What if a new healthy habit put cash in your wallet? Nearly every fit step forward comes with financial rewards. For example, one study found that just losing a few pounds can save you 25 percent on life insurance. Try these tips to connect better health with greater wealth.
Drop dollar-draining habits:
1. If you smoke a pack a day, quitting will save you around $2,500 a year. And that’s just direct savings. The lifelong financial cost of smoking ranges between $1 and 2 million, according to website WalletHub. It’s a habit that impacts many aspects of your life. For example, researchers found smokers make $5 less per hour, on average, and need more time to find a job when unemployed.
2. How much you’ll save by cutting back on alcohol depends on many factors. But consider this: excessive alcohol consumption cost the U.S. $223.5 billion in 2006 according to a CDC report, and three quarters of the costs were due to lost productivity while 11% were from health care expenses.
3. Soft drinks cost the average family $850 a year, and both regular and diet versions have been connected with health issues like type 2 diabetes, kidney damage, stroke, heart attack and weakening of tooth enamel. Water, on the other hand, is both healthy and affordable.
Exercise to fatten your finances:
4. Hitting the gym three times a week or more has been linked to 7% higher pay for men and 12% for women, according to a Cleveland State University study.
5. People who exercise to avoid diabetes can save $7,900 a year by reducing use of prescription medications and other medical expenses.
6. Those with heart disease saved $2,500 in annual health care costs if they exercised moderately to vigorously for 30 minutes five times a week.
7. People with only one risk factor for cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, smoking, obesity) saved $500 a year in health care costs if they exercised regularly.
8. Studies have found that midlife fitness leads to lower medical costs in retirement.
Eat better to save dough:
9. A diet of mostly take-out food costs 193% as much as fresh, home-cooked meals. For example, a study by Couponbox.com found couch potato will spend $16,016 per year on food, compared to $8,476 for a body builder or $8,632 for a fitness model.
10. Packing a healthy lunch rather than eating out can save $8/day, which adds up to $160/month and $1,920 a year.
11. Plant a garden and you’ll spend less on fresh produce. Plus the physical activity is great for your overall health.
Watch wellness efforts add up:
12. Get your yearly flu shot. Lost earnings due to the flu tallied $16.3 billion in the U.S., according to 2007 study.
13. Wash your hands. Regularly soaping and rinsing cut respiratory illnesses by 21%, according to published research. That means fewer sick days and trips to the doctor.
14. Take advantage of your company’s wellness programs. While 70% of employers offer them, just 7 to 21% of employees use them. Rewards include lower insurance premiums and financial contributions toward health savings accounts (HSAs).
15. Floss. One study found that total health care costs were about 20% higher for those with severe periodontal disease.