Your priorities are clear – Crush debt, save for retirement, and perhaps put aside some cash for your kids. Yet you have a nagging voice in your head that’s telling you to start doing more for your health (enticed by Instagram photos of ripped bodies and delicious-looking healthy foods). However, if you’re thinking that it’ll take time and money away from your financial goals, keep reading.
“This article is not a typical cliché lecture about how you need to take care of your body.”
Instead, you’ll discover simple, but clear, ways to get the most out of your investment in healthy living, resulting in a healthier you (fewer sick days off work, less money spent in hospital bills, and more energy to enjoy your family even as you grind hard).
1. Get clear on your health and fitness goals
When you chose to push for your financial freedom, you got clear about what that would mean for your life: more money in your pocket, a retirement that’s filled with rich experiences, and children that are set up to have a better life than you had.
Defining what your health would look like in your new financially free life should be no different. You don’t want to wake up one day retired to find yourself dealing with lifestyle diseases that take away money from the post-retirement life you planned so carefully. . . diseases that you could have prevented by taking care of your health now.
So, as you reflect on your vision of financial freedom to help you stay motivated, visualize how you want to feel to extend the motivation you have towards earning, spending, and saving wisely to care for your health.
2. Cheap workout gear is a must
If you let social media tell it, you need to wear the latest athleisure clothing to workout. But you don’t need $90 yoga pants or a $150 jacket to exercise consistently and get the results you’re after.
These expensive aspects of a healthy lifestyle journey are optional. An old t-shirt and a comfortable pair of leggings will help you get the immune-boosting benefits of exercise without breaking the bank.
Another path to take to save money on workout gear is to get a few quality pieces that you can rotate through for a long time. Like a good capsule wardrobe, a few high-quality basics will get the job done, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.
3. Save money while shopping for groceries
You certainly don’t have to follow the latest, expensive health trends to get the vitality-giving benefits of a healthy diet. Your whole paycheck doesn’t have to go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to get these benefits.
Instead, a strategic plan for getting healthy food on the table will work wonders. Some of my favorite strategies include:
- Buying non-perishables in bulk: Get them when they’re on sale if possible.
- Be disciplined when getting specialty items: Matcha green tea is touted as a superfood, but regular old green tea will do the trick in a pinch, and it’s a lot cheaper.
- Enjoy cheaper non-meat protein sources: They have less protein, but you get a two-for-one deal because they’re high in filling fiber which will boost your digestive health.
- Get fruits and veggies in season: Buy local where possible, as shipping costs are added directly into the cost of your produce.
- Choose frozen fruits and veggies when you can: Frozen fruits and veggies provide you with necessary nutrition, and you can get non-seasonal produce for cheaper.
- Buy store brand packaged goods when you need to: Sometimes they’re just as good as the name brand options and comparing the ingredient list and nutrition labels can help you choose what’s best.
These are a few strategies to explore when you’re working to eat healthier. As you start to see how much more energy you have (or even the pounds come off), you’ll be motivated to find more.
4. Take advantage of your insurance benefits to spend less on health care long-term
Having the right health insurance plan can reduce the financial burden of healthcare. It can help you spend less money out of pocket, which means more money in your retirement accounts or to pay down debt.
But don’t just leave it at buying health insurance. Look into benefits like:
- Options for an HSA (Health Savings Account): HSA is an account you can put pre-tax dollars into to pay for healthcare expenses. This can help you reduce your tax burden and save money for future health costs as this type of health account rolls over each year. There’s a cap on how much you can contribute each year, but not how much you can have in the account. This means you can save towards your health expenses if leaving your nine to five is one of your motivations for financial freedom.
- Subsidized preventive care: Preventative care can help catch any health issues early and take care of them before they become full-blown health emergencies.
These are four strategies that can help you benefit from caring for your health even as you care for your wallet. So don’t use your financial goals as an excuse to ignore your health goals.
Financial goals are a valid reason to put other areas of your life on hold, but ignoring your health could put a drain on your future earning potential and quality of life.
Channeling the title of episode 15 of the Clever Girls Podcast, when it comes to success, you either want it or you don’t. If you want to be healthy, happy and financially free, it’s time to start taking action using some of the paths I’ve shared to boosting your healthy lifestyle.