Building Muscle On A Budget

Paying too much for groceries? Outgrowing your clothes? Can't afford whey protein? Follow these tips, save money and get the results you want.

Building Muscle On A BudgetThere always seems to be an excuse but even in these harsh economic times; a determined bodybuilder can continue to make good gains while on a tight budget.  With a little effort and some creativity, your gains will continue to come. As they say, where there is a will there is a way.

It’s All How You Spend Your $$$$

Think about it; we all have choices. We choose this lifestyle, and so let’s take a moment to look at our lifestyle. While others may not be so understanding in our high consumption of nutritious food, protein powders and supplements, it’s all how you see it.

The other day I was in the grocery store in the checkout line. The guy in front of me had just shelled out over $160.00. Hmm, I couldn’t help but look as his items rolled by me on the conveyer belt. I watched as he proceeded to unload his cart with boxed potatoes, processed meats, sugary cereal, canned Hamburger Helper, soda, beer and not to mention an assortment of pastries and French bread from the bakery. You get the idea.

Again I say, a grand total of $160.00 for what I have to ask? My cart was packed pretty high with nutritious food, chicken, eggs, beef, oatmeal, fresh fruits and veggies. I spent under $100.00.

As I glanced behind me, I couldn’t help but notice what was in this person’s cart. Once again this guy’s cart was stacked high with canned and processed foods, sugary snacks and sodas.

What Is Wrong With America?

We are all suffering from hard economic times. Why would you choose to make such poor food choices that cost so much? I just don’t get it.

In 2010 the average consumer spent $2,505.00 when eating away from home according to the United States Department of Labor. Average Americans spend about $5.00 a day average on either soda, candy or fast food. Most bodybuilders prepare their meals ahead of time and take them with them on the go. This in turn saves money. In the same vein, let’s take a look at people who choose to live a healthy lifestyle.

Bodybuilders may spend money on supplements but when millions of Americans are on prescription drugs for every ache and pain and suffering from diabetes and obesity from poor diets, we can justify our supplements!

Exercise not only makes us look good and feel good; it lowers our chances of needing medications and requiring expensive medical care. Consequently, exercise affects us daily in positive ways. It improves our self-image and in turn affects how others see us. We are happier with ourselves and therefore happier with the people in our lives.

Both our family and friends reap the rewards from our fitness endeavors. Our bodies sleep better at night. We also tend to be more disciplined in our daily routines.  People who work out regularly are more dedicated to getting to work on time and are less likely to call in sick. Exercise also provides us with continued energy, so we are able to be more productive while we are on the clock. And what employer doesn’t like that?

But I digress, let’s get to the nitty gritty!

Shopping Cart

Building Muscle On A Budget​

Keep Your Grocery Bill In Check

Let’s face it, we can eat an awful lot of food, and it can get pricey. Fish, chicken and meats can put a dent in our wallet quickly. Many cheap alternatives are available. Eggs are a wonderful source of protein. You can also buy cartons of the liquid eggs so the yolks won’t go to waste. Both brown and white rice are very inexpensive and very filling. As much as I love cottage cheese for a p.m. snack, I have to consume so many containers of it! I have found in the long run that it is cheaper to buy a jug of casein which will last me for thirty days. You can only imagine how many cartons of cottage cheese one can go through in a month.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box. You may have a hidden treasure in your town that you are unaware of such as a meat market. You may be able to work out a deal where you buy so many pounds of meat a month and get a pretty good discount. Most small mom and pop businesses are willing to work out a deal with you if they know you will be a regular customer. In the long run, this works out to be a lot cheaper than a weekly trip to the grocery store.

Also check in your area to see if you have a fish market; determine when the day’s catch arrives. Locally grown produce found at roadside stands have not only fresh, but inexpensive produce.  Check your local paper for weekend fresh markets.  Local farmers have a good selection for reasonable prices.

Try Before You Buy

Almost everyone I know involved in fitness swears by their protein powder, and it is ‘the best!” So before you decide to invest in a new protein powder, look to your fellow gym rats. Not only ask their likes and dislikes, be so bold to ask to do a trade. Yes this may sound silly but ask a guy about his protein powder that he swears by, and he’ll tell you why it is ‘the best.’ Offer to do a swap. You can’t go wrong testing out the other guy's protein powder.

You may find a new protein powder or flavor you wouldn’t have tried otherwise, maybe something even tastier and easier to digest. Just put one scoop in a Ziploc baggie. I would suggest (double bag it!) If you don’t double zip it, it may leak. Then do an exchange. This also goes for protein bars, casein you get the idea.

Are You Outgrowing Your Clothes?

Now that you have mastered eating good quality food on a budget; you are growing. This is great news and what every bodybuilder wants. But if you are growing, you are probably outgrowing your clothes too. I know when I grow the first thing I outgrow is my pants. One week they fit, and the next week they are so snug in the thighs. What’s a girl or guy to do for that matter?

Clothes are expensive enough and when every month your size changes, so does your wardrobe. I don’t know about you, but I would rather spend my money on my food and supplements than on new clothing.

I have come across a great little find. It is called the Goodwill store. Yes that is right. You may be laughing at me right now, but I seriously want you to give it a try. There are Goodwills in just about every city. Yes they sell your grandmother’s household items, but they also sell clothes. Lots and lots of inexpensive clothes.

Let me give you an example; you can find a great pair of designer jeans from $5.00-$7.00. Why spend $30.00-$79.00 for a pair of jeans that you will just outgrow.  Trust me you will not be disappointed.

For the guys they have jeans, t-shirts, thermals, and you may even be able to find some exercise shorts and ball jerseys. Gals have everything from dresses, bathing suits, jeans, t-shirts and cute little tank tops. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. You do not need a lot of money, but you do need to spend some serious time digging through the racks. In fact, celebrities such as Julia Roberts and Daryl Hannah have been spotted at local thrift stores.

Need A Little Extra $$$ For Your Protein Powder Habit?

Try these tips:

Craigslist is a great way to sell your old exercise equipment. You would be surprised what you can sell on Craigslist. Take a look through your belongings, are you really using that? If your answer is no; try to sell it. It is amazing what people will buy.

Go through your (stuff) and your family’s too. I am sure you can rummage up some items to sell. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Ten dollars here and there adds up. How about those old cd’s and DVDs that are collecting dust? Most places that sell used cd’s and DVDs buy old ones too.

In these hard times every little penny helps. Now don’t you feel just a little less guilty about spending your money on YOU.

Conclusion

It’s all how you choose to spend your money.  Millions of Americans make bad food choices and waste their hard earned money. When we choose to live a healthy lifestyle the rewards are greater. So use a little ingenuity, now that you’ve mastered the weights; master your budget!

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About The Author
In 2000 my health was significantly deteriorating due to an autoimmune disease. I got sick of being sick and took matters into my own hands.

5 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 01/24/2013 - 11:20
Terese

great tips! :)

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Posted Sat, 12/01/2012 - 19:04
Lisa

Love the tips and advice.

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Posted Tue, 08/28/2012 - 20:10
Paula

What a great pratical article! So true about the grocery store. I find when I eat clean less money is spent and I'm not just grabbing things off the shelf. Thanks for the straight forward talk, keep it coming!

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Posted Wed, 08/29/2012 - 14:32
Lisa

Hi Paula,

Thanks so much!

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Posted Wed, 08/08/2012 - 16:14
Tina

I love it! No more excuses!