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Living healthy, it often seems, is expensive. There's the cost of joining a gym, or a boutique studio. And the cost of organic food.
Sure, there are worse things you could spend your money on, but all those spinning classes, matcha teas, and the occasional facial can add up—and, ultimately, wreak havoc on your savings account.
But that doesn't mean you should nix working out and eating well.
Cameron Yuen, senior physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City, says a healthier lifestyle can lead to improved focus, positive mood changes, more energy, as well as a reduced risk of cardiovascular, metabolic, and other diseases related to sedentary lifestyles.
With a few simple changes, you can prioritize your health well within your budget:
1. Exercise at home
If you don't often use the gym's showers, sauna, or steam room, reconsider your gym membership. “They can cost $150 to $1,500 per year, every year, not to mention the cost of getting to the gym and expensive attire to look the part," explains Wayne Westcott, professor of exercise science at Quincy College, in Quincy, Massachusetts. The truth is that in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities, a gym membership can easily cost $2,500 a year—or more.
A stationary bike and set of free weights cost a fraction of the cost of a gym membership, and can be used for many years. If running is your preferred method of exercise, all you need is a pair of sneakers, which you can buy for under $100.
2. DIY spa night
Clear skin can make you feel more confident, which can boost your mental health and self-care. If facials are your way of achieving that look, you could be spending anywhere from $50 to $500 per treatment, says Hadley King, a dermatologist in New York City.
Replicate the process at home with a nightly retinol cream that can cost less than $20; a peel for about $20; or even applying plain yogurt—which can cost under $5—to your skin twice weekly for ten minutes.
"The natural acids and enzymes in it will gently exfoliate your skin," she explains.
3. Blend a customized juice
Kale, carrots, and apples — oh my!
It seems like a lot of work to make your own smoothie or juice, but if you buy the frozen variety of your ingredients, you can easily throw in a little of whatever your tastebuds desire. Plus, it's a lot cheaper than shelling out $15 every time you go to the smoothie bar.
“After the initial cash outlay for the blender, you can buy greens cheaply and won't have to pay for the labor," says Leslie Bonci, founder of Active Eating Advice, a consultancy.
Not only can you customize your juice to your liking, you can buy fresh produce that's on sale and save it for later.
Find [a foam roller] that is dense enough to add pressure to the muscle and tissue in the area, but not so dense that you can't relax.
4. Invest in a foam roller
A good massage therapist is hard to beat, but the soothing service can cost upwards of $100 per hour.
Instead, Yuen recommends picking up a foam roller, which can assist you in self-massage. A foam roller can calm down the most persistent muscular pains, which will help you spend less time and money on massages.
Though you can buy a good one for under $20, Yuen says the most important quality you should look for in a foam roller is density.
"Find one that is dense enough to add pressure to the muscle and tissue in the area, but not so dense that you can't relax," he explains.
5. Brew your own coffee
When consumed in moderation, coffee can reduce risks of select diseases and improve mental alertness. But be honest with yourself: That $5, large, half caffeine, low-fat Chai latte you always order isn't healthy for your body or wallet.
"A tall black coffee usually costs $2, and goes up with all the bells and whistles you add to it," explains Bonci. "A pound of coffee for $6 to $10 will last a lot longer, plus you'll have more control over calories when you make at home."
If you think you don't have enough time to brew your own cup, invest in a coffee machine with a built-in timer. "All you need to do is add the grinds the night before, set the timer, and you'll have your Joe ready before you need to go!"