I thought up this series because BLC & I have decided to try to be a bit more responsible with our money but still wanted to maintain our healthy lifestyles. While I have some knowledge of how to workout & eat for cheap – I definitely don’t have all the answers!
So I asked my fellow Sweat Pink & Girls Gone Sporty Ambassadors for some help. & lemme tell you, they are turning out to be a wealth of knowledge!
I knew that if their tips would help me, they will probably help you, too! & that’s how this series was born! If you are interested in being featured on my Healthy Living on the Cheap series, please email me at email@example.com!
So without further ado….Meet Larissa from Piloting Paper Airplanes!
Healthy Living on the Cheap Spotlight #9
I graduated from with my master’s last December; we got married in August; my husband, Jon, is hopefully finishing his graduate degree this summer; our families live in three different states than we do, so holidays mean travel.
Suffice it to say we started our married life with a tight budget!
We make it work, though; it is possible to be healthy, active and social with limited cash.
A little about me: By day I’m a social media administrator at a major state university. By night I’m a runner, blogger, and working to co–launch a new business. At my blog, Piloting Paper Airplanes, I write about running, cross training, physical/mental/emotional well–being, married life, new projects, and more. But mostly fitness things.
What is your favorite budget-friendly meal?
Jon makes a fabulous quesadilla that is a staple in our house!
Ingredients: brown rice, black or kidney beans, sliced fresh onions, cheese, salsa and some sriracha sauce. Some days we saute the onions, garlic and green peppers, too.
With everything warm, assemble on a tortilla in your skillet on medium heat and cook until the tortilla is golden brown and slightly crispy. If the pan is too hot and toasts the tortilla too fast, you may have to pop it in the microwave to melt the cheese.
We also make our own bread, so a new favorite of mine is pan pizzas in a cast iron skillet. I roll out the dough and place it in the warm pan. You must make sure it’s not too hot or you’ll burn the dough without cooking it through. After you flip the crust, on goes the sauce, cheese and toppings. My favorites are sliced zucchini, tomatoes and onions that I’ve sauteed ahead of time.
These are both tasty and inexpensive meals that we eat pretty regularly.
What is your best suggestion for working out on the cheap?
Running! I love it, and I am definitely an outdoors runner where a gym membership is not required. I do realize, however, that not everyone enjoys running – or likes running in the cold, like myself.
For the cold days, I am a huge fan of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Some great places to find circuits are the Greatist workout of the day, Zuzka Light, or write you own circuit with your favorite exercises. It doesn’t take long to be sweaty, breathing heavy and making changes in your body.
What is your favorite budget-friendly way to relax?
In nice weather, my husband and I love to camp when we have a free weekend. Most of the time, though, I like to be lazy. Give me a cup of tea, some fresh popcorn from the stove, a good movie or book and I am a happy lady.
We’re also all about having people over or visiting on others’ houses rather than going out. You can do a great dinner with a bottle of wine so much cheaper than you can at a restaurant. I’m a vegetarian, we are both quite health conscious and we don’t like to spend a lot of money means we would rather have friends over 100% of the time.
How often do you eat out?
Rarely. Maybe once a month. If we visit friends out of town, maybe a few more times, but it is not a regular habit by any means. It’s so expensive! I also really don’t like crowds, so I’m much happier visiting in my living room than in a busy restaurant.
I’m a firm believer that having a clean house, some candles and a delicious homemade dinner can be nicer than any dinner out.
If you have a favorite restaurant/fast food joint, what is your go-to meal that is healthy and (relatively) inexpensive?
I don’t really have a favorite place or meal, but I’m drawn to salads and vegetable pastas before anything else.
What is your best suggestion for socializing without breaking the bank?
Groupon (or other ad services), community events, happy hours or home parties! There are always great deals and events to be found. Failing that, try a themed party at home or a casual game night.
What is your one splurge that you just can’t give up?
Coffee shops. Jon takes the term “coffee snob” to another level, and I’m a lover of exceptional chai teas. We love spending a weekend afternoon together at a coffee shop. These tend to be “work” dates (I run a blog, he’s a photographer with a never–ending list of photos to edit and we’re launching a business!) but it’s always enjoyable.
How do you keep track of your budget? (excel spreadsheet? smartphone app? set aside cash for the month? notebook? none of the above?)
We use Mint.com. I’d love to get into a cash system for extra spending money… but we really don’t have extra spending money right now. Jon has used a spread sheet to track bills in the past, but not so much anymore. Mint is such a powerful tool that we really don’t need anything else.
What are your top 3 best “Healthy Living on the Cheap” tips?
1. Shop at bulk stores like Sam’s Club or Costco. Better yet, make more at home! We make bread in our dutch oven all the time; we have literally not purchased bread in months! I’m also shopping for a sale on a good food processor because I want to make my own hummus and salsa – two things we devour in my house.
2. Forgo the gym membership and expensive home equipment. You can great great workouts with very little! Not to underscore the value of a gym, but the times in life when the budget just doesn’t allow it, there are other fantastic options.
3. Build a vibrant social life outside of the restaurants and bars. Start a rotating dinner group, host a classic movie or game night, etc. Get creative!
When we think of health, we usually think of diet and exercise. I don’t want to understate the importance of emotional and mental well-being, too! A supportive and fun community and building some relaxing “you” time into your life are so key – and completely doable with little money!
Just for fun – What is the best deal you’ve ever gotten?!
Hmm, this is a tough one. We’re bargain hunters, so there are several things. These are a few of our favorites:
- One of Jon’s camera lenses that he purchase half price. It needed a repair that he was able to do himself…. and good photography gear is expensive.
- My refurbished Mac laptop that I purchased from the Apple store. It was mis–labeled and actually came with twice the ram than listed! It’s several years old now, but it has served me well.
- My Asics sneakers on clearance at Dick’s. There aren’t my favorite running shoes ever, but for $25 I can’t complain.
Moral of the story: never underestimate the power of sales, clearance and refurbished items. There are gems to be found.
Thanks again to Larissa for all of her tips! Here are some of the ways you can connect with her:
For some other Healthy Living on the Cheap Spotlights: