A Broke-Ass Guide to Health and Wellness

Back in my early 30s living in New York, I subsisted on slices from the pizzeria downstairs, copious amounts of coffee, and wine. Fitness was simple…I belonged to no gym, but my workout consisted of running in some form or another: to the subway, from the subway, up and down the stairs to the street, sometimes in the snow (a.k.a. resistance training), to a date, from a date, and to a bar before the close of happy hour.

Now that I’m on the other side of 35 and a part-time stepmother, my priorities have drastically changed. Late nights/early mornings are not due to a hot DJ set or gallery opening, but a work deadline or toddler who refuses to sleep. Quinoa has replaced pizza as my main staple. I am on first-name basis with every microdermabrasion needle in the city, and my daily deal filters are automatically set to send me every Botox/Juvaderm/Restylane offer there is. The point being…as the years go by “young and beautiful” takes work, even when the “broke” remains.

What to do if you’re “financially challenged” but still want to eat organic, keep your chi flowing in the right direction, and still pull off lying about your age? Well my fellow broke-asses, you can still look and feel like a million bucks without spending it.  Your body will thank you later.

Massage Schools
Being broke is stressful! Getting a massage from a student is a great, affordable way to unwind while giving them the practice hours and credits they need for graduation. Many schools, such as the SF School for Massage or Swedish Institute in New York operate clinics where you can receive bodywork services for a small fee.

Community Acupuncture
In addition to being spiritual and relaxing, this centuries-old modality is finally recognized by western medicine for its medical benefits.  But if your insurance doesn’t cover it (or you are uninsured), community acupuncture provides affordable treatments. These clinics, which have sprouted up in most cities including San Francisco and New York, charge sliding scale fees ranging from $15 to $40, or whatever you can pay. Treatments are typically performed in a community room, with 2-4 other patients, but consultations are done privately and discreetly without everyone knowing your  business like the regularity of your cycles or frequency of bowel movements.

Clipping Groupons
Thanks to LivingSocial, Groupon, and other social coupon sites, you can enjoy yoga, pilates, and other body treatments for a fraction of the cost. Recently, I bought a block of 20 yoga classes for $10 – which averages $2 a class. I also treated myself to a series of 3 microdermabrasion facials for $90 and a massage for $35.

Farmers Markets
Farmers Markets are truly the markets of the people, a guaranteed source of seasonal produce fresh from the farm to your table. Eliminate the middle man (the grocery/convenience store), and you reduce the cost as well as the amount of pesticides/chemicals used to brighten and sparkle produce. Shopping at the farmers markets means you buy locally and eat seasonably, which is not only good for the environment (saving transportation costs and emissions), but harmonizes with your body, ensuring you align your diet with the seasons.  All this without having to stand in line with size 00 trophy wives who worship at the altar of personal trainers and buy $8 bottled water.

 San Francisco

MASSAGE SCHOOLS

San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork
475 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103
 (415) 474-4600
www.sfschoolofmassage.com

McKinnon Institute of Massage
2940 Webster St
Oakland, CA 94609
(510) 465-3488
www.mckinnonmassage.com

COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE

Community Circle Acupuncture
1351 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 864-1070
www.circleca.com/

San Francisco Community Acupuncture
220 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 675-8973
www.missionsfca.com

FARMERS MARKETS

Alemany Farmers Market
100 Alemany Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 647-9423
Saturdays 6 am to 2:30 pm

Heart of the City Farmers’ Market
1182 Market St
(between 8th St & Grove St)
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 558-9455
Wednesday 7 am -5:30 pm, Sunday 7 am – 5pm
 

New York

MASSAGE SCHOOLS
The Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences
226 West 26th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 924-5900×141

New York College of Health Professions (various locations, Manhattan and Long Island)
(acupuncture and bodywork/massage)
516/364-0808 ext. 104
 

COMMUNITY ACUPUNCTURE
City Acupuncture
139 Fulton St, #208
New York, NY 10038
(212) 513-0437
http://cityacu.net/www.cityacu.net/Home.html

Brooklyn Acupuncture Project
530 3rd Ave, Ste 4F
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 369-0123
www.brooklynacupunctureproject.com

FARMERS MARKETS
Union Square Greenmarket
1 Union Sq W (btwn 16th and 17th)
New York, NY 10003
 (212) 788-7476
www.cenyc.org/greenmarket/
 Monday, Wednesday, Friday-Saturday,  8 am-6pm

 Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
Prospect Park West & Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
www.cenyc.org/node/272
Saturdays 8 am-4 pm  

Photo credit: Colorado Community Acupuncture Alliance

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About the author

Nancy Roberts - Pennysaving Plume

Nancy Roberts, who spent the better half of her adult life slinging copy for ad agencies, is plotting her escape from corporate life to help people eat well and feel good. While she tries to live a healthy life, she will cop to watching copious amounts of Jersey Shore. Acknowledgement of the problem is the first step toward recovery.
  • http://www.sfiec.edu Beth Morse

    Just to add to this wonderful article….if you are interested in extremely reasonable skincare and waxing, check out The San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology. You get an amazing facial with all professional products and save a bundle. SCORE!!!!

  • Maria

    Great article! By the way, $20 for 10 yoga classes actually is only 50 cents per class. It’s a deeper discount than you let on ;) Gotta love Groupon.

  • Nancy Roberts – Pennysaving Plume

    Thanks so much Maria! And lol…math was never my strong suit. :)