the use of fossil fuel consumption as well.
Buy From a Local Fruit Stand
Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet will help you maintain your good health and save money if you can find the local stand that has the best deals. In small towns, local farmers often sell their extra wares in roadside stands that they can't sell to stores. While this produce often lacks the uniform size and shape that many of the same pieces intended for the store do, they taste the same and are cheaper.
Make Your Own Snacks
If you're a fan of trail or popcorn, avoid the packaged stuff and instead make your own. You can buy the ingredients in bulk and then prepare them yourself. These are not only healthier, but buying in bulk saves plenty of money.
Recipe for popcorn on the stove
Plan Your Shopping
It's no accident that the candy, pop, magazines and batteries are often near the cash registers. Stores boost their sales by encouraging you to succumb to impulse purchases. Make a list up ahead of time and stick to it. You'll avoid the temptation of the sugary treats at the register and save your wallet from some unnecessary purchases.
Make Exercise Your Outing
While going to the movies or shopping may constitute the average family's outing, the addition of activities like hiking or paddle boating to the mix help keep you healthy and saves money. While it costs some to rent the boats, these establishments often have discount days and hiking is always a cheap way to go. Both get your lungs to working and get you outside and enjoying the scenery.
Can't afford the Disney vacation, because it's too expensive? That's OK. If you live near a forested area, camping and fishing can become a favorite weekend (or week long) getaway. These trips cost less than the average packaged vacation and most of the time provide you with plenty of exercise, which boosts your good health.
Plant a Garden
Planting a garden not only encourages you to save money by growing your own food, but it also counts as great exercise. The process of digging, bending, watering and other garden-related activities keep you moving and the harvest at the end fills your freezer and canning jars with goodies that will last the winter. Getting your produce this way costs you a fraction of what you would pay by buying fresh fruits and vegetables from the market.
Don't Eat Out as Often
Going to restaurants is a treat for many with some people now substituting eating out for cooking in as a regular way of life instead of the treat it used to be. Cooking for yourself not only allows you to watch your calories—something you often can't do in a local restaurant where foods are notoriously calorie-laden, but also it saves you money. Eating out costs more money overall than just making something at home.
Pack Your Lunch
Putting together your own lunch saves you the expense of eating out in a restaurant and allows you to make some healthier food choices in the process. With the refinements in plastic ware and insulated lunchboxes, you can pack almost anything for lunch so you won't feel deprived. You'll also feel healthier and you won't be spending as much money.
Saving money and living healthier don't have to be mutually exclusive. There are plenty of activities that you can do that allow you to do both. The key to making these work is to plan ahead. This requires a change of habit, but your body and your wallet will be happier because of it.
Tom Demers writes for Del-Immune V®, immune boosters created to naturally strengthen your immune system.