Reducing the Cost of Vitamins and a Healthy Lifestyle
In the first article of this series, I explained how expensive buying fruits, vegetables, and vitamins can be. I also discussed the high cost of joining a gym in order to exercise. Though those things are all costly, they aren’t really optional for those of us battling macular degeneration.
Money saving tips
In the second article in this series, I am going to give some tips on how to save money on these things to make them more affordable for us all! I’ll also explain how I incorporate these things into my daily routine because I know that sometimes the cost of these things is not the only part of them that can feel overwhelming.
Important eye-healthy nutrients
Certain nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, are very important to the health of our eyes. These specific nutrients are not created naturally within our bodies, so if we want them we need to ingest them in one way or another.
In my opinion, it’s always best to get our nutrients via the foods we eat. But, I know that’s easier said than done. For example, I am not a seafood lover, but I know I want to nourish my eyes with omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils). Since I won’t eat fish, I supplement this nutrient with vitamins. More information on vitamins coming up later in this article.
My eye-healthy meals
My most nourishing meal of the day is usually my lunch, especially on workdays. I prepare 5 salads for myself on Sundays to quickly grab-and-go each day of the week. My mentality is that I can only eat what I bring with me for lunch...I can’t eat a bag of chips if I didn’t bring one to eat! I also try really hard to eat a healthy breakfast and dinner, but honestly, most of my eye-healthy nutrients come from the veggies I eat in my salads: spinach, orange and yellow bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, olives...things like that.
4 ways to cut down the cost of produce
Here is a list of ways I successfully cut down on the costs of fruits and veggies:
- Start a home garden. This is not only a much cheaper way to get some fruits and veggies we love, but it’s also fun and a great way to learn new things and be active.
- Buy what’s in season. Right now, I can get peaches and plums (my favorite!) fairly cheap, but if I buy them in the winter I’d be paying a hefty price for them.
- Freeze fruits and veggies to be used later. When produce is in season or on sale I stock up and google how to prepare them for my freezer. Each fruit and vegetable freezes differently so it’s important to know ‘how’ to prepare them. For example, if I want to freeze those peaches I love for healthy smoothies in the winter, the internet taught me to blanch them (lightly boil to loosen skin), peel them, slice them, freeze them flat for an hour, and then place in air sealed and dated zipper bags for later. I also love to freeze fresh green beans and other veggies for fall and winter soups!
- Search ads for coupons and deals when you walk into the store. Stores want you to buy their food and they’re pretty proud of themselves when things are on sale. Take advantage of this.
Eye vitamins and supplements
For those of us with macular degeneration, it is imperative that if we don’t get our eye-healthy nutrients into our bodies via the foods we eat, we should try to get them through vitamin supplementation. Certain nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, are very important to the health of our eyes. These specific nutrients are not created naturally within our bodies, so if we want them we need to ingest them in one way or another.
My vitamin routine
I take all of my vitamins each morning with my breakfast. This routine ensures I don’t forget and since it’s early in the day, I can check it off of my to-do list. Also, I do take quite a handful of supplements, so taking them with breakfast prevents my stomach from hurting (as sometimes vitamins can cause this on an empty stomach).
Quick Tip: Before taking any new vitamin or supplement, it’s a great idea to discuss possible choices with our doctor. We all have different needs when it comes to vitamin supplementation. We also all react differently to them.
4 ways to reduce the cost of eye vitamins
Here is a list of ways I successfully cut down on vitamin costs:
- Check online for discounts. For example, my acidophilus supplement is currently buy one get one FREE at my local drug store. My children’s probiotic gummies are currently buy one get one 30% off at the store I generally purchase them from. Sometimes the store offers a $5 gift card with purchase of two bottles. I can even find them at buy one, get one ½ off (this is the price I usually look for to stock up...which leads me to my next point)...
- Stock up! When your vitamins are on sale, get more than you need and stock up. Be sure to check expiration dates if you do this, but vitamins generally have a long enough shelf life to grab a few extra when you can look for coupons online. For example, I can ‘Google’ Ocuvite and their website has a ‘Get Coupon’ button I can click for a $3 off coupon. Easy $3 I get to keep in my pocket. I know that Bausch and Lomb do this as well for those of you that take AREDS formulas.
- Consider buying store-brand supplements. When doing this, check the ingredients carefully to be sure you’re taking what you want to take. I buy store brand acidophilus and CoQ10 and save money that way.
- Ask your doctor’s office for samples. These sample boxes not only give you a few to try, but also generally come with a coupon inside.
Exercise and macular degeneration
In the first article in this series, I explained that exercising is important for those of us struggling with macular degeneration for a few reasons. Exercising allows the nutrients we ingest to be absorbed into our bodies with their full potential. It also helps us maintain a healthier body weight. The lighter our weight is, the less pressure is pulling on our retinas. The more pressure, the more opportunity for a problem such as a retinal tear. I explain these things fully in an article titled Why People with Macular Degeneration Don’t Just Exercise to Get Skinny.
My exercise routine
I really enjoy exercise! I try to get moving as much as I can, but pencil in my workouts for early mornings before the rest of my family wakes up. Exercising is such a feel-good way to start the day, and checking it off of the to-do list by getting it done early feels even better!
Quick tip: If you haven’t found an exercise routine that works for you yet, experiment! Try new things, look for something fun that you’ll enjoy. If we enjoy exercising, we are more likely to stick with it. Exercising is not just a membership to the gym and just because early mornings work best for me does not mean that’s the optimal time for you.
5 tips on reducing the cost of exercise
Here is a list of ways I successfully cut down on (or eliminate completely) the costs to exercise:
- Reduced gym membership fees. If you enjoy going to the gym, there are times of the year where membership fees are waived or monthly payments are lowered. Keep an eye out for these deals. January is the cheapest time to join the gym.
- Exercise can be cheap or FREE! Walk the dog, run/jog, garden (also cuts down on those high veggie costs - two birds, one stone!), swim, hike, play ball with the kiddos...find something you enjoy doing that gets that heart pumping!
- Remember, small changes can make a big difference. Maybe try parking the car at the back of the lot and walk to the doors instead of waiting for that front spot or take the stairs instead of the elevator?
- Getting a step tracker can be a motivator for activity. For me, it seems easier to be active when I have a step goal to reach. Step trackers nowadays can be very inexpensive and also go on sale frequently. Plus, walking is free!
- Be productive. Sometimes just doing everyday things like cleaning the house or grocery shopping can really get us moving!
You don't always have to pay outrageous amounts to keep healthy habits. Our eyes depend on these healthy habits, so we must find ways to reach our goals without spending an arm and a leg. Get creative and share ideas here, please! I'm always open to more ways to save money!
You don't have to give up the things you need to help keep your eyes healthy. Get creative!
Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?