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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 June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

Reference

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