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How to Afford Your Wellbeing on a Budget

Written by Megan Cunningham

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

I recently moved to a big city, and it didn't take long to realize how challenging it was going to be to stay healthy on an entry-level salary.

Most gyms charge over $50 a month (that's $600 a year), specialized classes can rack up over $25 each class, and eating healthy is expensive.

I found some innovative ways to keep my wellbeing at top of mind, while sticking to my budget.

Download Useful Apps

The MINDBODY app is one of my personal favourites to find low-cost classes around the city. The app is free, and all you have to do is download it to your phone, input your location, and it gives you a list of classes or workshops in your area that are either free of charge or have a great promotional deal.

My favourite app on the food front is called the Feedback App – although it's currently unique to downtown Toronto, it's growing quickly. This app connects you with restaurants to give you huge deals on ordering takeout while helping to reduce food waste. The restaurants they've partnered with offer deals at certain times throughout the day to sell off the food that they would otherwise throw out.

The Feedback App is also partnered with Second Harvest to make a greater impact on food waste around the city. If you don't live in Toronto, there are other apps out there like Ubifood and the Flashfood app that work towards reducing food waste in Canada, while giving a slice of savings to their customers.

Walking or Biking to Work

I started walking to work and it completely changed my health, mood, and the numbers in my bank account. When I first moved downtown, I was taking public transit to and from work, costing me $6 each day, or $120 a month! When I noticed how quickly it added up, I knew I needed to find a way to save on these costs.

After the first week of walking everywhere, I noticed how my mood improved: walking woke me up for the day ahead, and was the perfect way to wind down after a stressful day.

Another option is riding a bike. Many cities have bikeshare programs or businesses with bike rentals if you don't own a bike.

Stay Fit in the Great Outdoors

Weather permitting, get outside and take advantage of the parks, public spaces and beaches around you. Most parks have tennis courts, basketball courts and baseball fields that are open for the public to use and are a fun way to spend the afternoon with friends.

You can also find many free or inexpensive classes, everything from yoga to sports, run in local parks by certified trainers and instructors.

Eating on a Budget

Buy local at markets. In my experience, I spend less on produce, meats and grains when I'm shopping carefully and buying fresh at markets, and I find the quality is better. Not only can buying at markets boost your health by encouraging you to eat more fruits and vegetables, it can help you save.

Your wellbeing should never be something you can't afford. Keeping fit and eating well can feel expensive at times, but there are ways to take care of yourself affordably without breaking the bank.

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