Cut Your Health Expenses Significantly...and I Tread Carefully


I fully intended to write a completely different money saving tip for today, but on my way into the office, I had a complete change of direction.

Taylor and I just chatted about my proposed topic. I usually don’t run topics by him beforehand, but wanted to with this one because it seems a bit more sensitive than most other topics.

I’ll also readily admit that this is not your “typical” savings tip. Today I want to talk about choosing a healthier (and with that, much cheaper) lifestyle.

As the health care debate rages on (a debate which I completely want to avoid here on this blog), health costs are high on everyone’s list of concerns. I’m concerned about it. Who isn’t? I suppose since my thoughts have been (almost forced) there with the incessant debate, I began thinking about our health and how it impacts our financial bottom line.

In doing a bit of research, I found a very interesting article over at the Wall Street Journal:

“Obese people spent 42% more than people of normal weight on medical costs in 2006, a difference of $1,429, the study found. Prescription drugs accounted for much of the increase.”

A difference of $1,400 in one year alone?

Wow.

And not to sound calloused or harsh, but we should all take a hard look at ourselves and ask us if we’re living a healthy lifestyle. Statistics tell us that 30% of us are obese, and another 30% of us are overweight. This leads to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc.

While I don’t agree with how we determine obesity at the moment (I feel like the body mass index is flawed and overly-simplifies things), I think we can all take a good look at ourselves and see if there isn’t something we should be doing to make our bodies a bit healthier.

$1,400 per year! And with health costs only supposed to rise…what will that obesity-related number look like in another decade?

So…for this savings tip, I wanted to leave you with some very actionable ToDos that you may consider. I’m no fitness expert, so you can just chalk these up to a friendly reminder with a dose of common sense.

1) Order water at restaurants (avoid the calories, and save money to boot).

2) Park far away from the store entrance (you’ll always find a spot).

3) Bring your lunch to work. I don’t want to begin listing the calorie-dense, nutrient-less foods available at fast-food/quickie restaurants that are more expensive and are downright bad for you… just bring your lunch to work.

4) Here’s something I’ve been doing to conquer my 7:00 pm case of the I-feel-like-eating-dessert-right-now episodes: Drink twelves ounces of water. That usually fills me up enough to forget about my craving.

5) Find an accountability partner. Report to each other every Friday about how you did with your exercise, eating, etc. (I recommend Friday only to recommend a set day each week, not Friday in particular).

There you have it. Five very simple tips. #1 saves you money. #3 saves you money. #4 saves you money.

And on top of that, you’ll be healthier. According to everything I read in preparation for this, that’s going to save you a bundle now, and in the future.

(Photo: ebruli)