Improve Your Health, Improve Your Finances

Some of the habits that are worst for your health also make a heavy dent in your wallet.  Taking steps to improve your health by quitting smoking, reducing your alcohol intake, and improving your diet can free up large amounts of cash.

Here Are Some Habits to Quit:

  1. Quit smoking. 
    • At nearly $13/pack, cigarettes in New York are the most expensive in the nation.  Provide yourself with a financial incentive to quit.  Add up how much you spend on cigarettes in a week, and choose something else that you’d like to purchase instead.  Instead of buying cigarettes, lay the money aside.  When you successfully make it through the week, reward yourself! Gradually increase the length of time, and increase the value of your rewards.  Eventually, you can add the money to your down payment savings, but in the short term you may need more concrete rewards to keep you motivated.
    • Smokefree.gov has many tips that can help you quit. They offer a texting service to send you reminders to help you stay committed to your goal.  The service has no charge beyond what your cell carrier charges for the messages.
  2. Reduce your alcohol intake.
    • Alcohol is another very expensive habit that is not good for your health.  Try designating a few days when you would normally drink, to be “alcohol-free.”  You could also decide to set a limit on the number of drinks you consume.  Save the money you would’ve spent on alcohol.  If you need short term motivators to help you get used to your new habit, reward yourself!
    • If you have an alcohol addiction, seek help with your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. You can find them at aacny.org.
  3. Improve your diet.
    • More than 60% of adults in New York are overweight or obese.  If you’re eating too much, that means you are spending more on food than you need to.  Improving your diet can free up extra money you can add to your savings for your home.  One easy way to cut calories and cost is to choose water instead of soda, juice, or other beverages.  Eating at home instead of going out is also often both healthier and less expensive.
    • Healthy food is not really more expensive than unhealthy food.  Farmer’s markets are a great place to buy inexpensive fruits and vegetables in season.  If none are currently available, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables may be less expensive than fresh ones.  Looking for inexpensive protein? Remember beans, lentils, and other legumes.
    • Choosemyplate.gov has great ideas on healthy meal plans, shopping lists, recipes, and ideas to help you reduce your portion sizes.

In addition to saving money right now by avoiding purchasing cigarettes, alcohol, and unhealthy foods, you’ll save money down the road on your medical expenses.  Your health and life insurance rates may also improve.  Taking steps to improve your health now will provide you with continual benefit.  


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