Budget-Friendly Tips to Improve Your Health

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Budget-Friendly Tips to Improve Your Health

There’s no sense in denying reality: good health is more accessible to folks who have money than those who don’t. But, that doesn’t mean you are powerless over your health journey. You don’t have to join a gym, pay for personal training, or buy trendy foods.

It’s time to get empowered. Start with these budget-friendly health tips.

Search For Freebies

Great news! The health and wellness community is full of amazing people who want to help people get healthy – not just the ones who can pay for their services. Here are a few places to start.

Free Online Workouts

You don’t need to leave home or spend money to begin your fitness journal. All you need is an internet connection. There are free online workouts that cover all sorts of fitness disciplines, and for users of every ability level. You can find classes on:

  • YouTube
  • Amazon Prime
  • Fitness Blender
  • PBS
  • DoYogaWithMe

You can find these workouts being served up on the web, apps, and streaming via Roku and other channels.

Your Local Library

Did you know your library card could help you get into shape? You’re probably aware that you can check out books on fitness and nutrition as well as workout DVDs. But, that’s just the beginning. 

Hoopla is a digital platform that’s available on many library systems. All you do is login using your library card number and password. Then you get free access to stream all sorts of  health and fitness content.

Don’t forget to check out your library’s social media pages and website. It may offer virtual fitness classes. Also, peek at the events page to check for in-person classes.

Have you heard of the library of things? Some libraries are loaning out more than books and DVDs. They’re expanding what they offer to include a variety of equipment that people may need, but aren’t in a position to buy for themselves. This includes kits for science projects, tools, telescopes, and binoculars. In some instances you may even be able to find items to help you get fit such as exercise bands or sports equipment.

Community Centers/Parks & Rec/Churches

The library is just one community resource for you to tap on your budget-minded quest for a healthier life. Look to your local community centers, parks and rec department, and even some churches. You might find:

  • Free or low cost fitness centers and classes for members or residents
  • Open gyms
  • Fitness trails or outdoor fitness equipment
  • Tennis and pickleball courts
  • Community swimming pools


Go to your local hospital’s website and search for community programs, outreach programs, or community outreach. As a public service, many hospitals offer free resources to help keep the community members they serve as healthy as possible. 

Offerings will vary, but you may find:

  • Free health screenings
  • Classes on health and nutrition
  • Downloadable materials
  • Links to free external resources including fitness apps
  • Online tools
  • Support groups

Open Source Learning

You’ve probably heard of learning platforms like Udemy, EdX, Khan Academy, and Coursera. Maybe you’ve used these for professional development or personal enrichment. Did you know that you can access health and fitness instruction through many of these platforms too?

Insurance Company or Employer EAP

Your health insurance provider benefits from your good health. So does your employer. So much so that they may have already made an investment in your wellbeing. Start at your insurance company website. Look for member benefits. In addition to covering medical procedures and meds, you may qualify for discounts on gym memberships, fitness equipment, healthy meal programs, etc. 

Some insurance companies offer a variety of other helpful tools and resources that encourage health and wellness. There may even be $$$ incentives for you to take steps to maintain your health. See if your provider offers any sort of a rewards program to customers who receive annual health screenings or take other steps to stay well.

Finally, many employers offer EAP (employee assistance program), but it is woefully underused. If you have one, your EAP may include free nutrition planning with a registered dietician, mental health counseling, reimbursement for exercise classes, and virtual classes on a variety of wellness topics. If it’s available, this is a free resource for you.

Get Social

There’s a strong link between social connections and good health. This may be the reason why social media has become such an important part of many people’s fitness efforts. Check Facebook and other social media pages for local groups that get together for the purpose of getting active. Find an activity you enjoy doing, or try something new!

You could even start your own group.What’s your pleasure? Is it pickleball, adult kickball leagues, distance running, hiking, or something else?

Seize Every Opportunity to Walk

Walking is free, and it’s one of the most effective forms of exercise there is. Unfortunately, our lives and our cities are more car-centered than ever. You may need to make a dedicated effort to get your steps in. Do this by parking farther away from your destination, walking to places in your neighborhood, and making a brisk walk an evening habit.

This is another area in which social support can help. Recruit a friend to walk with you. If you’d like to combine your health and romantic goals, try an app like Hily to find people near you who also prioritize personal wellness.

Eat Healthy Without Going Broke

There’s a widespread misconception that healthy foods are inherently expensive. The result is food-related anxiety and a belief that good nutrition is inaccessible. Yes, lack of access to healthy foods is a very real issue. At the same time, many people are more able to eat better than they know.

You don’t have to shop at expensive health food stores, buy meal kits, or stock your fridge with everything organic. There are six, nutrition-approved tips for eating well on a budget to help you set a great foundation for yourself and your family. Later, as you have time and resources you can expand on that and consider:

  • Starting a garden or joining a community garden
  • Embracing a more plant-focused approach to eating
  • Exploring your fears and anxieties around food
  • Expand your collection of favorite recipes as you explore cuisines and new dishes

Final Thought: Ask For Help

Your economic status shouldn’t be a roadblock for your physical and mental wellbeing. We hope these tips will help you achieve the good health you deserve on a restricted budget. If not, please consider reaching out for help in your community via food banks, social services, and other programs.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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