In 2009, the American Journal of Medicine found that at least 60% of all bankruptcies are caused by medical problems. The issues of health care coverage and its costs are often the center of political debate and discussion, and are a main concern of Americans from different classes and backgrounds; everyone needs and deserves to be healthy. As a culture, it has been shown that Americans are quite unhealthy, and do not often lead lifestyles that prevent the onset of disease like diabetes and heart disease. The result is that many people are finding it difficult or nearly impossible to pay for health care costs, especially those without access to health insurance.
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There are good reasons phrases like “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and “Luck favors the prepared” became clichés, they ring true. Preventing an issue is more effective than figuring out how to deal with it when it arises, and preparing yourself against problems is a smarter strategy than hoping they simply don’t happen. This is particularly true when it comes to health. Daily decisions can make the difference it your health care costs, and the decisions are often free. Some choices may even save you money. Wealth and health make a lovely pair. SmartAsset lets you know some ways to increase both.
Eat Clean, Train Dirty
You are undoubtedly aware that exercise and a balanced diet low in salts, saturated fats, and sugars can keep you fit and slim. Doing so can also prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and will also keep your immune system strong. It may seem like a daunting task, but even a little bit of exercise each day can have profound impacts. Recent research suggests that short periods of intense exertion followed by periods of rest can dramatically increase your fitness level. Even seven-minute workouts have been shown to positively impact your health.
You don’t have to give up meat or become a hardcore vegan to eat healthy; tofu and black bean-based burgers aren’t for everyone. Being flexible and paying attention to the types and amounts of foods you eat, however, is not only environmentally intelligent but also nutritionally beneficial. Eating a primarily plant-based diet while adding small amounts of meat (flexitarianism) and dairy has numerous proven benefits:
- Losing excess weight and maintaining your ideal weight
- Putting less strain on the environment
- Taming your cravings for junk food and constant snacking
- Stretching your dollar
From a financial perspective, meat is far more expensive than vegetables and fruits. Even starting out with one or two meatless days per week can have a tangible effect on your body and bank account.
This tip is even more obvious than the last. You know how terrible cigarettes are for your health, and how expensive that pack is. Whatever you have to do to stop the habit, it will be worth it not only for your heart and lungs, but also financially. You can potentially avoid health care costs, and save money daily. If you are a smoker, you can start saving money instantly by choosing not to smoke. Everyone who loves you will breathe easier, as will you and your wallet.
Flexible Spending Accounts
Even if you eat like the Jolly Green Giant, practice yoga like a guru, and don’t ever party (too) hard, you are still susceptible to needing medical attention now and then. Contributing to a flexible spending account can help you pay out-of-pocket medical expenses when you need to, and the FSA is federal and Social Security tax-free. In some cases, FSA’s even evade local and state income taxes. Check with your employer to see if this is an option for you.
Healthy Body, Healthy Bank Account
Health care is not something you ever want to need, but when you do, can be financially crippling. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to keep yourself healthy, avoid medical costs, and cut down some of your everyday expenses all at once. Staying healthy is just another way SmartAsset recommends in order to also keep financially savvy.
Photo Credit: stayhealthier, annemmichaud11, blahsfu, 401(K) 2013