At the turn of the calendar, most Americans arrive in the New Year with a long list of goals. As you get ready to say goodbye to 2017 and hello to 2018, you’re no different. Whether it’s due to pure, unadulterated motivation or through a sense of weary obligation, you’re probably brainstorming ways to improve your life in the upcoming year.
Many of the most popular resolutions are health related as January follows on the heels of an indulgent time of the year. They’re usually joined by promises to spend less and save more after the holidays take their financial toll on your budget. Once compiled in one place, your list of best intentions can be overwhelming. But don’t worry — many of your health goals come with unexpected savings, so you can cross off more than one resolution at a time. Let’s look at the top three health-related New Year’s Resolutions that help save more of your hard earned money.
After a month (or more) of overindulging in calorie-rich, butter-laden meals and desserts, losing weight is often a target of many Americans in the New Year. When done safely, losing weight comes with significant benefits to your life. With increased activity and better nutrition, you’ll see a boost in your mood, energy levels, flexibility, and strength — not to mention, you’ll fit back into your favorite pair of jeans.
While many people consider this resolution to be an expensive one to tackle, considering the cost of gym memberships and fresh food, the researchers at Duke University reveal a healthy lifestyle pays off in other ways. Those with high BMI (or Body Mass Index) levels will spend more in medical costs. For example, their work reveals those with a BMI of 33 can expect to spend an average of $3,439 each year, while those with a BMI of 19 would spend just $2,541.
If allowed to inflate, that spare tire could lead to additional costs in other areas of your life, too. Obesity can increase the amount you spend on clothes and insurance, and it may result in getting paid less than co-workers who weigh less. According to the International Journal of Obesity, larger professionals make 2.5 percent less, so losing weight has the potential to lower your expenses and raise your income.
It’s only natural to share a spiked eggnog or two with friends in the leadup to the holidays, toast to Christmas dinner with wine, and drink to the New Year with a flute of champagne. For many Americans, these libations meet their limits at the end of the holidays, but for a number of individuals, they continue drinking throughout the year.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass or two of wine, but excessive drinking can have negative effects on your health and social life. It also comes with significant risks to your budget. The cost of alcohol differs greatly from state to state, so the National Institutes of Health has created a handy cost calculator to break down the price of your weekly, monthly, and yearly habit.
This calculator doesn’t take into consideration any of the other costs associated with excessive drinking. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), excessive drinking costs the nation $249 billion in health care expenses, loss in productivity, criminal justice, and car crashes. Limiting your drinking isn’t always easy, even when you know the health, social, and financial tolls it takes. If you feel as though your drinking is getting out of hand, seek out professional help to keep you away from the bottle.
For those looking to make 2018 a healthier year than the last, quitting smoking is another popular resolution. Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, but it’s negative effects on your budget often go overlooked.
The government is willing to crunch the numbers for you with its cost calculator. All you have to do is punch in the number of cigarettes your smoke each day and the price you pay for your pack. According to this calculator, even a modest habit of ten smokes a day, at the average price of $6.28 per pack, will cost you $1,146.10 each year. After 20 years, it could cost as much as $42,159.97.
This experiment reveals only the literal cost of your daily habit and none of the potential medical costs of this unhealthy addiction. Stats gathered by the American Lung Association show tobacco costs the nation roughly $170 billion in health-care costs each year, plus an addition $156 billion in lost productivity.
The analysts at WalletHub combined these expenses, plus several other related issues, to find the true cost of smoking by state. Kentucky is the cheapest, with a lifetime cost of $1,136,524. At the other end of the spectrum sits New York, where a smoker could pay as much as $2,313,025 for a lifetime habit.
Imagine putting $2.3 million into a 401k over your lifetime, or using the money you saved to pay off your online personal loans and credit cards. Once you reframe your habit within this context, it’s a lot harder to justify wasting your money on pack after pack. Cutting smoking out of your life won’t be easy, but these potential savings — on top of the positive impact on your health — will help you keep away from your smokes.
Many Americans think saving money ought to be its own goal in the New Year, but this is often not the case. Many of the most popular health-related resolutions offer significant savings if completed successfully. By losing weight, quitting drinking, and butting out, health-conscious Americans can spend less without any extra effort. Tackle your health this New Year and see how you can cross off two goals at one time.