Here's How to Get Fit on a Budget
Whenever I hear someone wanting to get fit, they always complain about how expensive healthy foods are. With all of the "superfoods" that are peddled on Instagram that are artisanal specialties that are exclusively sourced, it's hard to compete with that.
Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to cash your whole paycheck either. Sticking to budget-friendly groceries means you can buy great sources of nutrition without having to donate a kidney.
Related - Build a Better Body On $7 Per Day
We're going to go over some budget-friendly shopping habits that can help you spread your money further and I will throw in some tips I've picked up after losing 120 pounds twice.
Getting Fit on a Budget
When it comes to getting more bang for your buck, there are a few things you can do.
Planning your meals out in advance is nice because you can buy foods you will consume that week. Instead of just buying everything in the grocery store to restock your kitchen, you are only buying what you are going to eat.
My mother had a thing where if the refrigerator wasn't full, we had a problem. I would have to throw out countless pieces of food that never got eaten... and I hated it.
As you get better with planning your meals out, you can start coming up with ways to use a protein in different ways. For example, some ground beef could be used to make taco meat and brown rice, a hamburger patty, or you could make a nice baked potato topped with ground beef.
As you get more experience cooking, you'll be able to plan out chicken enchiladas and then later on in the week have some chicken and rice without getting tired of eating chicken.
Since you've planned your meals, leftovers won't be a thing.
In a world that used to tell us to not talk to strangers, paying someone to send me some food online just seemed sketchy. After trying many different places, I now only get my produce from Imperfect Produce, which helps sell overstock and as the name states, "imperfect produce."
You can also buy meal kits both pre-cooked and ones you have to prepare, and they are all fun.
Subscription boxes helped me get started on my journey — I took it over from there.
Buy in Bulk
Buying items in bulk can save on price per unit. There are a lot of bulk foods that you can buy to refill a jar for everyday use.
Buying in bulk works great for grains, nuts, and seeds. If you take a walk around your grocery store, you could find the section that charges less due to lack of packaging.
I used to buy the boil in bag brown rice and it would be around $3. I bought the same amount of long grain brown rice for $0.88.
These small changes add in quickly.
Try Generic Brands
Trying generic brands of your favorite foods may be able to chunk off quite a bit on your grocery bill. While there are a few foods that I'd rather eat the brand I like over the generic, most of the generics are exactly the same or better.
Many grocery stores, including Walmart, have their own product lines — some even have organic product lines.
See how they stack up price wise and if they are cheaper, check them out.
Here's some of the foods I pick up regularly from my grocery. They aren't in any order, but here are some budget-friendly foods that pack a nutritional punch.
- Frozen veggies and fruits
- Canned tomatoes
- Cottage cheese
- Canned beans
- Ground meat
- Herbs and spices
- Root veggies
- Seasonal fresh produce
I regularly eat bananas and other fruits from Imperfect Produce, I use cottage cheese as an easy snack or part of a meal, and I usually purchase 60 eggs at a time for $2.75.
Being able to combine these budget foods in with more expensive foods make an overall cheaper meal. For example, you could buy a nice piece of salmon and make some brown rice and a veggie or two of your choice for cheap.
People will think you are eating a $40 meal but you will have maybe $8 invested.
Tips to Save More
Now that you have a budget-friendly list of foods, here's how to save a little more on everything else.
Check the Coupon Policy
I'm not big on coupons, but whenever you can load up digital or other coupons to use, do it. You can easily rack up savings by clipping a few coupons.
Check with the store to see their coupon policy — some places stack coupons, accept coupons from other places, or will price match a cheaper place.
Don't Forget Loyalty Programs
While one store may not be the cheapest overall, they may offer a decent loyalty program.
For example, I can get increments of $0.10 off a gallon of gas after spending so much at the store.
Watch for Clearance Items
Ask a manager when your store marks clearance items. You can easily find 50% off deals during markdown, especially meat.
Save on Meat
Pretty much every grocery store I've been to has an area of short sale meat. This simply means they need to sell the meat soon, otherwise, it could spoil.
There's nothing wrong with this meat, they just need to sell it. This is where you can save some cash.
Find when your store puts out short sale meat — you'll be able to 25, 50, or even 75%+ on meat. The only thing you'll need to do is either cook it or freeze it after you buy it.
Wrapping It Up
When you stop and look at how expensive calories are at a fast food restaurant versus eating fresh foods, there's going to be a difference. They use cheap fillers and other preservatives to keep the food lasting longer.
It's cheap quality meat, cheap quality vegetables, and it's just cheap. But your body pays the price.
Spending a few hours and a few extra dollars planning, buying, and preparing your meals will help you get fit on a budget.