It’s always worth it to try to find out how to save money. And, while you can pinch pennies by making your home more energy efficient, or getting rid of that cable TV subscription, there are also less obvious ways to save money. Indeed, it you have been taking care of your health, you might be saving money without even realizing it.
While there is no way to completely avoid sickness, and some health problems, like cancer, can strike no matter health conscious you are, you can reduce the chances of costly medical conditions by living healthier. Better health is an investment in yourself — one that can pay off big in the long run.
Better Health = Lower Health Care Costs
In general, better health leads to lower health care costs. Your health insurance premiums are lower when you don’t use the services as frequently. (In the U.S. this matters much more.) In the U.S., if your family doesn’t need to use health care services as heavily, you can further reduce your monthly premium with the help of a high deductible plan — and put the savings in a Health Savings Account.
Better health in general also keeps costs down for society. In Canada, health care costs are generally paid for through income taxes (although British Columbia charges a monthly premium). Costs to society rise, and that affects everyone. Even in the U.S., where private insurance is so important, costs rise with poor health — especially when emergency room visits are factored in.
Another consideration is that some unhealthy habits cost quite a lot. Cigarettes continue to rise in price; smoking can be very expensive — as well as unhealthy. Excessive drinking can also be hard on the wallet, as well as on the liver. Moderation can help you keep costs down, and avoid some of the health issues associated with too high an alcohol intake.
Many of the chronic conditions that are often (but not always) caused by poor health choices are costly. Keeping cholesterol down, treating Type II diabetes, and other health problems can be costly to individuals. Even in Canada, you might have to pay for prescription medications that treat these mostly-preventable conditions. Engage in better health behaviors, including healthy eating, sufficient sleep and regular exercise.
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Prevention is Key
One of the best ways to save money on health care costs is to engage in preventative actions. This includes eating healthy and exercise, of course. Additionally, you should get enough rest, and take time to relax so that you don’t suffer from anxiety.
It’s also important to take care of problems early on. No matter how healthy your choices are, illness and accident can strike. The important thing is to take care of minor problems before they become major — and expensive — problems. A small cavity costs much less to fix than a root canal. When you have minor problems, it’s better to pay up front to correct the issue than to wait until you have no choice but to go in and experience a major overhaul.
If you take steps to improve your health, you have a chance to save money, as well as to increase your earning power. Not only can you save money on individual costs, but if more people engage in healthy living on a wider scale, the costs to society would also be reduced.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.