Healthy Behaviors (On a Shoe-String Budget)

by | Jul 29, 2015 | 9 comments

Stay Healthy... On a Shoe-String Budget #nursingfromwithinI had a great comment come through from a nurse who participated in the Art of Nursing 2.0. In her overall program survey, she said something along the lines of  this: “We can teach all this but if socioeconomic barriers stands in the way of purchasing and groceries, what will it matter? For the communities in which we live, we have to make sure people are able to follow healthy behaviors.”

That really hit home for me, as I know at times, I haven’t had the budget for organic foods and fancy exercise equipment. Sometimes, we’re simply doing the best with what we have available to us at the time. So how can we do this? In what ways can we realistically engage in healthy behaviors and complementary modalities… if we don’t have the cash for it?

[Tweet “Here Are My Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy On A Budget”]

  1. Hit Up the Free Resources. So think parks, libraries, free training. I used to go to Williams Sonoma every week. Not to buy the expensive cookware and cutlery, but to take the free cooking demo classes they held on Sundays. I loved that. It taught me ways I could re-use some of the ingredients I would get and then have to waste. It also was a fun way to find new and healthy recipes I could actually create! There’s always some sort of community fair, health awareness day, or event that is locally put on that offers a ton of give-aways. Keep your eyes peeled and your mind open for free resources in your area.
  2. Stay Healthy... On a Shoe-String Budget #nursingfromwithinGo for Greens. Now, I don’t know about you… but actually purchasing fruits and vegetables saves money. I once wrote a blog post on this where I compared how much money it takes to eat out versus how much money is spent on packing lunches. Last week when I was in the checkout line, I loved watching the screen show me just how inexpensive veggies can be. I mean, I bought a whole handful of green beans (enough for two servings) for under two bucks. Come on… what kind of cookies cost that little? Especially when you purchase fruits and veggies in season- you’re going to get the best price. That and utilize your neighborhood farmer’s markets. Those always have great deals and inexpensive prices.
  3. Put on the Radio. Now I KNOW everyone reading as a radio. There’s probably one in your car, on your computer, or even on your TV (many packages give you music channels in the weird upper-numbers). And if you have none of those (well, then I don’t know how you’re reading this post.. oh yes, the library), I am certain you have access to at least one radio. Now… here’s the health tip. Turn it on and get up. Dance. Jump. Boogie. Shake. Lift your legs. Who cares, it doesn’t matter what you do. Just get off that rump, move to the beat, and have some fun getting healthy! Which leads me to my next tip…
  4. Gather with Friends. Now some of you reading may already be thinking to yourself, ‘When I gather with friends… we spend money. How is this a budget friendly tip?‘ Well, you don’t have to. You can go for a (free) walk in the park. You can purchase some greens (see above) and have a healthy cookout. And the best, most healthiest thing to do with friends? Laugh! See… there is a healthy outcome when gathering socially with people you love. Laughter is so super good for you and it costs nothing.
  5. Engage in a Practice You Can Do. Now this is a tricky one. (Love how I saved the best for last, LOL.) You may have to spend some money up front… but in the long run you’ll save your pocket book. I’ll take my example, for what I do, just to share and get your creative juices flowing. I am trained in Reiki Practice. And since I am trained, I can now do Reiki for and on myself any time I please. At no cost. All I need is my two hands and some quiet space. So, what I am saying here is (again, you may have to pay a bit upfront) get yourself trained in some sort of self-care routine that YOU can do. Instead of needing a physical trainer to show you the exercise or a therapist to do it for you (think massage)… if you get trained in some sort of holistic and complementary modality… then you can do it yourself! For free.

Let’s hear from you! What would you add to this list? What did we miss on a budget-friendly health activity? I’d love to learn what you do to stay in shape at a lower cost. Thanks for reading and go ahead and comment below.

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.


  1. exceptionalnurse

    Hi Elizabeth, How about volunteering? I practice yoga at a local gym. One of the yoga instructors holds a class for people who are blind. Volunteers are needed to assist the participants. For someone who wants to practice yoga and benefit from the joy of volunteering…it could be win-win!

    • Elizabeth

      Donna, I LOVE this! Great idea. I didn’t even think of that. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope others reading (myself included) with find more opportunities for this win-win!! Enjoy the day.

  2. maureenpowers

    I am really into self-care, love your suggestions. I do a lot of walking, it’s free and I am outdoors

    • Elizabeth

      Oh, I too love to walk, Maureen. I am glad that you enjoyed the tips! Thanks for reading.

  3. Big Red Carpet Nurse

    I have often pushed free exercise, a resource Americans mostly spend much time, energy, and money to avoid. I’ll post later in the week on the topic, having spent hours today walking between errands under the decidely pedestrian- hostile conditions typical in America.

    • Elizabeth

      I just spent 30 minutes today walking our Nation’s Capital. I am here at a training in DC and rather than sit in the room after class or go straight to dinner… I figured, why not walk in the beautiful sunshine and see the sights of the city! Thanks for reading, as always, Greg.

      • Big Red Carpet Nurse

        If it were a pill, walking would be the most successful medicine ever! – Greg

  4. Anne Llewellyn

    I have been swimming a lot and doing Water Aerobics….The water is great for resistance and as I have bilateral foot drop from the Chemotherapy that I needed to treat my Brain Tumor, I can’t do real exercise outside like I used to. I love the water and with the heat down here in Fort Lauderdale, it is refreshing and a great way to be outside.

    • Elizabeth

      Water! Another great idea for something healthy we can do at little to no cost at all. Thanks, Anne.


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