See how much money you can save by adopting a healthier lifestyle

See how much money you can save by adopting a healthier lifestyle

Few of us like to be told what we are doing wrong. We don’t eat enough healthy food, we don’t exercise enough, we don’t drink enough water. The list goes on and on). The fact is, we know where we’re lagging, but we’re not always motivated to make big changes.

But what if someone told you that even small changes could make you healthier while also putting more money in your savings account?

You could earn more

A Journal of Labor Research study found that people who exercise regularly earn 6% to 10% more than their peers. But here’s the deal: The researchers defined regular exercise as getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week. That’s only 60 minutes a week.

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You don’t have to enter bodybuilding competitions or run marathons to benefit from exercise, although the more you put in, the greater the potential benefit. According to the study, there is a correlation between how hard you exercise and how much more you win, you win The findings were analyzed as follows:

  • Study participants who participated in low-intensity workouts earned an average of $54,000 per year.
  • Participants who participated in moderate-intensity workouts earned an average of $67,000 per year.
  • And participants who engaged in high-intensity training earned an average of $83,000 per year.

It’s natural to wonder if people with higher incomes are naturally predisposed to push themselves in all areas of life. It’s also natural to wonder if people with higher incomes have more control over their time, and if having more control gives them the time they need to hit the gym or pilates studio.

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You could have big savings in retirement

Exercise can save you money when you need it most. According to a New York Times article from 2021, “People who start exercising before or during middle age typically save $824 to $1,874 a year in health care costs after retirement.”

Let’s split the difference and say a person saves $1,300 a year in health care costs thanks to small changes made to their exercise routine and diet. If they retire at age 66 and live to 86, that’s $26,000 more that they could have invested, saved, or simply left behind to cover funeral expenses.

More importantly, you’re more likely to make it to retirement. According to a Rutgers University report, people in poor health die at a relatively young age. In fact, many do not live long enough to collect the Social Security and retirement benefits they spent their entire adult lives working for.

Again, small changes can make all the difference. A University of Michigan study found that something as simple as eating a hot dog can cost you 36 minutes of healthy life, while choosing to eat a serving of nuts can help you gain an additional 26 minutes of healthy life. The healthier you are, the less money you’ll spend on medical care and the more you’ll have to spend as you please.

Minor changes are added

Anytime you make a life change, it’s the details that matter. Here’s a sampling of how much money you can save by changing a handful of the thousands of decisions you make in an average week.

Change

Average Weekly Savings

Annual Savings

Save $4 per day you currently spend on junk food or alcohol

$28

$1,456

Substitute healthy protein alternatives (such as beans, lentils, peanut butter, chickpeas and quinoa) for meat twice a week

$10

$520

Work out outdoors or at home using a streaming service instead of paying for a gym membership

$9.23*

$479.96

Grocery store with a full stomach

$10

$520

Split a large portion into two meals at least twice a week

$10

$520

total

$67.23

$3,495.96

Data source: Author’s calculations. *The author used an average cost of $15 per month for the streaming service and $55 per month for a gym membership.

Adding the set of small changes ($3,495.96) how much would a person save by kicking the smoking habit at $7 a day ($2,555) and swapping two fast food meals a week for home-cooked meals ($520)we end up with a total potential saving p $6,570.96. This could be a significant benefit to your personal finances.

Some of these changes may fit perfectly into your routine and some may not be very suitable for you. Ultimately, the goal is to come up with a list of small changes you can follow — changes that will leave you healthier and maybe a little wealthier.

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