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10 Healthy Habits That Will Save You Money

10 Healthy Habits That Will Save You Money

These healthy habits will help you look and feel good on a budget. If you’d like to boost your bank account while getting fit and healthy, try out these easy-to-implement health tips.

1. Establish a six-pack limit.

Confession: I love alcohol. Whether it’s a white russian, red wine, dark beer (Guinness especially) or straight-up liquor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an alcoholic beverage I can’t say “cheers!” to. Of course, drinking too much is no good for your wallet or your waistline. For evidence, look no further than that guy you knew in high school who used to be a ripped monster (but now has an uber-big beer belly). That is the consequence of drinking way too much. To maintain a healthy weight and save money, limit yourself to 6 drinks per week. That could be one serving of alcohol per day, or, if getting drunk is your style, you’re welcome to save it for the weekend. Have fun (but don’t get carried away!).

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2. If you’re gonna eat out, split a dish.

Restaurant prices and portions are out of control these days. If you’re going out on a date, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress if you can split a dish. They are 99.9% likely to say “yes,” and you’ll spare some dough (not to mention that upset stomach you usually have after eating out).

3. Brew delicious coffee at home.

I love Starbucks as much as the next person, but a lot of folks get too carried away. You do realize that if you spend $3 per day on over-priced (and sugar-laden) coffee drinks, you’re out $90 per month, right? Even if you cut that in two, it is just too much. Think about what you could do with all of that money: the vacations you could take, the beaches you could visit, the things you could do! Convinced? Right then: I know some of you probably go to Starbucks because you don’t like real coffee. You like the sugar-bomb drinks masquerading as coffee (and at a mark-up!). For a healthier (and more budget-friendly) coffee, brew it at home. Add a dash of cinnamon and a splash of milk, then stir and enjoy (you’ll thank me later). For more ways to make your coffee super healthy, click here.

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4. Shop for meals (not just stuff).

Have you ever made the mistake of going to the store while you were so hungry that you could eat your hand? I have. Let’s just say the contents of my shopping card were a bit, shall we say, excessive? Hungry or not, going to the store without a plan is a sure-fire way to waste money. Instead of making a general shopping list, make a weekly cooking list. Write down everything you plan to eat for the next 7 days and list every ingredient you will need below your meals. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in your shopping cart. Click here for a big list of over 100 quick and easy healthy recipe ideas that will make you say “nom, nom!”

5. Start a food diary.

Did you know a pen and paper can help you save money and get healthy? True story. Do this: write down every meal you eat for the next week. Also include any details like what time you ate, how you felt after eating (did your meal make you feel happy and fulfilled or sad and lethargic?), and a rating of how much you enjoyed your meal from 1-10. I would be willing to wager you’ll discover that natural, healthy foods like fruits and veggies make you feel a whole lot better than processed junk. This isn’t news: you know it — I know it — we all know it. But keeping a diary and being aware of the effect food has on your mood, energy, and body makes it a whole lot more personal (so you’re going to be more likely to make better decisions in the future!). While you’re at it, you should also start a training diary: click here to find out why.

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6. Keep your closet tidy and organized.

Get a really big bag and keep it in the bottom of your closet (an over-sized department store bag or trash-bag would work). As clothes become old and neglected, they go in the bag. If you can’t remember the last time you wore it, it goes in the bag. Every time your bag fills up, take your clothes to a local thrift store to make some dough (cha-ching!) and give the rest away to a charity (or friend) of your choice. Eliminating clutter will help you reduce stress (and who can argue with some extra spending money?).

7. Squeeze exercise into your busy schedule.

If you’re a member of club broke (or even if you’re not), it’s totally okay to work out at home. Exercise is the best medicine you’re not taking (and it’s a whole lot cheaper than that over-the-counter stuff!). It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You could wake up 30 minutes early and start your day with a dog walk or neighborhood run. You could park super far away or take the stairs to get some extra walking in. You could invest in a chin-up bar (or just grab onto a tree branch) and build a strong back that’s less prone to injury. Can’t do push-ups? Do incline push-ups on a wall, counter, or sturdy table. Any exercise is better than no exercise, so get moving (no matter how long you have!).

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8. Brown bag your lunch.

This tip is obvious, but it’s obvious because it works. If you’ve never tried preparing and packing your own lunch, just try it for a week or two. Compare the expense of eating out to the cost of cooking in and I have no doubt you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you’re short on time, prepare 3-7 days of food at a time and refrigerate or freeze it as applicable (and then you can just “zap” it at meal time).

9. Feel the wind in your face.

Since gas is one of the most expensive things ever, why not turn a negative for your bank account into a positive for your body and environment? If you live close enough, bike to work. You’ll save tons of cash on gas, lose weight, and release endorphins (your body’s feel-good chemicals that make you feel on top of the world). If biking to work is out of the question, try to squeeze a quick walk into your morning and/or lunch hour.

10. Stick with it.

The best fitness plan is worthless if you can’t stick with it for more than a few weeks or months. I know changing your negative habits isn’t easy, but you just gotta do it. If you have a lot of bad habits and aren’t sure how to start, check out my guide to breaking bad habits once and for all.

I hope putting these healthy habits in practice helps you feel happy, look good, and save money. If you have any other cost-saving health tips, please post them below. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

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