Living a healthier lifestyle can be healthy for your finances too! While we may struggle with our health, our money, or maybe both, there are ways to cover your bases that don’t take much effort. (Okay, number three probably does, but it’ll be worth it.) Here are seven ways you can save money while living healthier.
1. Cook at Home
Dining out can be expensive. Even fast food, which we tend to think of as a quick and cheap meal fix, can get pricey. And it’s only getting worse. Canada’s Food Price Report, which monitors these things, says Canadians can expect almost a 60 percent increase in cost (equaling to about $210 per person) through 2018 when eating out and opting for prepared food. However, those that frequent the grocery store and cook at home won’t be subjected to the price hikes. The added benefit of cooking at home? Healthier eating. When you’re preparing your own meals, you know exactly what’s going into each dish. Research even shows that people who eat home-cooked meals regularly consume less sugar and fewer processed foods, leading to higher energy levels and better mental health.
2. Exercise at Home
The average gym membership costs about $30 per month. It’s worth it if you’re hitting the gym regularly and getting your money’s worth, but the fact is most people don’t take advantage of their membership. Oftentimes, it’s a New Year’s resolution that goes unfulfilled. Rather than spend money on an unused membership, do your lunges and lifts at home! Canadian Living recently published a story on how to get a full-body workout at home; check it out if this sounds like a good money-saving option for you.
3. Quit Smoking
I don’t think I need to explain the health benefits of quitting smoking; you’ve heard it all before from friends, family, your doctor, and the media. However, it’s easy to overlook the cost benefits of quitting. Most people buy their cigarettes daily, or every few days, making the cost of maintaining the habit appear minimal. However, these costs can add up fast. If you’re a regular smoker like 20% of Canadians, you may be shocked by the amount you’re spending if you actually do the math:
- 1 pack of cigarettes per day = $ 11 per pack (average price) x 365 days = $4,015 per year.
- The monthly cost of cigarettes comes to $4015/12 = $334.58
4. Drink Water
Morning coffees and afternoon sodas are generally way overpriced. While they may not necessarily be bad for you—well, the sugar in soda most definitely is—they certainly don’t provide any health benefit, and they are bad for your wallet. Good ol’ H20, on the other hand, offers many benefits. Water is known to increase energy levels, promote weight loss, boost the immune system, prevent cramps and headaches, and more. It also costs next to nothing. Instead of opting for overpriced bottled water (which is also bad for the environment) get a sink filter, or a water filtration pitcher, and pour yourself a glass of clean, refreshing water. And be sure to pick up an insulated mug or reusable bottle to take your free water on-the-go.
5. Walk and Bike
A weak Canadian dollar, taxes, and refinery supply and demand has caused gas prices to hit record highs in Canada, and experts say it’s not going to get any better in the foreseeable future. While winter months can put a damper on outdoor activity, take advantage of warmer weather to get around by foot or bike. It can save you a bundle, get your heart rate up, and help save the planet!
6. Go on Active Dates
Dating is not cheap. The number one dating activity? The movie theater of course. Between ticket prices and concessions, this can wind up costing nearly $40. And, how are you supposed to get to know your date sitting in a theater anyhow? Forgo the theater and get active with your dates. Whether it’s a walk around the city, going to a park, a hike, or a canoe outing, these activities are free (or almost free), fun, healthy, and provide plenty of opportunity to get to know one another.
7. Use the Library
Healthy living doesn’t always require breaking a sweat—broadening your horizons through books contributes to better mental health! I know, you probably haven’t been to the library since you were in school, and if you’re still in school you probably just use the internet to research your reports. But the libraries of today are not like the stuffy Dewey Decimal-loving place of yesteryear. Today, libraries offer the most popular books (and audio versions) by today’s top authors—at no cost. And while the health benefits are questionable, most offer free DVD and even game rentals of today’s hottest titles, so you can avoid kiosk rental fees and save on at-home streaming costs.
Living healthy and saving money can go hand-in-hand; these are just a few ideas to get you started. Have a healthy-living, money-saving tip of your own? Share it with us in the comments below, and be sure to check out our tips and tools for budgeting ideas and more.