Written by Joe Fleming
For senior citizens living on a fixed income it’s easy to feel you don’t have the funds necessary to live a healthy lifestyle. Who has time to think healthy when you may be struggling just to make ends meet? Sadly this time in life is when you can really benefit from focusing on a healthy diet and lifestyle. The good news is it’s totally possible to prioritize health without putting a massive dent in your bank account.
Read on for ten simple tips seniors can apply today to stay healthy on a budget.
- Look for Senior Discounts
If you hate paying full price for things, remember that there are numerous perks for seniors to take advantage of.
Many grocery stores offer a senior discount or loyalty program, as do lots of gyms and rec centers. Some businesses will also let you take advantage of a veterans discount, too, which can result in even more savings!
- Clip Coupons
Speaking of coupons, be sure to scour your weekly paper for the latest grocery store ads. Pay attention to which items are on sale and plan your shopping trips around them.
In addition to looking for printed coupons, you should also look online for other offers. Many stores post additional deals on their websites, and there are lots of third-party companies that also share coupons online.
- Shop Store Brands
Remember that store brands are almost always cheaper than name brand items, even though they contain the same ingredients and taste identical. Shop store brands whenever possible, unless you have a coupon that will make a name brand item cheaper
- Create (and Stick to) a Meal Plan
One of the best things you can do to save money on healthy food is to create a meal plan for the week and stick to it. Decide which meals you’re going to cook and plan ahead for any trips you might be taking to restaurants.
Once you have a meal plan in mind, you can prepare your food ahead of time. That way, all you have to do when you’re hungry is heat it up.
If the idea of preparing food for the whole week seems daunting, consider preparing enough for just 2-3 days instead — or, ask a family member or friend to help you.
You don’t have to get fancy with your meal plan, either — often, the healthiest and tastiest meals are also the simplest ones.
- Keep Healthy Convenience Foods on Hand
Make it easy for yourself to choose healthy foods by making sure they’re the only ones available.
Instead of stocking your pantry with chips and cookies, buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are washed and ready-to-eat. Other easy and healthy snacks to keep on hand include:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Sliced deli turkey or ham
- Beef jerky sticks
- Dried fruit (just make sure there’s no sugar added)
- Eat Whole Foods as Much as Possible
It’s easy to let marketing get the better of you at the grocery store.
There are tons of items with eye-catching labels that claim to be healthy — think low-fat cookies, low-calorie ice cream, pre-packaged protein bars, etc.
These items might seem healthy, but they’re usually filled with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. And, they’re much more expensive than whole, natural foods like fruit, vegetables, and meat.
- Exercise at Home
If you can’t find a senior discount for a gym near you, don’t take that a sign from the universe that you shouldn’t be exercising. There are plenty of ways to workout for free from the comfort of your own home.
Start by simply going for a walk every day. Even spending just 15-20 minutes outside each day is a great way to improve your health, especially if you’re not used to working out at all.
- Take Advantage of Community Events
Check the schedule for your local senior center to see if they offer free social events. From fitness classes to cooking demonstrations, these events are a great way to socialize and learn healthy habits without spending money.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
When it comes to trying to stay healthy on a budget, there’s nothing more affordable than making sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Sleep is essential for keeping your immune system functioning properly, maintaining energy, and staying mentally alert. Shoot for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.