Many of the self-improvement goals that people set for themselves boil down to one of two things: improving your health or improving your financial situation.
Health improvement and financial improvement have a lot in common: they both require you to focus on making changes to your daily life, and they both take a while to start showing noticeable effects. But if you stick with the changes, the positive effects can be profoundly life-altering.
Here’s the kicker: When you take steps to improve your health, they often also cause improvements in your financial life, too. Many of the things you do to improve your health, if done with thought and care, result in big long term financial benefits, and even some short-term benefits.
How Healthy Living Improves Your Financial Life
Unhealthy Vices Are Expensive
Most consumption-related vices, such as smoking, alcohol use, substance abuse, and soda, are not only detrimental to your health, they’re also expensive. All of those things have an out-of-pocket financial cost, then you consume them, then you’re left with nothing more than an emptier pocket.
Healthy Living Prevents Many Costly Medical Conditions
Many of the basic steps of healthy living, such as a better diet and some level of exercise, reduce your odds of developing medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, which can result in enormous increases in your out-of-pocket medical costs. Even a 5% reduction in weight can result in enormous declines in the odds of a whole host of costly diseases.
Raw Healthy Foods Are Actually Pretty Inexpensive
The cornerstones of a healthy diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, are actually pretty inexpensive. Many fresh fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, carrots and cauliflower, are always inexpensive, and fresh fruits and vegetables are often on discount. Frozen vegetables are usually inexpensive, too. Items such as dry beans, oatmeal, brown rice, cottage cheese and quinoa are almost always very inexpensive, as well. Making these items more central to your diet can save you a ton of cash compared to the typical American diet.
Healthy Living Improves Your Insurance Rates
Life, medical, long-term care and other types of insurance rates are going to be lower if you are healthy. Some major determining factors for the cost of many insurance factors include your weight, blood pressure and the result of a basic blood test, all of which can be improved with some simple steps to keep your health in a good place.
Simple Low-Cost Practices for Healthier Living
While those benefits sound great, there’s a perception that healthier living is more expensive. That’s simply not true.
- Cut out tobacco, alcohol and soda. This is a no-brainer.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and grains. We talked about the low cost of many fruits, vegetables and grains.
- Exercise is always good, but you don’t need to get a gym membership. Make going on a walk part of your daily routine.
- A full uninterrupted night of sleep in which you arise naturally in the morning has enormous health benefits beyond simply feeling better the next day. Try going to sleep earlier, ideally early enough that you rise naturally before your alarm goes off.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
Improving your health over the long term has enormous financial benefits, and achieving those benefits actually costs very little. You can see enormous benefits in your health by simply moving around more, getting better sleep, cutting out vices, and focusing a little more of your diet on low-cost, healthier items. All of those tools are either free or actually save money themselves, and they all create an improvement in long term health outcomes, which saves money on health care and treatment over the long haul.