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Posted: 9:55 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013

6 tips to live healthier on a budget

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By Crystal Collins, Contributor

ClarkHoward.com


These days, it’s getting easier and easier to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It used to be extremely difficult to find organic foods: the products and brands were limited and we were also limited to only shopping in season. Nowadays organic grapes are available year-round, when they used to be only available at certain times of the year.

With access more readily available, is it possible that this also makes it easier to save money while living healthier? It sure does! Here are a couple of tips to get you started:

1. Shop the sales cycles and use coupons. Just like you’ve seen people on TV saving a ton of money by using coupons and shopping the sales, you can do the same thing with focusing your purchases on organic and healthy items. And even if you don’t like clipping coupons, watching those sales can save you a significant amount of money in the long-term. Instead of buying those organic grapes when they are priced at $3.99/lb, get them when they are $.99/lb and stock up!

2. Look to shopping online to save on groceries and body care items. Sites like Amazon.com, Vitacost.com and Drugstore.com have great deals on organic and natural products. Amazon in particular has free shipping and an added discount if you use their Subscribe & Save feature. I love this program because items ship to me automatically every month without me having to lift a finger. So I’m saving both time and money at the same time! Winning!!

3. Shop at the farmer’s markets and find local farmers in your area. Shopping local means you’re reducing your carbon footprint, supporting local business owners, and getting healthier items at the same time! Plus you can really barter and get good deals by shopping locally. I hit the farmer’s market on weekends, and then I’m ready for the week.

4. Buy in bulk. Stocking up when items are on sale is imperative to saving money on healthier items. Sometimes this will require you to get more than you know you could possibly eat/use in a short period of time. In this case you have a couple of options: freeze/can items to use in the long-term, or split the costs with some local friends and family. Just this past weekend I picked up 50 pounds of vidalia onions for $22. You better believe I’m splitting that up with a couple of people. There’s no way I’m eating that many onions in the coming months; talk about some serious onion breath...

5. Grow your own. One of the great things about growing some of my own herbs and products is that it is so much fun! Yeah, I’m in it for the health and budget reasons, but I also just like walking out to my garden and being able to pull a juicy tomato off the plant! Mmm...those make for the best tomato sandwiches! Even if you don’t have much of a green thumb, growing something as simple as a few herbs (basil, cilantro, thyme, etc...) can help you save some money and make for some tastier meals!

 6. Make your own. Did you know that you can make a lot of your own body care items? And even then, it really doesn’t take a lot of work. Coconut oil makes for a great moisturizer, simple hair conditioner, and more! It can be used in homemade toothpaste, sugar scrubs and more! Start looking for ways that you can make your own body care items. With less ingredients being used, you’re putting healthier products on your body and saving money!

With some creative thinking, smart shopping and a little strategy, it is possible to live and eat healthier while also saving money. What are some of your tips for living healthier on a budget?

Crystal Collins, a Savings.com DealPro, is an Atlanta local, adventurer, a health advocate and thrifty as can be. Check her out on her blog at NaturalThrifty.com.

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