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On a Budget? Learn Cheap Ways to Be Healthy

Photo: Use these free or low-cost ways to be healthy and save money at the same time.Use these free or low-cost ways to be healthy and save money at the same time.

Be healthy and save money at the same time. Making smart, healthy choices can help prevent injury, disease, and disability.

Quit smoking.
Smoking is expensive, and that doesn't include the long-term costs associated with disease and other problems that can develop later. It's never too late to quit smoking. Quitting improves your health and reduces your risk for heart disease, cancer, lung disease, certain reproductive problems, and other smoking-related illnesses.

Find affordable health care.
Find health care through federally funded and state-sponsored programs that are free or low-cost. They are offered through hospitals, health centers, public health departments, and clinics. If you qualify, you may also be able to get health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace outside of open enrollment, due to a change in your life – like marriage, divorce, or losing a job and the corresponding health coverage.

Subscribe to text4baby. Get free health text messages for pregnant women and new moms.
Text4baby is a free service that provides pregnant women and new moms with free text messages each week on pregnancy and caring for babies younger than 1 year old. These messages are timed to a woman's due date or the baby's date of birth. Sign up for the service by texting BABY to 511411 (or BEBE in Spanish) to receive free SMS text messages.

Avoid unnecessary antibiotics.
Antibiotics can kill bacteria but not viruses. Taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment.  

Be active.
You don’t need anything fancy, expensive, or complicated to be active. Regular physical activity may help lower your risk for many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Physical activity also helps to control weight, contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and reduces falls among older adults. Adults should be active for at least 2½ hours a week and do strengthening activities at least 2 days a week.

Mix it up for meal planning.
Use canned or dried beans in recipes instead of meat. Have an “ingredient” potluck. When you invite your friends to come over, ask them to bring one of the ingredients, and then make the dish together! Depending on the recipe, canned and frozen veggies can work just as well as the fresh kind. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

Both babies and mothers benefit from breastfeeding. Breast milk is free, is easy to digest, and contains antibodies that can protect infants from infections. Women who breastfeed may also have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers.

Drink water.
Choosing water keeps you from drinking something else that may be loaded with calories and sugar. For a quick, easy, and cheap thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle, and refill it throughout the day. Make water more appealing by keeping it cold in the fridge or by adding a slice of fruit for flavor. Drinking fluoridated water helps protect against tooth decay. Tap water is fine to drink.

Stretch that dollar.
Take control of the amount of food that ends up on your plate. If eating out, split an entrée with a friend. Or, ask for a to-go box and wrap up half your meal as soon as it's brought to the table. Compare costs.

Put prevention to work.
Every day, all day, we make decisions that impact our health. Take steps to prevent illness, unwanted conditions, injury, and disease. Wear seatbelts, get vaccinations, use condoms and birth control correctly and consistently, install and test smoke alarms, prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, get enough sleep, and take precautions as a medical tourist. These are only a few of the many ways to stay healthy and save money.

  • Page last reviewed: April 30, 2014
  • Page last updated: April 30, 2014
  • Content source:
    • CDC Office of Women's Health
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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