Healthy Living on a Budget

woman in a kitchen after a shopping trip

With the COVID-19 crisis, times are tough and many of us are looking for ways to save. When you’re on a tight budget, your health should still take priority. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family healthy without breaking the bank. 

Canadians are more health-conscious and aware than ever. We have constant access to information and exposure to health fads and influencers, and seemingly unlimited choices of natural, organic whole foods and healthier personal care and household products.

Also, the trend of environmental sustainability looms large in healthy lifestyles. Our shopping decisions have become about more than what items we pop in our cart – but their impact on the environment in its manufacturing, use and disposal.

Despite this increased access to resources for healthier, more earth-conscious lifestyles – many people feel that living a green, natural, sustainable and healthy lifestyle may be out of reach financially. Not so!

Here’s our guide to healthy living on a budget.

Organic is for Everyone!

We all need to eat, so why not consume in a way that protects the environment, promotes personal health and supports rural communities? That said, “I don’t eat organic because it’s too expensive.” is a common refrain.

Although some organic foods may cost more than conventional options, this isn’t always the case. You can reduce costs while reaping the benefits of incorporating more organic foods into your diet, with these five tips:

Some fruits and vegetables tend to be treated with more pesticides and herbicide than others in conventional farming. Each year, the Environmental Working Group releases guides that breakdown the least, and most commonly contaminated fruits and veggies. The latest dirty dozen guide and clean fifteen can help you make decisions on what you spend your organic dollars on.

Shop in Season and Preserve for Later

When fruits and vegetables are in season, they’re not only at their peak in terms of taste and quality, but also, in affordability.

In Canada, we have a bountiful growing season and lots of options for fresh organic foods grown right here at home. Throughout the summer months and even into the fall, stock up on what’s in season, then freeze, can or ferment for later!

  • Berries are the perfect, nutritionally dense fruit for freezing, and it can be costly to find organic during the winter months. Stocking your freezer with bags of fresh in-season berries throughout the summer months gives you the joy of adding organic berries to your smoothie, oatmeal and healthy desserts year-round.
  • You can also easily freeze vegetables, such as squash, pumpkin, tomatoes and even corn. All of these can later be added to your soups, stews and sauces during the winter.
  • Get familiar with home canning and preserving safety, as well as safe food handling and storage practices.

Household Cleaners You can DIY

Healthy living extends into our home environment and “green” housekeeping practices protect the health of you and your family without impacting the environment.

There is a wide variety of natural cleaners and detergents available, ranging in basic to high-end, but there’s another approach to keeping your house clean and green on a budget – and that’s making household products from items you probably already have kicking around the kitchen!

There are some basic – and inexpensive – household staples that double as very effective cleaning ingredients:

  • Salt can be used to deodorize, absorb stains and act as an efficient scrubber.
  • Vinegar’s acidic quality makes glass sparkle, makes a great fabric softener and thoroughly cleans even the grungiest surfaces.
  • Baking soda has gentle abrasive qualities that can lift stains and is also an awesome deodorizer.

Looking for some frugal yet effective cleaning product inspiration? Check out The DIY Approach to Green Cleaning.

Get Organized and Shop Strategically

Take advantage of sales to stock up on healthy items. Whether it’s natural toothpaste or sweet potatoes, stocking up on organic food and greener, cleaner household items at a reduced price means you can have a freezer/pantry/bathroom cupboard stocked with regular items when you need them.

Some other simple, organizational tips include:

  • Making a list and sticking to it. This way, you can shop according to your needs and stay within your budget.
  • Clipping coupons. Sales flyers and online coupons can bring down the cost of natural products. A simple visit to your favorite products’ websites can lead to savings almost every time!
  • Shopping in bulk. Bulk shopping on grains, legumes and other staples generally comes with reduced cost, and you can bring in reusable containers, so you skip the packaging.
  • Meal planning. Planning means less reliance on convenience foods and impulse purchases – plus cooking from scratch adds up to healthier, less expensive meals every time.

Finally – Shop at Your Local CHFA Member Health Food Store

When shopping for the healthiest food and wellness products visit your local CHFA member retailer. Not only will you get the best selection of organic foods and natural products; you’ll be up to date on sales, special promotions and featured items.  You will also have access to a wide selection of everyday and specialty products for a healthy, natural, sustainable lifestyle you can feel great about.

  1. Health Canada, Food and nutrition, Food safety General food safety tips. (2013). Home Canning Safety. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/general-food-safety-tips/home-canning-safety.html
  2. Health Canada, Food and nutrition, Food safety General food safety tips. (2017). Safe Food Handling in the Home. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/general-food-safety-tips/safe-food-handling-home.html

As part of the senior leadership team, Michelle develops implements and leads communication initiatives that support the strategic priorities of the Association. She is responsible for overseeing the integrated communications strategy including both internal and external communications, the management of all public relations, marketing, advertising and member communications.