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Cheap Ways to be Healthy

By on May 19, 2011

Nobody has to tell you how hard it is to make a dollar stretch. Whether it’s insane gas prices or irritating increases at the grocery  store, it’s harder than ever to save a dime. Now suppose this was your year to get healthy as well, who could blame you for chucking that resolution under the circumstances? But before you surrender, get informed. Making healthy choices can help prevent disease and certainly does not have to bankrupt you. Here are five easy-breezy ways to stay healthy on the cheap!

Quit smoking.
Smoking is expensive, on average more than $5 per pack of smokes that add up to a lot when you commit to kicking the habit. We’re not even talking the long-term costs associated with chronic disease and other problems that can develop later. So whatever it takes, join a group, get a patch, buy some gum, but quit this year. You’ll be surprised how much you save. A pack-a-day smoker can save up to $1,800 in a year.

Need affordable health care?
Many programs are available through federally-funded and state sponsored programs that are free or low-cost. You must look for them in your community. They include some hospitals, health centers, public health departments, and clinics. Some programs focus only on a specific health issue or screening program. Also, the health reform law will give many Americans health care and services they may not have been able to afford in the past. Some benefits are already available and others will become available by 2014.

Get active.
Regular physical activity may help lower your risk for many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and osteoporosis. It also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; and reduces falls among older adults. Adults should be active for at least 2½ hours a week. So walk with your friend, walk the dog, clean the house, etc. Do something to get you moving.

Eat more beans instead of meat.
Use canned or dried beans in recipes instead of meat, which is more expensive. Beans are also a good source of protein and can literally shave up to 25% off a monthly grocery bill when you swap out meat for beans in traditional recipes like chili, soups, and Mexican dishes like burritos or tacos. Meatless Mondays anyone?

Buy the store brands – they are worth it.
Generic and store brands tend to cost less than name brands and have similar taste and nutrition. In fact, if you compare the generic brand to its name brand cousin, you’d be surprised how similar the ingredients often are and how much you can save. Think generic when it comes to condiments, cleaning supplies, and dry goods.

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