Is It Really That Expensive To Lead A Healthy Lifestyle?

Some say it is expensive to lead a healthy lifestyle. It also can be expensive to be sick. No one would argue that taking care of your health is crucial. Doing so often involves lifestyle choices that have associated expenses like buying fresh produce and maintaining a gym membership. But overall, making smart financial investments in your health now can have a positive impact on your pocketbook in the future as you age. Keep the following in mind as you determine how your healthy lifestyle choices fit within your household budget.

Eat right (on a budget). Theres a myth that healthy foods cost more than regular food. But on average, natural foods (fruit, vegetables, fish and some meats) are less expensive than preserved, processed and packaged foods.* When it comes to your grocery list, nutrition experts believe that the large majority of what you purchase for food should come from the fresh food aisles. Take advantage of farmers markets where fresh, locally grown foods often can be purchased at reasonable prices. If youre on a tight budget, plan your grocery list before hitting the store, and consider buying more than what you need of fresh foods that are in season and freeze what you dont eat for another time.

Ditch the pricey memberships. Trendy fitness clubs offer many membership perks but they all come with a price. Face it: Do you really need a club that provides you with a personal trainer, towel and bottled water? To reduce the price of fitness, consider a club that provides the equipment youll actually use without all the overhead costs. Another option? Ditch long-term club membership for outdoor or at-home activities. Playing tennis, cycling, walking or running around your neighborhood will save you a healthy chunk of money and allows you to get a good workout. You may also consider programs and free exercise videos on your computer or gaming console.

Pick the right health insurance plan for you. The costliest health decision many people face is selecting a health plan that provides too little or too much coverage for their needs. Healthy adults could consider a high-deductible health plan that comes with a Health Savings Account. With this kind of plan, you may save pre-tax dollars (sometimes matched by your employer) to use for qualified health care expenses as they occur. Those who may visit the doctor frequently and families with small children may opt to spend more on a higher-premium, lower deductible health plan that covers the bulk of medical expenses. Your employer may also allow you to establish a Flexible Spending Account that you can use during the plan year to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses like prescriptions, eyeglasses and contacts and more. Speak with your health care provider about your health care decisions and care concerns.

No matter what type of health plan you choose, its important to figure out what your annual medical expenses might be before you make your selection. Understand exactly what youre signing up and determine how to maximize your coverage. For example, some health plans may reduce your monthly premium if you take an annual health assessment.

Create a plan for your future. One last investment in your health entails planning for your future. If youre saving money to buy a home, send your children to college or retire at a certain age, youre already planning for the future in many ways. As health and medical costs rise and entitlement programs change, saving for these expenses now and in the future is crucial to your financial security. If you havent started planning, its never too late to begin. Consider working with a financial adviser to help you create a plan that will help you reach your long-term financial goals.

* Source: United States Department of Agriculture study Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive by Andrea Carlson and Elizabeth Franzao, released May, 2012, http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib96.aspx[1]

Byron W. Ellis, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CRPC, is a private wealth adviser and a Certified Financial Planner with Ellis & Ellis, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial. Call or write for a free copy of The Dream Book, Planning Beyond the Numbers. www.byronwellis.com[2].


  1. ^ http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib96.aspx (www.ers.usda.gov)
  2. ^ www.byronwellis.com (www.byronwellis.com)

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  1. Reply

    How The Computer Is Supporting Us In Our Healthy Lifestyle? How do computer helps people in their healthy lifestyle? How can The computer help people? Is it from websites? advertisements? I need it really badly. How can the computer is supporting to improve our healthy lifestyle. in what ways? How can computer promote the quality of healthy lifestyle. How can computer convince people to stop unnecessary things like drugs or alcohol? How can computer HELP us?
    AT least 6-8 points would do. thank you.

      • HealthNut
      • December 18, 2012

      The computer is not a healthy lifestyle for people. It programs us to thinking we can find everything on here. Jobs, pay bills, shop, everything! We can do that ourselves and it seems technology is taking the chores away from us, that can be easily done by human themself. The computer can help us though when we need to find information, imformation fast. Websites help us retain information, advertisements are just like commericals there just trying to sell or maniupulate us to buy whatever their advertising. The computer is not improving our healthy lifestyle. Peoples eyes can go out of sight and hurt very badly(like mine and i’m only 15 years old.) from years and years staring at the computer. The worst thing to stare at is a computer screen — I don’t know why I still do it for hours at end, but I do. The computer will never promote the quality of healthy lifestyle, its just not possible. The computer can convince people to stop drugs and alcohol but if you think about it would you rather have an obsession over the computer for hours at the day, you have to be near the computer you have to be on it then doing drugs or alcohol? The computer is just as bad addiction as alcohol and drugs. The computer cannot HELP us other then give us fast information when we need it. The computer although has so much information and so many untrusted sites you never know if what your reading is a lie. And I hope I get 10 points because I just wasted my time answering this long question, I hope you weren’t just asking this for the heck of this — I hope it was for some essay lol.

      Take care bye

  2. Reply

    How Can I Keep Up My Healthy Lifestyle Over Easter? I have been trying to keep a healthy lifestyle, build fitness and lose a little fat. But I am surrounded by Easter treats, mum has been baking loads, have Easter eggs from family and my bf wants to get me an Easter egg too. Don’t get me wrong, I love how sweet everyone is being, but all of this will just make me I’ll. What should I do?

      • HealthNut
      • December 18, 2012

      If you’d like me to be honest, I think that the healthiest lifestyles include enjoying things. So every now and then, let go of the fact that “something will make me fat” and enjoy it. I think that often as people we give up a large part of living just to stay skinny. I used to be that way, and as much as I told myself it was worth it, it really wasn’t. Enjoy it, and don’t go on a guilt trip over it.

      That being said, there are several things you can do to avoid extra treats. Stay away from the kitchen as much as possible, as well as where things are being served. When you get things, get just a small bit. I’ve noticed that with a lot of sweetbreads and cakes and such, a very thin slice takes just as long to eat as a thick one and is usually just as satisfying. If not, you can even get a second (which, sliced thinly enough, is still smaller than the thick slices would be). Another trick I’ve learned is “sharing”–if it is a roll or whatever, just eat half of it and “share” the other half with someone else (maybe someone else who either just wants half, or someone who wants more than one).

      Enjoy Easter!

  3. Reply

    How Will You Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle In The Future? Imagine yourself after college. You’re married with a few kids. You’re gaining a few pounds every now and then. How will you get yourself back on track into a healthy lifestyle?

      • HealthNut
      • December 18, 2012

      Minus the after college part, but I have 2 kids and am expecting the third one in a few weeks. We maintain healthy lifestyles by eating nutritious foods, lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies, and milk. We also get a lot of exercise in. Although my kids are still toddlers and I’m big as a house, everyday as a family my husband and I walk with the kids up and down the road, then when we get home my husband stays outside with the kids and plays with them while I get supper fixed. We don’t turn the TV on until after baths, forcing us to get up off the couch. Hopefully that will encourage our kids to maintain healthy lifestyles after they’re all grown up.

    • Alice
    • December 18, 2012

    How Do You Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle? Please comment on your suggestions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, add any concerns or issues you have concerning you’re healt, and i’ll be happy to educate you further.

      • HealthNut
      • December 18, 2012

      I eat healthy – vegetables, fruit, lots of water, minimal sugar consumption, etc.
      I don’t smoke.
      I don’t drink in excess.
      I don’t do drugs.
      I exercise at least twice a week.
      I try to get enough sleep every night (minimum of 7 hours).

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