The unemployment rate is dropping and the stock market is well off its 2009 low, but there’s no question that the economy remains a stagnant one these days. For federal and state governments, such a stagnation translates into budget deficits, political criticisms, and long-term solvency concerns. For the average American, however, the fears often fall even closer to home. Whether you’ve been laid off, are making less money, or simply find yourself faced with ever-growing expenses, your personal finances are likely more pressing today than they were five years ago.
The situation has had led to numerous reverberations across private and public society. But there’s one key impact that few people discuss: the ramifications of a bad economy on healthcare and healthy living.
Over the past several years Americans have forgone doctor’s visits and switched to generic prescriptions. They have canceled gym members and stopped buying natural foods. In short, they have restrained their healthy lifestyles due to a belief that such a lifestyle is inherently more expensive to maintain.
While certainly valid in some cases, this perception is generally a false one. Healthy living and cost-conscious behaviors are actually mutually inclusive. The problem, however, is that most people overestimate the expenses associated with a healthy lifestyle. For example, although life insurance does nothing to improve the health of the individual, it is a vital policy for securing the long-term care of family members. Yet most Americans overestimate the cost of a policy by a factor of three, thus insuring lower coverage rates. If you’re one of these people, click here to compare quotes and see for yourself.
So how can one improve their health while reducing their costs? Here are a few suggestions:
-Run or bike to work. With gas prices expected to peak this summer, the cost of transportation is poised to take a hefty chunk out of the average middle-class budget. Fortunately, by embracing a healthy lifestyle, you can leave the car at home, save money, and get an excellent workout on your way to the office.
-Buy fresh produce. There’s a common misconception that healthier foods are generally more expensive one. While the belief may stem from the inflated prices at many upscale grocers, not every healthy option is as expensive as Whole Foods. Instead, by visiting farmer’s markets and buying basic produce whenever possible, you may come to realize that certain healthy items (ie vegetables, fruits, beans, and rice) are actually among the cheapest nutrients out there,
-Forgo restaurant meals. On a similar note, restaurants comprise a disproportionate share of our food budgets and of our unhealthy eating habits. By minimizing or reducing the frequency with which you dine out, then, you can kill both of these vices with one stone.
-Do exercises at work. A gym membership should not be a prerequisite for a healthy lifestyle. All you need to stay fit, after all, is a pair of shoes and a nearby sidewalk. But many people prefer the routine that a gym workout can provide. For these people, a short routine during the day can accomplish the same objective. Pushups, situps, plank hold, squats, wall sits, and stair runs can also be done at work, while on a time budget.
-Cancel those subscriptions. When assessing why our expenses have gone up over time, many of us can probably identify one factor that stands above the rest: technology. Thanks to smartphones, satellite television, and streaming video services, it is becoming more and more often acceptable to pay more for such perks than for basic utilities. Cutting back on your technology spend can thus save you money. At the same time, of course, it may encourage you to get outside and seek entertainment elsewhere.
These are just a few of the many ways that a person can cut costs and live a healthier life. While it often seems as though money can buy anything in today’s consumerist society, the reality is that our bodies don’t require any luxuries in order to enjoy wellness – a good lesson to keep in mind, especially these days.