Health on a Small Budget

One of the recent #fitblog chats on Twitter addressed some really good topics that I wanted to share here. I’ve written about a lot of these topics before and I’ll include those old posts here for new readers to catch up on.

The topic of getting and staying healthy while on a budget is a popular one. With the economy in the gutter and so many people without jobs, it’s difficult to rationalize spending money on things that might seem “frivolous.” Paying $50 a month for a gym membership is understandably ridiculous and maybe not worth the money. Never fear! There are most definitely ways to get into shape without a gym membership. So Don’t Break the Bank Getting Fit.

One of my biggest regrets when losing 110 pounds was how much money I wasted on clothes shopping. I had to buy clothes in smaller sizes every single month. That is not a complaint! I was definitely excited to be able to buy smaller sizes, but spending money on clothes that I only wore a few times was wasteful. There were even clothes that still had the tags on them that I never got a chance to wear.  I passed the clothes onto friends who were trying to lose weight, so in the end it wasn’t a waste. But my advice for someone losing a lot of weight: buy clothes at a second hand store until you’re at a size you’re going to be at for awhile.

Q1) What are your favorite budget friendly food staples?

My response was fruit and vegetables. One of my favorite things to do in the summer time is to go to the local Farmer’s Markets. There are too many in Portland to list and I’d much rather support small, local farmers than a big chain store.

Also, growing my own vegetable garden was a very budget-friendly thing. We had so much fresh lettuce that I had to give a ton of it away last summer. And it tasted so much better than anything I’ve bought from a store.

Other affordable staples are beans, rice, anything you can buy in bulk. Buying ground turkey, chicken and pork chops from Costco and freezing them was one of the smartest things we did. We always have healthy options on hand as a result.

Q2) What are some common misconceptions you’ve heard about your healthy way of living?

I once had a coworker ask me if I was on a diet because I was having an orange for a snack. I was shocked at the question and didn’t know really how to answer…I just said no, I like fruit. And it’s the truth. I’m so used to eating fresh fruit as a snack I don’t even think about it. Is it weird?

Q3) Let’s hear it… What are your go-to FREE workouts you don’t need a gym for?

This is where creativity comes in.  When the weather is nice in Portland (i.e. not raining), it’s easy to stay fit because there is so much to do! Hiking is a big one. The Gorge is about a thirty minute drive from Portland and packed with hundreds of scenic hikes to fit any fitness level. There are free hikes and ones that cost $5. Either way there’s plenty to do out there.

Mt. Hood is a good place for outdoor fitness too. There’s a ton of hiking there plus it’s a good place for snowshoeing in the winter. Once you spend the initial cost of a pair of snowshoes, it’s a free activity except for gas.

Bike riding is another good activity that doesn’t cost much. Commuting to work by bike is even better. Running outside or on a local school track is free. Not only that, if you have iPhone, download the FREE Nike Training Club app for some great home workouts.

Q4) Confession Time: What is one thing you spend an unnecessary amount of money on? How can you fix it?

My answer was my running shoes. A few years ago I got fitted for some running shoes at a local running store–which was free, by the way–and it was the best thing I ever did.  I had been wearing the wrong type of shoes for my feet, body and stride. Getting fitted is the best way to prevent running injuries.

I spend a ridiculous amount of money on my Brooks Ravenna running shoes because they are like magical clouds on my feet. They feel fantastic and are worth every penny. The shoes run around $100-120 depending on where I buy them and whenever I see them on sale I buy a pair. I buy new shoes 2-3 times a year as they wear out. Trust me, GOOD SHOES IS WORTH THE MONEY!

QUESTION: How would you answer these questions?


18 Responses

  1. Hi Lisa, great tips!!! I’m definitely a thrift shopper for clothes right now, as I’m not at goal weight, and I WISH I’d been fitted for proper shoes long ago….that may have prevented the injury that I’m having to have surgically corrected at the end of the month. Hindsight is 20/20! Have a great Tuesday.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..Nothing out of the ordinary day

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that you have to have surgery. I hope you heal quickly. I’m really glad you’re shopping cheaply for clothes. I wish I had done that!

  2. In answer to number 2. Apparently I am a vegetarian because I like tofu, and include it in my lunch/dinner rotations. And, apparently that is a bad thing, according to my co-workers. The fact that I have tofu one day and then leftover steak on rice the next day doesn’t seem to make a difference.

    And number 3. I’m with you on hiking! I went on Monday with my boyfriend (school holidays, both teachers!). We had heaps of fun and got to explore a part of our area that we wouldn’t have normally seen, because none of where we were is accessable by road. If you need a strength workout then push ups, squats and lunges are free!

    1. 2 – Don’t quote me, because this is second-hand knowledge, but I was told that tofu and soy products are bad too. I heard that they were particularly bad for men because they increase the estrogen levels in them? I have no opinions either way on tofu because it’s not something I eat very often.

      3- Hiking is the best! What part of the world are you from? I love hiking because it’s always different. And you’d be surprised at how good a workout it is. Glad you guys had a day off and were able to enjoy it. 🙂

      1. I have heard that it is fine. There was a huge worry about it, but from memory the newer research has shown it is fine. Since it is only once or twice a month, I’m not worried. I’d be more worried about my daily soy latte, since I am lactose intolerant.

        I am from Auckland, New Zealand. I am lucky that I live a 30 minute drive from the Waitakere Ranges, which have tonnes of hiking and tramping trails that are well marked and maintained.

  3. I have to admit that I too spent WAY too much money on clothes in different sizes. I had quite a relationship going with Macy’s on returns and exchanges, but still, ended up with piles of clothes that I eventually donated or gave away. (I also have to admit that my problem with buying too many clothes did not end when my weight stabilized about 6 years ago…. And I am also a sucker for running clothes and shoes.) ear lunch out, and rarely dinner, so that saves money.
    Kristin recently posted..Random thoughts on April 1

    1. And I’m kicking myself for not returning the clothes that still had tags on them! Good for you for returning stuff to Macy’s. At least that saved a little bit.

      I go through phases too where I buy too many clothes. 🙂

  4. I spend a crap-load of money on my running shoes and “accessories” (Not counting the money on my running group and travel to races). But, I consider my running my health/social/spiritual/recreation activity. I stopped feeling F-ing GUILTY about the time and money I spend on running this past year when two people from my high school graduating class (40-41 yr olds) dropped dead from heart attacks. Meaning that kids don’t have their mom and dad left. And, my Dad had triple bypass a few years ago after forty years of body abuse and neglect. I’m sure that his medical costs (that insurance paid for) were a couple hundred thousand. So, yea…I might spend a lot of money on my running shoes, garmin, YMCA membership, running group fees, race fees, etc…but, I still think I’m SAVING money in the long run.
    Lesley recently posted..New Math by Craig Damrauer

    1. I agree with you Lesley, I think that it’s worth spending money on our health. That means good exercise accessories or equipment, gym memberships, health care, etc. I’m sorry to hear about your friends and family that passed away. It’s too bad those are often the wakeup calls we need.

      I happily spend a lot of money on good running shoes to prevent injury. That’s important to me. And I agree! Running is my spiritual/health activity too.

  5. Goodwill is my friend! Now that I have settled into a size- I still go to Goodwill. It is so hard to go back to paying crazy prices for clothes now. Target seems pricey to me now!!! Thanks for the great tips here!!!
    Jill recently posted..Bon Voyage

    1. I’m so glad you’ve settled into a size. Isn’t that a good feeling?

      I like Kohl’s for affordable new clothes, and Target is hit or miss for me. They have weird sizing there.

  6. I just wrote about Question 2 on my blog today! That’s my biggest pet peeve – that someone thinks I’m on a diet because I’m having a salad for lunch, or avoiding sugar. Can’t I just enjoy eating this way because it makes me feel good?? Moving on….haha

    1. Eggs! And meal planning. If I know what I’m going to make and have a detailed grocery list, I spend WAY WAY less money.

    3. The Park or a nature reservation for hiking

    4. Good shoes and socks are DEFINITELY worth the money – I also recently put out some money for compression sleeves that have saved me! I have to keep a pretty tight budget – but I wish I could spend more money on clothes!
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted..Really, I’m not on a diet

    1. Isn’t that crazy that people think someone is on a diet because they eat healthy? It’s such a foreign thing to me now, it’s just my normal food!

      Yes, eggs are a great healthy food and affordable.

      Shoes are #1 on my list. I will spend whatever it takes for good shoes that will save my knees.

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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