Health care costs are at an all-time high and there seems to be no end in sight. Unhealthy practices lead to unhealthy people seeking more (and more expensive) medical care. And as the general population ages, the costs of health care will continue to spiral upwards. This article will discuss four areas in which you can trim down your health-related expenses: prescription drugs, habits, eating, and exercise.
Since name-brand drugs are usually much more expensive than their generic equivalents, ask your physician and pharmacist for generic drugs whenever appropriate. Generic drugs are federally regulated and must maintain the same standards as the name-brand ones, so there is no need to worry about a difference in quality.
Since pharmacies may charge widely different prices for the same medicine, call several. When taking a drug for an extended period of time (such as blood pressure or diabetic medications), consider utilizing mail-order pharmacies, which often charge lower prices and can ship several months' supplies at one time, so you're less likely to run out of a medication.
Don't ask your doctor for medications you don't need (such as widely overused antibiotics). Remember that you are not the one who went through medical training. However, if your doctor refuses a prescription that you feel you really need, seek out a second opinion.
Quit smoking. Do you have a pack-a-day habit? In some states, that's a daily expense of about $5 - or about $1,800 a year. Add that to your savings! Also, by quitting smoking you can apply for lower insurance rates on health, life and disability insurance. Plus you'll be saving yourself smoking-related health expenses down the road.
Quit or cut back on alcohol consumption. Even that occasional drink costs a pretty penny these days. Order a less expensive alternative when eating out or on the town with friends.
Cut out or drastically reduce fast food. Most fast food is high in calories and fat and can be expensive when consumed on a regular basis. When eating out, choose healthy alternatives; many restaurants now specially note their healthier items on their menus.
Brown bag your lunch and include plenty of healthy snacks. Often you can eat twice as much if you choose healthier alternatives. No need to go hungry, just pick the right types of low fat foods. Get educated about eating right.
Become a part-time vegetarian. Try to have two or three meatless days a week (avoid even fish, if it's expensive in your area). Or go vegetarian for several meals each day. You will save money and be eating healthier.
Exercise is the inseparable companion to all of the areas discussed above. Exercise does more than just occupy a few minutes of your time. Exercise is linked to lower rates of depression, heart disease, diabetes, and other "plagues" of our modern age. Make sure you clear your exercise program with your doctor before beginning.
Make exercise a regular part of your routine. Exercise for entertainment. A walk in the park or around the block with friends or even by yourself can be an entertaining diversion (and it's free!). Exercise as a family for an extra dose of fun.
You don't need a gym membership to exercise. Find ways to perform the same exercises at home or in the park. A set of dumbbells is much cheaper than a yearly gym fee. The #1 exercise activity of choice is walking. It's cheap and enjoyable.
Remember, you've only got one body! Taking care of it should be a priority for all of us. Take those prescriptions that you do need and not those you don't (under your doctor's advisement, of course). Eliminate unhealthy habits and replace them with new ones. Put good, healthy food into your body; it's cheaper than the low-grade fuel you may have been feeding it! Exercise for your mind and body. A healthy body is a lot less expensive to maintain!
Chemain Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe, Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe's Expense Tracker PC software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense Tracker is ideal for tracking personal, business, home, and club expenses. Visit Simple Joe at www.simplejoe.com for more information.© 2010 Simple Joe
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