Staying healthy and functioning at your physical peak is a long term goal filled with making your health a priority every single day.
For many, keeping in tip-top shape can be a struggle, especially if you are trying to stick to a strict budget. But, luckily, being healthy isn’t all about expensive gym memberships or organic pre-portioned delivered meal kits, it is possible to be healthy while also saving money.
If you are in a couple, it is much easier (and much more fun) to include your partner in on your goals of staying healthy while sticking to a budget. Plus, by doing things as a team, you are more likely to stick to them, and can help encourage each other on the days when you don’t want to work out or eat healthy.
Below, we will cover 9 ways that you can help keep you and your partner healthy, while also being thrifty.
- Plan out the weekly shopping list together
Everyone knows that it is less expensive to cook meals at home instead of getting take out or eating out regularly.
But, the next step to being healthy and frugal, is carefully planning out your weekly shopping list to make sure you are not making impulse buys or purchasing too many perishable items that will go bad before you can eat them.
Get your beau involved and make the weekly meal planning a fun group activity. Maybe you have been craving lasagna, and maybe your partner really wants to do taco Tuesday this week — add them both to the menu!
Make the weekly meal planning a fun way to make sure everyone is happy with the dinners (and leftovers) for the week, as this will help make it easier to avoid the temptations of picking up something less-healthy on the way home.
- Don’t shop hungry
Before you head to the store, do 2 things to be successful: strictly follow your shopping list you prepared from your weekly meal planning, and make sure you have a snack just before you head out.
Shopping when you are hungry is a recipe for a budget disaster, and it may be much harder to ignore those buy-one-get-one cookie sales when your stomach is growling.
- Focus on whole-food ingredients
When you are planning your grocery list, focus on the least processed ingredients to help keep everything healthier and cheaper.
For burritos, grab a bag of dried pinto beans to cook up instead of a few cans of pre-made refried beans which may be loaded with lard, sodium, and preservatives. Want vegetable soup? Pick up some broth, frozen veggies, and lentils to make up enough soup to last a whole week, and avoid those high sodium cans of soup. Like oatmeal for breakfast? You can get a month’s worth of rolled oats for a fraction of the cost and much less sugar than the pre-portioned packaged oatmeal.
You will save a few bucks, get healthier foods, and have a whole lot more leftover.
- Cook in bulk to keep healthy food on hand
Sure, cooking your meals at home is a lot healthier and can help save you money. But, not everyone wants to (or can) pop into the kitchen 3 times a day to whip something up.
When you do cook, make enough extra for 1-2 more meals for you and your family. This will help make packing up leftovers for lunches a breeze, or you can store the leftovers in the freezer for those nights when you just want to heat something up quickly. Oftentimes, doubling a recipe will only take a few minutes more to prepare (if any time at all), and you will ensure that you have healthy options on hand for the future.
- Get into cooking at home
One of the best ways to ensure that you cook at home more often than not, is to thoroughly enjoy cooking.
Once you see cooking as a fun activity where you can hone your chef skills and wow your friends and family, it will become something that you want to do and not just another chore.
To make this even more enjoyable, get into cooking together with your partner. You will both improve your cooking skills, while spending some time together, and making sure that you have healthy meals ready to eat.
- Do free workout tutorials together
Knowing how to choose and prepare healthy meals is a great start, but staying active is another big piece to the puzzle of staying healthy as a couple.
Gym memberships and personal trainers are great, but the costs for these workout splurges can add up.
The internet offers a wide range of workout tutorials to keep you active and entertained, often completely for free and with the use of minimal or no equipment required.
Make Sunday mornings pilates hour with your partner, or pick up a few weights and strength train before dinner for 15 minutes. By doing these workouts together with your partner, you can both reap the benefits of being healthier, and have an enjoyable activity to work on together.
- Download food and exercise tracking apps
If you aren’t into very structured workouts, but still want to stay active, download a free step-tracking app where you can make sure you are getting your steps in every day.
Go on the morning dog-walk as a couple, and then stroll around the neighborhood after dinner to easily get your steps in as a couple.
If you tend to go overboard on portion size, or worry that you may not be getting enough protein each day, free food tracking apps can help you interpret just what your body needs to stay healthy.
- Get health issues resolved early
Once you have the food and exercise all worked out, there are still a few more things you can do to ensure that you and your partner are in tip-top shape.
Even though a trip to the doctor may be costly for some people who have high co-pays or do not have insurance, oftentimes getting health issues checked out when they first pop up can be a great way to make sure they don’t become more serious (and more expensive) issues down the road.
If you or your partner is complaining about what seems like a minor skin issue, more hair loss than usual, or a lingering cough. It is always a good idea to get a medical opinion.
For certain health issues, you may even be able to utilize telemedicine platforms, where you can have an online consultation with a doctor to get the issue checked out. Oftentimes, the telemedicine visit itself is completely free, and the only cost to you is any medication that is prescribed. For some, this may end up being much cheaper than a trip to an in-person doctor, and you can rest easy knowing that you took care of that pesky health issue.
- Prioritize your sleep
Sleep is often the first part of a healthy lifestyle that gets thrown overboard when it comes to work deadlines or social obligations. But, the importance of getting your full 7-8 hours a night for your physical and mental health cannot be over-emphasized.
Try to not overload yourself, and learn how to politely turn down plans to make sure that you get the rest you need on a regular basis.
Plus, when you are sleep deprived, you may find it harder to resist the stop at that fast-food place, or skip out on your exercise routine out of exhaustion.
Keep a regular sleeping schedule as a couple, to ensure that you get enough shut-eye to stay happy and healthy, together.