This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
The terms “wedding planning” and “budgeting” go together like two peas in a pod. If there’s ever a time in your life when it actually seems easy to tighten the purse strings your engagement is it. After all, your dream wedding is a huge reward for those months of penny pinching.
But keeping an eye on the bottom line shouldn’t mean cutting out expenses that actually matter. If you haven’t left room in your wedding budget for health and fitness, it might be time to look again.
What Not To Do To Save Money For Your Wedding
Skipping personal training sessions and downgrading your grocery list may seem like smart cost-cutting techniques in the short term, but you have to think about the bigger picture. Investing in your health and fitness will not only ensure that you look and feel fantastic on your wedding day, it will also help to reduce the (more expensive) costs of getting sick.
Of course that doesn’t mean shelling out thousands on expensive gym memberships, or only buying organic food. But it does mean finding the healthy middle ground between eating dinner at that famous vegan restaurant and buying something from McDonalds.
Fortunately you can save money and still maintain that healthy honeymoon-ready body with these 8 simple hacks.
How To Live Healthy On A Wedding Budget
1. Cook More At Home
A super simple way to save money is by cooking more at home. Not only is eating out expensive (you’re not only paying for the food, but also the service, the atmosphere, and the convenience) it can also pack loads of hidden calories into your meal. Restaurants want to serve food that you can’t get enough of, which usually translates as fat, sugar, and salt.
The easy way to get started cooking at home is to choose a few simple recipes that you can make ahead of time. Having food already prepared makes it easy to commit to healthy eating, and leaves you more time for fun with your fiancé.
2. Buy Non-Trendy Foods
To save money in the grocery store you need to be strategic (and rather boring). Make a list of the essentials and be willing to swap your go-to ingredients for those on special. Most importantly, you need to waltz right on past the trendy new “superfoods” section and stick to purchasing classic and cheap (but still super) foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, and grains.
You only have to look at photos from our grandparent’s generation to notice that almost everyone was slim and healthy — and they didn’t even have spirulina or goji berries! What?! Buying unpackaged foods in their most natural state is a win for your body and your bank account.
3. Follow the Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen
No, I’m not talking about your wedding night! Cheeky! The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen are two lists created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that outlines which foods have the highest amount of pesticide residue (the Dirty Dozen) and the lowest (the Clean Fifteen).
If it’s on the Dirty Dozen, you should buy it organic, or don’t buy it at all. If it’s a Clean Fifteen food you can save your dollars and choose conventional.
Eating foods that are high in chemical residue can create inflammation in the body that might lead to allergies, illness and weight gain. It’s a pretty simple switch to make, but if organic isn’t in your budget all you have to do is choose a different food. Here’s the list for your convenience:
The Dirty Dozen (plus)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas (imported)
- (Additional items that cause concern are hot peppers and blueberries)
The Clean 15
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
4. Cut your alcohol consumption in half
Drinking less alcohol means half the calories and half the cost. You might choose to have certain alcohol free nights during the week, or reduce the size of your pour when having a drink.
In addition to being a source of empty calories, alcohol is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration and water weight gain. Too much alcohol at night also affects sleep quality, and there’s nothing like a hangover to make poor food and fitness choices the next day.
Instead try sipping on low sugar kombucha, infused waters, or make a spritzer with half white wine and half club soda.
5. Walk more than you drive
Getting in shape isn’t rocket science, but it does take consistent, daily action. 10,000 steps a day is the baseline for good health and fitness, but reaching that goal isn’t as easy as you might think. A simple way to get more movement into your day is to walk more than you drive. This burns calories, saves fuel costs and is a terrific way to gently tone the muscles in your lower body.
Start by choosing to walk more often to complete errands. If you do drive, park further away from the store and get in those extra steps that way.
6. Find community workout classes
Many studios schedule lower-priced classes during off-peak hours, often called “community class”. Rather than paying a whopping $25 per session for hot yoga after work, you can join in the lunchtime flow for $8.
Other ideas for free-fitness include joining a Meetup group, or checking out local athletic-wear stores, such as Nike, Lululemon and Athleta, which often hold free classes on the weekend.
7. Make date night active
Instead of heading to the movies for date night (hello, expensive tickets and unhealthy popcorn) choose to do something active with your fiancé. You could practice your first dance, play frisbee in the park, or get your friends together for an evening sports match followed by a pot-luck.
Exercise boosts those feel-good endorphins, which can make you feel more connected — and even more in love — with your partner.
Put your gym membership on hold and try an at-home workout program
Is your current gym routine helping you reach your pre-wedding fitness goals? Or are you wasting time (and money) just walking on the treadmill? Having a structured workout program is key to getting great results in less time, and there are many great workout programs that you can do at home.
Help finance your honeymoon with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.
Bio: Jennifer Dene is passionate about helping busy women transform their lives through simple nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle advice. She empowers women to prioritize self-care and adopt a vibrant, healthy relationship around food and fitness. She is a writer, speaker, celebrity Pilates instructor, personal trainer and health coach and blogs at jenniferdenewellness.com
Download your free 7 day wedding workout program from Mind Body Bride here: (http://mindbodybride.com/bombshell-bride-workout-calendar)
You can connect with Jennifer via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or socially at: