Budgeting and cutting costs are great ways of saving money, but how does plain old healthy living factor into the equation? I think we tend to put a little too much emphasis on having a gym membership and eating big salads at lunch time to keep healthy. To really lead a healthy lifestyle, one needs to fully commit to it and embrace the change in lifestyle. For those who take the plunge, here are some examples of how you can reduce cost and save your waist!
Cut the sweets at restaurants
In order to live well you’ll need to keep your calories at a reasonable level. Eating desserts regularly will need to be one of the indulgences that you need to reduce. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a little cake or sweet now and again, but indulging in desserts at a restaurant after a big meal should be a thing of the past. If you were ordering one dessert between a couple 4 times a month for $8 each, you could end up saving $40 a month if you factor in tax and gratuity. Cut out this item and you will be $480 and thousands of calories ahead per year!
Have fewer drinks at the bar
Alcohol can be a huge expenditure for people, especially single professionals or couples without children. If you’re serious about leading a healthy lifestyle, you probably shouldn’t be downing 4-5 drinks at a bar on a Saturday night! You don’t have to cut out drinking entirely but keeping it to 1-2 per week would be advisable. Going from 5 drinks per week at $5 per drink to 2 can easily save you $60 per month. With 1 pint of beer containing about 200 calories, going from 5 drinks per week to 2 will let you lose 1 pound in less than 6 days.
Use your gym membership
If you are using your gym membership on a regular basis, say three to four times per week, you’re on the right track! By spending a lot of time in the gym you are reducing the amount of time you could be out spending money on other things. If you are spending your weeknights working out and socializing at the gym instead of at a bar or restaurant, you are actually saving yourself more money and improving your health. You’ll burn around 200 calories at the gym lifting light to moderate weights in an hour.
Enjoy the outdoors
Staying fit isn’t just about working out in a gym. When the weather is good, lots of people go out for a walk, run, bike ride, hike in the park or any number of other outdoor activities. These activities are great financially because there is very little cost involved. Like with the gym membership example above, the more time you spend enjoying the outdoors, the less you’ll be spending on restaurants, bars, movies and other forms of entertainment. According to this table of calories burned by activity, you can burn 148 calories per hour bird watching.
Just eat less
We all love food and generally speaking, lots of it! Portion control is a big issue for many people and is one of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle. Instead of eating a whole huge steak until you feel satisfied, why not reduce the size of the portion by 25% and see how you feel. You’re still eating the exact same food, just a bit less of it. Waistlines have been on the rise for years and this is one of the simplest ways to combat it. It’s simple, the less you eat, the more you save. Reducing a 700 calorie dinner to 525 (25%) will result in you losing one pound in 20 days!
Reduce medical bills & insurance costs
Generally speaking if we are in good health, we will have fewer medical problems like diabetes, heart disease and sleep apnea. You’ll need fewer visits to the doctor and prescriptions. Your insurance costs will also be lower since you will be a low risk person to insure.
Take transit or drive less often
Another great way to save is to walk or cycle to work. This of course depends on how far away from work you live and what routes are available between work and home. For example, a round trip on the Toronto streetcar costs $5.20 using tokens ($2.60 x 2). You could opt to walk to work in the morning when your energy levels are high and take the streetcar home, this would result in a $52 savings per month! Walking for 30 minutes will burn around 130 calories, how many would you have burned on the streetcar? None!
As you can see leading a healthy lifestyle and saving money go hand in hand. For couples, if one person starts leading a healthy lifestyle there’s a good chance the other will too. This can lead to a double savings effect!