5 Ways a Healthy Lifestyle is Good for Your Wallet Easy upfront investments in your family's health can pay huge dividends in the immediate and future. Here's how. BY ALISON STANTON
Good healthy habits offer a lot of sneaky savings if you know where to look.
“ Some insurance companies encourage their customers to eat right and exercise by offering creative discounts.”
Getting healthy has an unfair reputation for being hard on your budget. Expensive gym memberships, pricey organic foods and hiring a personal trainer are all thought of as luxuries rather than necessities. However, being healthy doesn't have to cost a lot. In fact, making choices that are good for your body can save you a pretty penny. Check out these healthy and budget-friendly tips:
Cut back on unhealthy vices. If you enjoy a venti vanilla latte everyday or smoke a pack or two of cigarettes a week, you are adding extra fat, sugar and toxins into your body and quickly draining your piggy bank. A latte costs about $5 and cigarettes run about $6 a pack. By cutting back the lattes to twice a week, you save $25 and hundreds of calories; quit smoking and you save at least $10 a week and rid your body of nicotine and other harmful chemicals. Smokefree.gov even has a calculator that shows how much money you will save by quitting.
Pay less at the doctor. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting more exercise does more than make you look good; it boosts your immune system, improves your quality of sleep and reduces your stress level. These benefits keep you healthier and lower your risk of getting sick, which means fewer trips to the doctor, less missed days at work and less money spent on over-the-counter and prescription cold and flu medications. Of course, reducing the aforementioned bad vices will also compound these savings.
Improve your concentration. If you exercise on a regular basis, you tend to have an easier time concentrating at work. This means you can get more done in a shorter amount of time. Being on time with your deadlines makes you a more reliable employee who is more likely to get promoted, and you may even be able to leave work a bit earlier and avoid a long and gas-guzzling commute home. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a personal trainer or gym membership to increase the amount of exercise you get; simply acquiring a smartwatch can provide you with enough encouragement to move around more during the day. For example, the Moto 360 and the Apple Watch both feature a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor, which helps you know when you need to get up from your desk and move around a bit.
Earn rewards from your insurance company. Some insurance companies encourage their customers to eat right and exercise by offering creative discounts. For example, Humana insurance offers its members a 10 percent discount for purchasing healthy groceries at Walmart.Vitality, a global wellness company that works with a variety of insurance companies and employers, offers rewards such as health club subsidies and Vitality Bucks that can be spent on health devices, Amazon.com gift cards and more.
Reduce your food bills. Convenience foods may seem less expensive, but they are more costly to your budget and health in the long run. For instance, for the price of a can of salty vegetable soup that lasts a couple of meals, you can purchase enough fresh ingredients to make a giant pot of tasty soup that you can enjoy for days. Cutting back on the number of times you eat out also saves your budget and your waistline; instead of splurging for a cheeseburger, fries and soda at a local restaurant for $10, fix yourself a turkey burger at home and enjoy it with oven baked chips and milk.
Alison has been a freelance writer for the past 15 years. She enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, and always looks for opportunities to learn about new subjects.