Though the connection isn’t usually made, there are ways to get healthier and save money at the same time. This is the opposite of what most people think happens. It’s usually thought that you actually have to spend more money in order to improve your health.
The money would be spent on buying leaner meats, organic vegetables, more trips to the doctor, and even expensive gym memberships. In truth, it’s possible – even easy – to combine both getting healthier and saving money.
Here are some ways to do that, and you can probably come up with more if you spend some time thinking about it.
1. Quit Smoking
This one is listed first, because it is the first bad habit that a doctor will tell you to eliminate if you happen to be a smoker. The health risks of smoking are too numerous to mention here, but they are the type that usually end up costing you in both health and money as you get older. This is probably the single best step you can take to improve your health.
Source of saving money: Eliminating the cost of cigarettes, not to mention cleaning bills for your clothing and cars.
2. Prepare More Meals At Home
According to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 43% of all food is consumed away from home. That was as of 2012, and the percentage is a record high.
Though restaurant meals are usually convenient, it’s almost always a negative from a health perspective. Restaurant meals tend to be packed with fat, salt, and sugar. We can all do with a lot less of all three of those, and that’s why it’s best to minimize the frequency of eating in a restaurant. Avoiding it will help your weight and your cholesterol and blood pressure readings.
Source of saving money: The cost of restaurant meals.
3. Reduce Consumption Of Packaged Meals
Packaged meals from a grocery store are something of the half way between restaurant meals and eating at home. Like restaurant meals, they are packed with the fat, salt, and sugar. But they are consumed at home, which makes it feel a lot less like eating out – even though the net effect is basically the same from a health standpoint.
Source of saving money: Packaged meals may be less expensive than eating in a restaurant, but they are still much more expensive than home-cooked food on a pound-for-pound basis.
4. Walk To Your Errands If They’re Within A Mile
Cars are so common that they have become something of an extension of our legs. Where they were once used only to drive substantial distances, today people use them just to go around the block. Instead of driving everywhere, plan to walk anywhere you need to go if it’s within a mile from home. This will provide you with exercise that you are not getting as a result of driving everywhere.
If you simply need to go to the bank, the post office, or even get your hair done, if it’s within a mile from home try walking rather than driving. The health benefits of walking are enormous. And though you may not be able to do it in severe or inclement weather, you could probably do a lot more than you think. And it’s good for both maintaining weight and improving your heart function.
Source of saving money: Gas and wear and tear on your car from excessive use. It also reduces the likelihood of auto accidents.
5. Cut Back On Non-Prescription Medications
If you’re in the habit of popping over-the-counter pills every time you have a cold or an ache or pain, you can probably avoid this with simple substitutes. For example, instead of taking a couple of Tylenol when you have a headache, take a nap in a quiet place for 30 minutes or so. It will generally have the same effect as the pills, but none of the negative side effects. If your stomach is upset, try having a cup of hot tea to settle it down.
None of us have an accurate idea as to what the long-term effects of overuse of non-prescription medications will be. And since everyone’s body chemistry is unique, it’s best to not push the envelope too far.
Source of saving money: The cost of over-the-counter medications.
6. Become A More Conservative Driver
By becoming a more conservative driver, you lower the risk substantially that you will be involved in an injury-sustaining accident. But even more important, is avoiding the types of injuries that could lead to permanent physical or mental impairment. Just slowing down a little bit, taking care to brake at intersections and stop signs, and being more aware of other road hazards will reduce your chances of getting involved in an accident considerably.
Source of saving money: Lower gas costs from driving slower, and less wear and tear on your vehicle. Maintaining a clean driving record will also avoid traffic citations and insurance surcharges.
7. Forget The Gym Membership And Work Out At Home
There’s no doubt that regular exercise has positive health benefits. This is particularly true in regard to weight control and maintaining a healthy circulatory system. There’s even a considerable amount of evidence in support of improved mental health.
But that doesn’t mean that you need to have an expensive gym membership. Most of the exercise that you need to do can be done in your home or on the street. You can walk, jog or bike around your neighborhood, and you could always do calisthenics, yoga, push-ups and sit-ups in your home.
Source of saving money: The hundred dollars per year that you will spend on a gym membership.
8. Reduce Your Meat Consumption
Lean meats are expensive, and while the fattier meats are easier on the budget, they’re also a major source of fat into the body. Cutting back on them can help improve your heart health. It’s also suspected that high meat consumption may be the cause of certain types of cancer.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you need to eliminate meat from your diet, but cutting back could improve your overall health. This is particularly true if you come up with healthy substitutes, such as beans and plenty of vegetables.
Source of saving money: Meat is one of the most expensive commodities in the grocery basket. Cutting back on it will lead to a lower grocery bill.
9. Learn To Entertain At Home
If you like to hang out with your friends in restaurants and bars, you’re putting yourself at Ground Zero for consumption of meals packed with fat, salt, and sugar, as well as higher consumption of alcohol. From a health standpoint, this is a dangerous combination.
If you learn to entertain at home, you’ll have more control over the meals that you eat, and even whether or not you consume alcohol. You’ll also eliminate the dangerous practice of driving home from a restaurant or bar after you’ve had a few drinks.
Source of saving money: Restaurants and bars are expensive places to hang out with friends. You’ll be cutting back substantially on your entertainment costs by entertaining home. This can also have a ripple effect if your friends start doing the same thing, inviting you over to their homes.