Healthy Living on a Budget

Written by
healthy living on a budget

Taking care of your well-being and nourishing your body with yummy, wholesome foods is important, but the perception that it must be expensive might be holding you back. A healthy diet costs about four times more than an unhealthy one, according to Our World in Data. But it doesn’t mean you have to compromise your health goals because of your finances. If you’re ready to embrace a healthier lifestyle without the financial burden, read on to learn how to eat healthy on a budget.

Tips for eating healthy on a budget

It only takes a few minutes of eating to undo a whole workout. Get a jumpstart on your health and your budget with your diet. 

If you need a financial jumpstart to hit your budgeting goals, perhaps to consolidate debt, MoneyLion can help!

1. Meal prep

The best way to end mindless eating is to prepare your meals in advance. It can provide you with better control over your calories and reign in your spending habits all at once. 

2. Cook at home

A cheap healthy diet starts by cooking at home. If you have a plan every day for your meals, you are less likely to eat out because you have an easy option at home. It’s also healthier to cook meals at home because we tend not to use as many rich ingredients as in restaurants when we cook for ourselves. 

3. Make a grocery list

Always go to the store with a list. You can budget money and calories better when you stick to a list. Also, never shop when you are hungry. 

To create an effective grocery list:

  • Plan ahead: Take some time to plan your meals for the week and create a corresponding grocery list.
  • Categorize your list: Organize your list into sections, like produce, dairy, protein, and pantry staples to make your shopping trip more efficient.
  • Stick to essentials: Focus on buying essential, nutrient-dense foods, and limit processed or unhealthy items.
  • Check inventory: Before making your list, check your pantry and fridge to avoid buying duplicates.
  • Shop with a clear mind: Never shop when hungry or in a rush. A focused mindset will help you make better choices.

4. Buy in bulk

You can buy a lot of items like beans and rice in bulk to lower their costs. Typically, the per-unit price is lower when you buy in bulk, so be sure to do the math before purchasing. 

5. Buy frozen fruit and veggies

You can find healthy food on a budget in the freezer section. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh foods. You also won’t have to worry about the food going bad. 

6. Shop for produce that is in season

Shopping for produce that is in season is more cost-effective. It is easier to grow and therefore is in larger supply. It also tastes better.

7. Reduce your meat intake

One of the most expensive purchases at the grocery store is meat. When you reduce meat intake, you can help your budget. Proteins you can substitute for meat include eggs, legumes, nuts, and hemp seeds. 

8. Avoid highly processed foods

You may think foods like chips and soda are cheaper, but processed foods lack nutrients so you never feel full when you eat them. You end up eating more, and you aren’t getting the nutrition your body needs. 

9. Buy generic

Generic brands, in most cases, are just as good as buying name-brand items without a higher price tag. 

10. Use coupons

Coupons can add up. Most grocery stores have coupon apps if clipping coupons isn’t your thing. 

11. Take advantage of sales

Similar to coupons, try planning meals around sales.. 

12. Incorporating leftovers

Incorporating leftovers into new meals is a smart and sustainable way to reduce food waste while saving time and money. It helps you get creative in the kitchen and allows you to enjoy delicious and nutritious dishes without much effort. 

13. Use reward apps

Americans spend a lot of time at the grocery store. Using apps and online shopping can reduce that time and save you money. Using rewards apps like Ibotta when you shop, allows you to get cashback for your receipts. 

DIY healthy living

There are many budget-conscious ways you can make the items around you healthier. 

1. Make your own all-purpose cleaner

Stop buying expensive cleaners with harmful chemicals. You can do a lot with vinegar, and it is cheap. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Add a lemon rind or essential oil if you hate the vinegar smell. 

2. Use salt for deodorant

Using salt as a natural deodorant is a simple and chemical-free alternative to commercial deodorants. While it may sound unconventional, many people swear by the effectiveness of using salt, particularly Himalayan salt, to combat body odor. 

Create a salt spray by dissolving Himalayan salt in water. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of finely ground Himalayan salt in a cup of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply it to your underarms after showering.

3. Use dish soap on clothing stains

Use products you already have around the house in different ways. Using dish soap on a clothing stain works just as well as any stain stick. Scrub it into the stain before washing. 

4. Make natural air freshener with essential oils 

  • Creating your own natural air freshener is a fantastic way to eliminate unwanted odors in your home while avoiding the chemicals found in many commercial air fresheners. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. In a spray bottle, combine equal parts distilled water and witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. The alcohol helps the essential oils disperse more evenly in the water.
  2. Add 10 to 15 drops of your preferred essential oils. You can mix and match scents to create a custom fragrance that suits your taste.
  3. Shake the bottle gently to blend all the ingredients thoroughly.

Why does prioritizing your health make financial sense?

Prioritizing your health makes financial sense for several reasons:

1. Preventive healthcare

Investing in your health through regular checkups, screenings, and preventive measures can help catch potential health issues early on. Early detection often leads to less costly treatments and a higher chance of successful recovery. This can save you from the financial burden of dealing with advanced and expensive medical conditions.

2. Reduced medical costs

By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. These conditions often require ongoing medical care and can be expensive to manage. Taking steps to prevent such illnesses can significantly cut down on medical expenses.

3. Increased productivity

When you prioritize your health, you’re likely to have more energy, focus, and overall better physical and mental well-being. This can lead to increased productivity at work or school, potentially resulting in better career opportunities and higher earnings.

4. Lower insurance premiums

Leading a healthy lifestyle can often result in lower insurance premiums. Insurance companies typically consider healthier people to be lower risk, leading to more affordable health and life insurance policies. Health and life insurance plans can cost up to 250% more if you have preexisting conditions that could have been avoided with healthier food choices, according to Effortless Insurance.

5. Less absenteeism

Taking care of your health reduces your chances of becoming sick frequently, which means fewer sick days. Whether you’re a student or a working professional, being present consistently can contribute to your academic or professional success.

6. Long-term savings

Unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive drinking, or a poor diet can lead to various health problems. By avoiding these habits and adopting healthier choices, you can avoid the financial strain of dealing with health issues down the road.

7. Better quality of life

Good health allows you to enjoy life more fully and engage in activities that bring happiness and fulfillment. Having better physical and mental well-being can result in fewer expenses related to coping with stress or emotional challenges.

Thriving on a budget 

Living a healthy lifestyle on a budget is within reach, and there’s no need to compromise your well-being. With a little resourcefulness, you can enjoy nutritious meals and natural do-it-yourself alternatives. Remember, a tight budget doesn’t limit your ability to live your healthiest life; it simply challenges you to get creative and think outside the box. Embrace the possibilities, and you’ll discover a world of affordable and wholesome choices that lead to a happier, healthier you. 


Can eating healthy be affordable?

Yes, eating healthy can be affordable. With smart planning, budget-conscious shopping, and choosing cost-effective nutritious foods, you can maintain a healthy diet without breaking the bank.

Can you eat healthy food with just a little money?

Absolutely! There are plenty of affordable healthy food options available, such as beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. By focusing on whole foods and avoiding processed items, you can create nutritious meals on a budget.

What are some cost-effective and nutritious food options?

Cost-effective and nutritious food options include brown rice, oatmeal, canned tuna, frozen fruits and vegetables, eggs, and affordable lean protein sources like chicken thighs or beans. Buying in bulk and shopping for seasonal produce can also help stretch your food budget while maintaining a healthy diet.

Sign Up
Sign Up

Fast, interest-free advances anytime

Get Instacash advances up to $500 for everyday expenses or life’s surprises. There’s no credit check, no monthly fee, and no interest.

Sign Up