Budgeting for a Healthy Lifestyle: Guest Post by Paige Lysaght

Paige in all her coupon glory

Today brings us a post from Paige Lysaght of The Gravy Boat (that’s her above–isn’t she gorg?) You must check out her site–with posts titled “Keeping it Classy While Getting Down and Dirty,” you’ll be hooked just like I am. Today Paige enlightens us on eating healthy while taking it easy on your wallet. Now that’s advice I need (and my husband will agree)–I  find buying healthy food  can be super expensive! According to Paige, it doesn’t need to be. Read on!

I changed jobs at the very beginning of this year and took a pretty significant pay cut with it.

I went from having a job that I didn’t love (at. all.) at a very upscale restaurant and hotel to becoming a nanny. The shift in my quality of life made it more than worth it (SO, SO worth it), but the transition brought up some new obstacles. I was in school to become a Certified Health Coach, had moved out of my parents’ home (again), and had built up a bit of debt during my previous time living away from home. Money definitely became an issue.

Now that I’m working both as a Health Coach and as a nanny, I’ve had to really adjust my beliefs and priorities. At my previous job, living on sugar and caffeine seemed acceptable. So did eating bagels for dinner most nights of the week, sleeping irregular hours, and not exercising. Now, I strongly believe that I need to be nourishing my body with healthy foods and habits. While I’d love to be able to eat a perfectly organic and natural diet all the time, sometimes my budget requires me to be creative and flexible. The more I work with health coaching clients, the more I realize I’m not the only one in this boat.

Here are just a few tips for eating healthfully, even when your budget is suggesting boxed mac & cheese as the solution:

  • Use coupons. It took me all too long to jump on board with the coupon thing, but it’s been an incredibly positive experience. I treat my Sunday coupon clipping like a project and a challenge. I use coupon websites and the Sunday paper. I hunt for deals and see how I can combine coupons to keep things as cheap as possible. It’s a bit of a time investment, but it’s worth it! At first, I felt that the coupons I found were primarily for unhealthy foods that I’d rather not be buying anyway, but with a bit of hunting I’ve found that it’s quite possible to find healthy foods this way too. Hint: Look on your favorite companies’ websites for coupons. If they aren’t there, email the company and request them!
  • Look for markdowns. Keep an eye out for great deals and stock up when you can. Prices often get marked down when a product is being discontinued (or even when the packaging is changing), so grab a few of the item if you can. Also, discount stores like Big Lots often end up with organic products that other stores are getting rid of. Keep an eye out!
  • Prioritize. As much as I would like to buy everything organic, I can’t. Instead, I prioritize what’s most important to me. I use lists like the Dirty Dozen to determine what produce is most contaminated and I strive to buy those organic when possible. And honestly? Sometimes I can’t. So my priority is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables first, and then go organic second.
  • Shop in season. Buying produce that is in season is such an easy way to cut back your grocery bill! Although I’d love to think I could eat fresh strawberries every month of the year, that’s just not going to happen here in Virginia. Instead, I keep my eye out for the less expensive, seasonal produce so I can save. (Shopping at a farmers market when possible can help too!).
  • Have a support network. It can be easy to get burnt-out on deal-hunting and couponing if you don’t have anyone to share the enthusiasm with. I read and comment on the blogs of people who have similar practices. I write my own blog. I keep my boyfriend up-to-date on my deal finds (and he is a huge supporter of what I do!). All of these practices keep me excited about what I’m doing and make the process more enjoyable.

I’m semi-new on this journey, but these are a few of the steps I’ve taken to start getting my budget (and health!) on track. I hope that no matter where you are on your adventure through health and/or finances that you find some of these tips helpful. Thanks so much, Amanda, for letting me stop by and share!

Paige Lysaght is a Certified Health Coach and avid deal-shopper. She’s director of Healthy Spirit Wellness and commandeers a blog called The Gravy Boat, where she talks about everything from being an exercise slacker to figuring out the whole budget thing.

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3 Responses to Budgeting for a Healthy Lifestyle: Guest Post by Paige Lysaght

  1. emily January 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    great tips!

    and yes, paige is a purdy lady.

  2. Emily Elizabeth January 6, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Amanda, you have done a wonderful job introducing Paige! I love her blog as well. Paige, I like your advice about prioritizing fresh fruits and veggies first then organic and shooting for the dirty dozen when possible. Great tips!

  3. Lauren Slayton January 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Good advice. I am guilty of giving myself a pass on food money/budgets and I often feel this leads to waste (of food and money). I think menu planning is key to saving money as you use most of what you purchase. I am going to start paying attention and then maybe I’ll move up to coupons.

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