Health care: It’s on everyone’s mind these days, and for good reason. Combine the soaring cost of health insurance premiums, increasing copays and skyrocketing deductibles with the outrageous cost of some medications, and it’s enough to give you a heart attack.
But lest you think there’s nothing you can do to keep your family’s health care costs under control, I have good news. You can. You have the power.
The best way to cut medical costs is to prevent them in the first place. I am talking about lifestyle: small changes to save you money and improve your quality of life.
How much money are we talking about? A 2019 survey by CompareCards showed that one-third of cardholders are in credit card debt due to medical bills. And, almost 10 percent of people who used their credit card to pay a medical bill owe at least $10,000.
Imagine how this number could grow should health care costs rise. Have you had enough? Ready to cut your medical costs? Awesome. We’ll do this together.
Sitting on our bottoms — whether at work, at school, at home, in a car, in a chair, on a sofa or in front of the television — has recently been linked to all kinds of health problems. In fact, numerous studies show that sitting too many hours in a day is costly because it contributes to high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, a higher risk of blood clots and (gasp!) sluggish bowels.
Some health professionals are beginning to equate sitting to smoking in terms of harm to overall health.
Make it easy: Identify a daily activity like talking on the phone, texting or reading that you will no longer participate in while seated. Do these things while standing. I love to knit, and, you guessed it, I now stand and knit. It’s not bad. In fact, I’m quite enjoying this because I find I’m more alert and I make fewer mistakes.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Water. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine recommended a daily fluid intake of 91 ounces for women and 125 ounces for men. Different sources debate how much water it’s necessary to drink, but the benefits of drinking enough water are huge for everyone.
Could it be that we’re depending on flavored water or juices with added sugar for hydration? Plain water is much better for us than these pricey beverages, and it’s practically free.
According to WebMD, water helps to maintain the balance of body fluids; control calorie intake; reduce muscle fatigue; keep skin looking good; keep kidneys healthy and kidney stones at bay; and keep the bowels functioning properly.
Make it easy: First, commit to water as your beverage of choice. Then, invest in a great water bottle, such as the one I have from Contigo. It’s easy to use, helps me keep track of my daily intake and is just the right size to not misplace. It’s made all the difference for me.
Sleep, we are learning, plays a huge role in good health. Sleep will curb inflammation — which is now being linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and premature aging — and improve your memory.
Just imagine all of the money being spent these days on those particular health issues that may well be simply slept away.
Make it easy: Instead of (or in addition to) setting the alarm to wake up, set it to remind you to go to bed. Make it nonnegotiable to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
Mary Hunt is the founder of https://www.everydaycheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of “Debt-Proof Living.”