How To Save Your Health and Wealth at the Same Time
Posted Jun 10 2009 12:35am
Your health is your life, and your wealth represents the fruits of your labor. I assume you don’t want to be wasteful with either of them. Here’s how to save both at the same time:
So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health. - A.J. Reb Materi
Reduce Your Consumption of Drugs – That includes alcohol, cigarettes, over the counter, prescription and otherwise. Drugs are a huge financial drain, and in most cases, unhealthy for the human body. A significant portion of the global population abuses the crap out of them on a daily basis, legally and illegally.
Learn to Cook and Prepare Healthy Food – People who eat every meal out tend to have lighter wallets and heavier rear ends. With the exception of pricey, upscale dining establishments, you’ll find that most restaurants use lower-grade ingredients and employ sketchy sanitary practices that fall well below the standards you embrace in your own kitchen. So when you eat out, you’re either spending more cash or eating low-grade product. Regardless, you lose. The ability to cook and prepare healthy meals is a vital skill everyone should know how to do.
Brown Bag the Leftovers for Lunch – Always cook enough at dinnertime so you can enjoy lunchtime leftovers the following day. Leftovers are faster, easier, cheaper and healthier than anything you’ll find at the local fast food eatery.
Avoid Overpriced, Unproven Supplements – Most people assume that FDA approved nutritional supplements are proven products. Wrong! Do you really think the FDA has enough resources to precisely verify every new dietary supplement proposed to hit the market? I assure you, they don’t and there is no feasible way they ever will. Remember, the FDA concentrates its efforts on drugs, not supplements. Under the active Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, producers of dietary supplements do not have to verify that their product is effective, safe or at all healthy prior to placing it on store shelves. Sometimes someone has to become dreadfully ill from a dietary supplement before it even becomes a “blip” on the FDA’s radar.
Drink Filtered Tap Water – I’ve said it before, people go to work and trade priceless hours of their lives for dollars and then waste the dollars buying something that’s already free. A Brita water filter is an inexpensive investment that makes free tap water as healthy and pure as the bottled water for sale at the local supermarket. Since a penny saved is a penny earned, you’ll be making money every time you take a sip. Also, substituting beverages like soda for filtered tap water is another healthy way to save.
Stop Driving Like a Maniac – The faster you accelerate your vehicle, the more gas you will burn. People who are heavy on the pedal use up to 37% more gas during every mile of city driving. At $4 a gallon, that’s a lot of wasted money. Also, the faster you drive, the less time you have to react to hazardous road conditions. Bottom line: Drive responsibly at or below the speed limit.
Brew Your Own Coffee – Is coffee perfectly healthy for you? It’s hard to say for sure. There is a good deal of medical research to validate both sides of the argument (see here and here ). However, one point remains certain: millions of people across the globe drink coffee every single morning. Many of them wasting significant amounts of money on fatty, sugar and cream packed coffee beverages from Starbucks-style coffeehouses. So the real question is: How do you make the coffee drinking habit healthier and less expensive? The answer is simple. Brew your own coffee. If you like, add a dash of low fat milk and a single packet of sugar. It’s quick, fairly healthy and way cheaper than Starbucks. We have a Cuisinart Two-to-Go Coffeemaker and absolutely love it.
Wear Helmets and Protective Body Gear – How many motorcyclists, bicyclists, skateboarders, etc. do see foolishly blazing around without wearing any form of protective body gear? It’s your life. A quality bicycle helmet will cost you $40 and 2 seconds of your time to put it on before you ride. If you don’t wear one and end up crashing and cracking your head open, it could cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and take months, if not years, for your body to fully recover.
Stay In and Hang Out – Your home is your haven. It’s the safest, most comfortable environment to relax and socialize in. It also happens to be a far cheaper alternative to the local bars, pubs and clubs. You can save money on gas and entertainment costs while avoiding a lungful of secondhand smoke. So login to eBay, sell some stuff you don’t use, buy yourself a Wii and invite over a few of your favorite people. Don’t forget to crank-up the tunes.
Buy Healthy, Generic Brand Food – When it comes to the bare essentials on your grocery list, generic brands can provide the same food quality at a significantly reduced cost. U.S. food manufacturers are forced to follow a set of standards which basically guarantees the quality of the food they produce. Many large-scale grocery chains purchase name brand products directly from the manufacturer and simply slap their own generic brand label on the packaging. You should always compare the generic brand’s list of ingredients to a name brand product just to make sure everything matches up.
Eat Fresh Produce that is In Season – Based on abundant crops and excessive supplies, produce that is in season is fresher, more nutritious and cheaper than produce that is out of season. Take a quick look around the produce isle. The fresh, seasonal produce will be piled high and priced low. The fluctuations in price can be quite significant. For instance, an ear of corn will cost about 10 cents in the summer and nearly a dollar in the wintertime.
Play Sports with Your Friends – Racquetball, tennis, kickball, basketball… Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you play, so long as it’s an active sport that you enjoy. When you play sports with your friends you’re basically hitting 3 birds with 1 stone. You’re getting healthy exercise and quality social time without spending a dime.
Walk a Mile Everyday – Most medical professionals agree that walking is the healthiest form of exercise. Studies have shown that overweight twenty-somethings spend significantly more on medical bills over the course of their lives. Adding a 1 mile walk into your daily routine is a quick way to get some exercise and lose a couple pounds without spending money on a gym membership. My colleagues and I walk a mile everyday after lunch. We walk, we talk and we come back to the office feeling refreshed.
Do Some Weekly Meal Planning – A little meal planning can reduce the cost of preparing a meal by preventing you from overspending on ingredients you don’t need. It’s also much less stressful to prepare a meal without running around at the last second trying to figure out what ingredients you have so you know what you can cook. This scenario is exactly why most people give up and waste their money at unhealthy fast food restaurants.
Buy in Bulk, Cook in Bulk – Join a discount shopping club like Costco. Even though there’s a membership fee, discount clubs can be extremely cost-effective if you purchase the majority of your groceries in bulk. Buying and cooking food in bulk is a great way to save money and maintain a healthy diet. If you cook a week’s worth of healthy food in bulk, you’ll probably end up eating healthier all week long than you would have otherwise. Angel and I usually cook in bulk for the entire week on Sunday evenings. Having our food already prepared when we return home from work is a huge time saver and stress reducer on busy week nights.
Eat Slow to Eat Less – By eating slow you give yourself enough time to properly chew your food, which is much healthier for your digestive system. It also gives you enough time ( usually 20 minutes is needed ) to realize you’re full. Many people eat so fast that they continue stuffing their faces long after their stomachs are at capacity. The slower you eat, the less you will eat. The less you eat, the less money you will spend on food.
Reduce Consumption of Sugar-Loaded Deserts – Consuming a sugary snack on occasion is fine for you, but not when you habitually fix one onto the end of every single meal you eat. Most sugar-loaded deserts have little nutritional value and simply empty your wallet and make your jeans 2 sizes too small.
Get Annual Medical Check-Ups – If you think that scheduling medical check-ups when you’re healthy is a waste of your time and money, think again. The exact opposite is actually true. Annual medical check-ups are the best form of severe illness prevention, and prevention is greatest cure of all. Regular medical check-ups can detect potential health issues before they get out of control, allowing you to treat the condition before it becomes an expensive, time consuming drain on your life.
Wash Your Hands Before Eating – Washing your hands takes two seconds and kills thousands of germs that could potentially lead to illness. When you catch a cold, what do you do? You buy expensive over the counter medications. Do you want to stay healthier and wealthier? Wash your hands before you eat, EVERY SINGLE TIME you eat! If you can’t wash your hands, use a quality hand sanitizer.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Every Night – I know so many people who brush their teeth every morning to kill bad breath, but get lazy and forget to brush and floss their teeth before bedtime. The bacterium that causes tooth decay can multiply 30 times during the course of the night while you sleep. If you only want to brush and floss your teeth once a day, do it before bedtime. It is the most effective time for maintaining a healthy set of teeth. Remember, dentistry is painfully expensive, so be proactive and take care of your teeth.