6 Healthy Living Tips (For Your Wallet)
You’ve heard it all AND done it all: you’ve made a budget, tracked and slashed your expenses, increased your income, built an emergency fund, etc.
We could go on and on with the typical personal finance advice, but we’d like to address an underrated way to save money: a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, many think healthy living is unaffordable thanks to viral graphics showing how cheap a fast/unhealthy food is compared to fresh greens and lean meats.
Healthy living isn’t as expensive as you think, though; in fact, a healthy lifestyle can save you thousands in the long run, even if it’s not apparent at first.
Follow these tips to save money while keeping your health in tip-top shape.
1.) Watching Your Weight
Keeping those extra pounds at bay can do wonders for your wallet.
See, being overweight increases your chances of experiencing diseases and other maladies such as
- Heart disease
- Some cancers
- High blood pressure
- Breathing issues such as sleep apnea
Many of these (and other unmentioned) diseases can cost you thousands out of pocket if your insurance doesn’t cover
Speaking of insurance, increased risk for these diseases also means your health insurance costs will be higher. So even if you never have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses, you’ll still be losing more of your money to insurance premiums if you’re at an unhealthy weight.
Even life insurance costs increase if you’re unhealthy, as you’re statistically expected to die earlier.
To make sure you do not end up as a statistic, start hitting the gym and taking a look at what you eat. If you are struggling to keep yourself accountable, you can always jump on board with something like HealthyWage which will pay you to lose weight (as a competition).
Financial Health And Fitness
Every tip on this list can facilitate weight management, but exercise and diet are the two most important factors. We’ll cover diet in Tip #4.
When it comes to exercise, many are afraid of looking like a massive bodybuilder if they so much as pick up a weight, so they stick to endless cardio.
It takes years of consistent, dialed-in training and diet to look like the Hulk. Even then, some bodybuilders use performance-enhancing drugs like steroids to look so muscular.
So no need to be afraid of the weights; regular resistance training with proper form and regular progression is one of the world’s healthiest pursuits.
Having significant muscle mass
- Increases metabolism
- Reduces body fat
- Strengthens bones, tendons, and ligaments
- Boosts mood
- Increases energy levels
- Helps correct posture
- Reduces risk of injury (ex. You know how to pick things up in a biomechanincally correct way AND you have the strength to do so)
Although gyms have plenty of resources and equipment so you can get a fun, quality workout in, you don’t need a membership. Going for a walk or (if you’re healthy enough) a run covers your cardio.
Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and pushups grow your muscles without needing to load on any plates.
However, whether through altruistic social responsibility or a desire to reduce risk, some insurance companies actually offer discounts to customers who purchase gym memberships. Those savings alone could cover the cost of the membership!
Lastly, many employers host weight loss challenges with a cash prize for the winners. You can actively earn money (rather than just save money) through healthy habits if you can win your workplace’s weight loss competition.
2.) Reducing Stress
Stress is healthy in certain situations. For example, if you play a sport, you’re probably stressed before the championship game.
But that’s acute stress.
Chronic stress is a silent killer in a world where we concentrate on more obvious but very real health issues like obesity and cancer.
In the short-term, stress can prevent you from thinking clearly. An unclear mind will make worse financial decisions.
Stress over the long term can wreak havoc on your health, though.
Chronic stress can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.
In addition, chronic stress can cause you to skip other tips on this list.
A big example is drugs and alcohol; many people turn to these substances as an escape from their stressful lives. We all know that’s a band-aid solution, but the human mind can only take so much before seeking relief from stress.
Thankfully, there are many ways to “burn” off stress:
- Regular exercise
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga
- Leaning on your support system
- Writing about it (some people find writing about their worries to be quite cathartic)
Those methods are pretty effective at minimizing stress while you address the root cause. However, speaking to a therapist may help you address the root issue so you can actually eliminate the stress.
It’s worth noting that money is unfortunately a significant stressor for a large chunk of the population.
However, actions taken to reduce financial stress will have a snowball effect:
- Reducing financial burden – You’re directly reducing whatever financial burden you have, whether it be debt, expenses, or something else. You directly end up in a better financial situation, regardless of stress reduction.
- Reduces stress – Since you’ve now reduced your financial troubles, you’ll be less stressed. With less stress, you can make better financial decisions.
If you’re stressed financially, just do some activities that burn stress while working on budgeting and increasing your income.
3.) Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Modern society encourages burning the midnight oil to make money and get ahead. However, sleep is one of our body’s most critical processes; not getting enough of it is terrible for your health.
Short-term sleep deprivation can negatively affect your career advancement and earning potential. You’ll perform worse at work, resulting in being passed over for raises/advancement opportunities.
It’s also dangerous to your health, as you’re more likely to get in an accident and hurt yourself.
We all have to make sacrifices sometimes, though. Staying up late every once in awhile is ok if you have a deadline to meet, as long as you can catch up on your sleep debt the next night.
Chronic sleep deprivation gets much worse, though.
When your body is deprived of sleep, many of its functions are compromised. For example, your immune system is much weaker if you aren’t well-rested every night. You’re at a higher risk of getting sick, which could put you out of commission at work.
Long-term sleep deprivation also puts you at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, both of which will cost you a lot down the road.
Lastly, hormone production is affected. Sleep deprivation can lower testosterone levels, which wreaks havoc on the body, especially men’s bodies since they have a lot of it. Lower testosterone is associated with fatigue, loss of muscle, weakening of the bones, fat gain, moodiness, worse memory creation, and even lack of sleep.
All of this will affect your earning potential and make it hard to make wise financial decisions.
So although we live in a culture that encourages behaviors that sideline sleep, it’s actually terrible for your health and your wallet to not get enough shut-eye.
Here are some tips for getting more and better sleep:
- Deep, focused breathing while in bed
- Writing in a journal every night before bed
- Cutting of screen usage at least an hours before bed
- Slashing caffeine use
- Cutting off caffeine use as early in the day as possible
- Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol/tobacco usage, especially near bedtime
Some of these might cure your sleep issues if they aren’t severe, but you should talk to your doctor as you take these steps to get better sleep.
4.) Avoiding Junk Food
On the surface, a healthy diet looks much pricier than an unhealthy one. A viral image comparing the price of a Big Mac to a salad comes to mind.
The truth is that although a healthy diet looks a little more expensive on its face, it actually saves you tons of money.
Buying In Bulk
It’s possible to buy your ingredients in bulk to close the gap between unhealthy snacks and wholesome, gourmet meals. Plus, you’ll save time on grocery trips by cutting down your grocery store visits.
Warehouse clubs like Costco are great places to stock up on healthy foods at low prices as long as you make good use of your membership fee.
Sure, a $0.99 bag of chips might be cheaper AND easier to prepare than chicken breast and steamed veggies, but those chips do almost nothing to fill you up since they’re mostly refined carbs.
In fact, they might actually mess with your hunger hormones to keep you hungry, thus causing your brain to urge you to buy more. You’ll consume too many calories while burning through your cash.
Unprocessed foods like lean meat and veggies fill you up much more quickly, allowing you to feel satisfied without
Many people feel “brain fog” after consuming junk food. It becomes harder to focus, and the thought of an afternoon catnap becomes almost unbearably tempting. Say goodbye to peak work performance.
Replacing the junk food with an unprocessed, balanced diet will keep you energy levels stable all day and boost your mood, both of which can indirectly affect earning potential at work.
Not only that, but a clearer mind helps you make better financial decisions. You won’t be tempted to waste money on lots of junk once your mind is clear and you feel the other benefits of a healthy diet.
5.) Dining Out Less
Dining out takes a large chunk out of your wallet. The food might be delicious, yes, but you’re paying a much higher price for the convenience of a professionally-prepared meal as well as funding the restaurant’s other overhead costs.
You also have to tip your server/bartender.
Even dining out at fast food restaurants can cost you more than preparing your meals at home for many of the same reasons as Tip #4. Fast food is best used in a pinch, such as during travel.
Dining out at sit-down restaurant should not serve as your regular source of food. Save the dining out for date nights or client wining and dining.
6.) Avoiding Alcohol/Tobacco
Alcohol and tobacco habits are quite bad for both your health and your wallet.
First of all, you need to buy these things in order to consume them. That wouldn’t be bad in and of itself, except consuming these doesn’t tend to benefit you in any tangible way (alcohol can be of benefit in some situations, but it’s usually not).
But these substances are addictive, too. Once you get hooked on cigarettes, you can quickly find yourself up to smoking a pack a day. Your average pack of cigarettes is around $6, meaning you’re spending somewhere between $160-$200 per month on your smoking habit.
Same with alcohol. Even the bottom shelf stuff adds up if you’re a heavy/daily drinker to about the same degree as cigarettes. If you regularly indulge in both of these, you can bump up that $160-$200 a month to $320-$400 a month.
Sounds expensive, right?
Well, we haven’t even covered the long-term effects of using these substances heavily.
Cigarettes have been proven time and again to contribute to a variety of cancers and other diseases, which can cost tens of thousands and of course put your life in danger. Thus, you’ll pay more in health insurance AND you may be burdening yourself and your family with out-of-pocket medical expenses in the future.
On top of that, a smoking addiction can cause you to take multiple additional smoke breaks at work, leaving you less time to get in the zone and do your job.
Heavy alcohol use/abuse can lead to various cancers, alcohol poisoning (a more immediate effect) liver cirrhosis, heart disease, infertility, birth defects in pregnant women,
It doesn’t stop there, though.
Regular, heavy imbibing can lead to a lack of quality sleep and bad hangovers. Your performance at work will suffer, which could cause you to lose out on raises, advancement opportunities, and even get you fired if it goes too far.
Lastly, some jobs actually test for alcohol and tobacco in addition to illicit drugs. Healthcare tends to test or these substances, as well as some industries that involve driving or heavy machinery operation.
Simply making a choice to abstain from these substances can prevent from you falling into a financial hole, keep you healthy and strong, and maximize your earning potential.
Trim Your Waistline And Fatten Your Wallet
See? Healthy living might appear expensive on the surface, but the reality is you can save countless dollars over your life by making a few lifestyle changes.
Of course, a healthy lifestyle provides plenty of other practical benefits, like
- Improved mood
- Increased physical prowess
- More confidence
- Higher self-esteem
- More social opportunities
- Potential new hobbies
- Less chronic pain/inflammation
- More energy to play with your children if you’re a parent
- Reduced chance of injury
And many more.
Slowly implement these tips into your life and before you know it, you’ll be trimming your waistline while fattening your wallet, exactly as it should be.