Staying Healthy on a Student Budget
As a student, you’re probably spending so much energy (and money!) on your education that you hardly have time to think about your health. However, unhealthy habits add up—whether it’s eating ramen for dinner for the fifth night in a row or the energy drinks you chug to keep you up after an all-nighter, your body will start to feel the effects soon enough. But what do you do when you’re strapped for cash from your latest textbook purchases? If you can’t afford a gym membership or buying your groceries at a health food store, the prospects of a healthy lifestyle may seem dismal to a student at first.
Your health should be one of your top priorities, even when your schedule or your wallet may not suggest that. Besides the obvious physical benefits of a healthy routine, sticking to healthy habits will actually help you concentrate, remember information, and have the energy to keep going through those long days. Start small: there are inexpensive but effective ways you can watch out for your health as a student.
Here are a few ways to stay healthy on a student budget:
Pack smart. There’s room enough in your backpack for stuff besides your books. Carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated, and pack some healthy snacks for study sessions (fruit or granola are great choices). You should also consider packing a healthy lunch if you’re spending all day on campus—that will deter you from spending your hard-earned money on those greasy food trucks parked in front of the library. (I know it is tempting…)
Do your research. Even if you’re really strapped for cash, chances are there are opportunities for you to engage in healthy activities that you aren’t even aware you can afford. For example, are there coupons you could be using to get discounts at health food stores? Do yoga studios or gyms offer student discounts on certain days of the week? Know your options before you give up on your health just because your wallet leaves more to be desired.
Take advantage of on-campus services. Many colleges and universities charge hefty student fees along with their tuition at the beginning of the year (which most students are less than ecstatic about). Instead of doling out your money without a second thought, take a look at the services that are offered to members of your post-secondary institution. Services like gym facilities, counseling, and clinics may be covered under your student fees.
Compromise. Maybe you can’t afford all-organic goods or a luxury gym, but there are certainly ways to construct your own, alternate healthy patterns. Can’t find a treadmill or a personal trainer? Try running in the park instead (and download one of many exercise mobile apps available online). When it comes down to it, your health is your choice—if you really want to stay healthy, you’re going to find a way to do it that doesn’t involve breaking the bank.