Improving some aspect of one’s health is a popular resolution. Whether it’s a promise to stop smoking, shed those extra pounds or ditch the remote and stop being such a couch potato, being healthier is often at the top of our To-do lists. Keeping our bodies in optimum condition, however, can be a costly proposition. Nutritional supplements, gym memberships or doctors visits can pack a pretty heavy punch to your wallet. Good thing there are healthy choices you can make that will benefit your bank account just as much as your body.
Here are five things you can do to become more physically and financially fit:
Stop drinking soda – Whether they are calorie-free and loaded with chemicals or a carbonated liquid sugar fix, sodas have absolutely no redeeming nutritional value. If you’re thirsty, you’re much better off drinking water. In addition, the acids in sodas eat away at your tooth enamel which can create hefty dental bills. A fridge pack of soda runs about $6.50 for 12. Even if you only drink one can per day, that’s about three packs per month or over $900 a year. Think about how much healthier your body would be–not to mention your bank account with almost $1k of extra money!
Go for generic – In almost all cases, generic versions of over-the-counter and prescription medications work exactly the same as the brand name version since they contain the same active ingredients. For example, the large size of Claritin costs about 50 cents per tablet, but the generic version can be had for a mere 16 cents per pill. That’ll save you $124 over the course of a year.
Floss – In addition to maintaining good dental health, flossing provides other health benefits. Did you know that periodontitis has been linked with heart disease and respiratory disease? A box of dental floss only runs a few bucks. Not needing a root canal or, even better, angioplasty? Priceless.
Meditate – There are plenty of ways to de-stress: vacations (expensive), massages (less expensive but still costly), massive amounts of alcohol (cost effective if you’re buying two buck Chuck, but then again there’s the possibility of liver damage…). Meditation, however, is amazingly effective and costs not a single penny. A recent study showed that meditation can actually change the structure of the brain in only eight weeks. In addition to reducing the density of the area of the brain associated with stress, it increases density for areas that deal with learning, memory and compassion. Win-win!
Sleep – Lack of sleep has been linked to a number of illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and obesity. Want to strengthen your immune system and give your body a fighting chance? Get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. It’s just what the doctor ordered–and it won’t cost you a cent.
This is a guest post from Stella Louise, the editor of the Savings.com Blog & Save, a lifestyle blog for savvy consumers looking for money management tips.