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A Healthier Lifestyle and Your Finances

I recently wrote about the financial benefits of quitting smoking. In a nutshell, one of the points I attempted to make is that if you can’t quit smoking for health reasons, then maybe you’d be motivated to quit for financial concerns. If you think about it, you can apply this idea to a healthier lifestyle as well. I think it’s safe to say that we all know that we should live a healthy lifestyle. We are bombarded with ads about it on television, the radio, and the internet. Yet we as a society are, on the whole, fairly “unhealthy.” We are addicted to salt, sugar, caffeine, trans fats, and other silent health “killers.”

Live Healthy, Save Money

So if you can’t improve your lifestyle out of respect for your own body or things of that nature, would you do it if you could save some money? Personally, I had always done a pretty good job of caring for my body, but once I learned the financial benefits of living healthy, it motivated me even more. Don’t get me wrong; I am by no means a health nut and I love to eat with the best of them. But I’ve realized that there are some serious financial gains to be made by living healthier.

The SESME Diet

Regarding your diet, I have a wonderfully simple diet that can easily kill two birds with one stone. I call it the SESME diet. Here it is:

Stop Eating So Much & Exercise

It’s simple (well, simple to write). Less food means having to buy less at the grocery store. If you reduce what you spend there, you save money. Obviously, the biggest culprits would/should be junk food, sugary soft drinks, and if you care to, substituting your red meat with more fruits and veggies. And perhaps you take this a step further and start an organic garden or figure out some other sustainable way of eating healthy. A strategy like this is not only fun and engaging, but can have long-term financial benefits as well. There are some awesome ways to eat organic on a budget and save money by growing a home garden. As far as exercise, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend money on some expensive gym membership or buy some fancy equipment. There are definitely ways to also exercise on a budget. Check out these 11 ways to exercise and be healthy while saving money.

Reduce/Eliminate Indulgences

As I just got done saying in a recent post, if you smoke cigarettes and you can’t motivate yourself to quit for health reasons, how about quitting to save money? It’s what I did. Consider doing the same with your alcohol intake as well. By no means am I saying to go on the wagon, but again, if you cut back a little here and there, you will save money as well.

Longer Life = More Income

Another aspect of a healthier lifestyle that I think some people fail to realize is the potential for income earnings. Obviously, the longer you live, the more time you will have to earn income. Let me qualify my thoughts on this. Obviously, this concept does not concern your retirement years regarding income earning potential (and in fact could have the opposite effect), but, as a healthier person, won’t you be able to enjoy your retirement more fully? If you are working hard to make sure you have enough money for your retirement, wouldn’t you want to be healthy enough to enjoy it? Let that thought settle in for a second. Maybe that gets you to think about your priorities a little harder.

Also, being healthy ensures your ability to earn a full living all the way up to your retirement age. If you can’t retire early, you want to take advantage of these years so you’ll have enough money before and during retirement.

As I said before, we should all be living healthy lifestyles for many reasons other than financial. But, if you need a little boost in your motivation to get started living a healthier life, then why not take into account the financial advantages of doing so?

(photo credit: pinksherbet)

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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