As I’m getting older and experiencing more health issues, I’m realizing I really need to do more to invest in my health. Much of it is a time investment. I need to carve out more time to be active, plan healthy meals and get enough sleep. But bettering my health will also take a financial investment. For example, I’d like to purchase some workout equipment for home. (I’m not a big fan of joining a gym.) I’m also thinking about increasing my contributions to my health savings account, because health care expenses are really starting to add up. I’m curious — what are some ways that you all are investing in your health? Any tips for staying healthy on a budget?
Hey Nicole, here’s how I currently invest in my health:
Maximizing my contributions to HSA each year. I really like using HSA because you can use it for a lot of health-related things: COVID tests, buying protection, etc.
Going to the gym 3x a week, getting 30-40 minutes of walk on every weekday, and getting ~20k steps on weekends.
On weekdays, eat a healthy diet more skewed towards higher carbs and almost no saturated fat at all (I tried keto before but my body is very sensitive to fats as far as LDL goes). On weekends, I pick a day where I’m OK eating a lot of fatty but tasty foods. And on the other weekend day, I eat lighter in fat but can still cheat in terms of calories.
Luckily, we have a gym downstairs in this apartment complex for free. If you don’t want to join a gym, consider buying TRX and/or resistance ropes for a cheap way to get fit. You can also purchase kettlebells/dumbbells and that’ll go a long way as well, but it’s more expensive (metal is heavy to ship).
Terrific question Nicole. I actually contribute to an HSA as well. Although I’m not contributing the maximum amount like Angie P. I work out at least 3 to 5 times a week and i’m currently working on getting a life insurance policy outside of the one I have through my job. I also am finding the benefits of intermittent fasting to be awesome. I have a serious sweet tooth. So i’m really studying the way I feel when I eat certain things and the effects that sugar has on my body. Investing my health includes mediation, practicing mindfulness, walking, and running. The older I get, the more i see the importance of movement and removing certain types of foods from my diet and using moderation with others. I want to live a long healthy satisfying life!
Hi Nicole, this is such an important question. I had put my health on the back burner for years as I built my business, thinking it was something I could push off into the future. As a result, I went through some health challenges earlier this year and almost lost my business. So ignoring your health in the pursuit of money is not an option in my opinion.
You can do it for a while, and that rare person with perfect genes (who never works out or worries what they eat) might get away with it, but for most of us, it catches up. And all the money in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t have your health. Our bodies are our most important assets.
I’ve had multiple “false starts” at the gym in the last 20 - 30 years, and of course, I’ve tried every so-called diet there is, from vegan to carnivore and everything in between. What worked for me finally was what I had avoided forever, thinking I knew better and could do it on my own. Obviously, I couldn’t.
I found an online coach and community (specific to my demographic) that included follow-along workouts, nutrition, recovery, etc. and I’ve just stuck with the program. I’m only six months in but it’s been life-changing. Every aspect of my health is better and I can do things in my late 40’s that I couldn’t even do when I was a teen.
So if it’s in someone’s budget, I highly recommend an online coaching program and community. Turning your health around can be one of the most difficult things you do (at least it was for me) and it’s even tougher to do it alone.
It must be a community you resonate with though, with members who are of similar age, having the same struggles, health issues, etc. It should also have follow-along workouts, even live workouts are helpful. I know there’s a lot of programs out there that just give you a list of exercises and some demos, but there’s nothing like working out with a coach (whether live or recorded) who’s going through and sweating every second of the workout with you.
As far as eating healthy on a budget, I’ve found it’s actually cheaper for me to just eat healthy than it is to not. Every morning I have the same thing (oatmeal with protein powder, cinnamon, berries, bananas, almonds, raisins, and almond milk). It’s actually an inexpensive breakfast but filling.
Dinners I usually make a stir fry with frozen veggies, chicken, and rice… or I bbq some chicken (maybe a steak once a week), some veggies and potato with grass-fed butter.
For lunch I’ll eat leftovers if I can, just to make life simple (and cheap). If not I’ll have some beef jerky with sprouted grain toast and almond butter. I might have some instant oatmeal (no sugar) every once in a while just to make sure I get some carbs. I find carbs have been critical to getting through my day (as long as they are good carbs). When I’m not eating them I get brain fog and absolutely lose all motivation (unless I’m doing full keto and in ketosis, but that’s another story. I’ve done keto many times and haven’t found it to be sustainable).
And I only drink water and black coffee. I do take some supplements like pre-workout and BCAA’s but for someone on a tight budget, those wouldn’t be necessary.
Anyway, it’s kind of a boring way to eat but it’s not very expensive. It’s just a matter of finding your go-to foods and sticking with them. Keep it simple, simple, simple ?. And try not to let yourself get too hungry, that’s when the cravings begin.
i walk five days a week for 40mintues i eat healthy i also cook at home, only eat out once a month
I’m now in my 70’s and have been fortunate to be very healthy all my life. However, my parts are starting to wear out! The first really aggravating issue has been a knee that was (note past tense) sooo painful with arthritis…I had trouble walking, getting in and out of my car, keeping up with my grandkids so I took my Drs advice to do weight bearing exercises, especially walking, swimming or biking. Walking was the most convenient and now into it every day for 2 years. I am fairly pain free now; 2 miles a day minimum…30 minutes out of my day. I’ve also started doing mat Pilates, mainly to support a family member who teaches it and I’ve found it to be a great way to increase my strength and flexibility which helps with balance and with my knee and hips. The class is virtual so I can Zoom it which not only saves time, but I feel less self conscious when I’m struggling with certain moves and when I don’t feel I have to show up in the latest exercise fashion attire. I pay for the classes, but one can find the very same virtual support at places like AARP, You Tube, Silver Sneakers for free.
The most important thing is to do something…just move. It’s not where you do it, how you do it, just do it. I always felt there had to be some complicated formula, and a great time sacrifice but that’s false. There is some pain when just starting, but it’s pain now or pain later, and the pain later also becomes very emotional when you realize you have to plan your day around what your body says you can and can’t do and when.
As for diet, that’s a tough one for me…I’ve cut back on sugar and we eat our main meal around 3-4 PM (more advice from the Dr) and that has really helped with the digestive system…which is also an early alarm button that things aren’t looking so bright into the aging process.
Good luck, and if you have several false starts (as I have during my lifetime) that’s ok. Not all of us are jocks But your body will get your attention if you don’t give it yours!
I love all the advice and hearing what you all do to stay healthy!
I maximize my HSA because costs continue to increase and insurance pays less and less.
I cant wait to join a gym again, but it will be a few years. Once the kids can drive, it will free up some time.
Don’t delay investing in your own health! I also have an HSA and contributing the maximum amount of $3600 this year. I use GoodRx app to save on prescription medications. I research vitamins and natural remedies such as, green tea, turmeric, probiotics, moringa, coconut oil, elderberry, etc. I try to decrease my stress and stay active with yoga, barre, CrossFit, walking, stairs, nature and the beach. At home, I use weights and bands. I try to avoid processed food, artificial flavors, preservatives, toxic chemicals, carcinogens. I try to eat organic/non-GMO. Drink lots of water. I schedule my annual physical exams and preventative health screens. I aim to maintain normal lab values and vital signs. All of the above can be challenging. My motivations: My love and I want to travel the world. My grandpa and great-grandma lived to 100+ years old. Seeing family members take a lot of medications, and not change their diets or sedentary lifestyles scares me. I am also a nurse, and saw a lot cardiac/diabetic type 2 patients and fellow nurses with exacerbating symptoms.
Yes, I contribute to and use an HSA as well. It’s been one of the best tools ever for taking care of my out-of-pocket medical expenses. I still haven’t moved to the investment option though.
I haven’t heard of HSA before. Can someone provide a link, please? I use YouTube for Richard Simmons videos and do 30 minutes, 6 days a week. I plan on adding in a 3 mile hike. I recently lost 20 pounds with the help of medication via my doctor. While I would love to lose more to get into the healthy range, I most likely will be doing it solo. I’m allergic to dairy so I tend to go fresh foods (frozen, then canned, if I can’t afford fresh) and lean meats. I limit processed foods to very little. In addition to MY thinking it’s not healthy, a ton contain dairy.
I am looking for ways to lower the stress levels.
Hi @misty, I’m also looking to lower my stress levels and limit processed foods. ?
An HSA is a health savings account. It’s an account where you can save pre-tax dollars if you have a qualifying high-deductible health plan. This article explains more: https://www.thepennyhoarder.co…oney/what-is-an-hsa/
Hi! I use youtube a lot for finding well rounded workouts and since I already have on demand cable at my house, i find fitness things on there. You are really wise to invest in YOU! there is only one of you! Not sure if we are supposed to say any specifics on here, but for starting out, I love Essentrics with Miranda Esmonde-White and also like Kendra Kemerley for their unique and smart approaches to fitness.
Personally, I do not go for the gym memberships any longer.