Your finances and your health are obviously linked. You are reminded of this connection every month when you pay your healthcare premium, or you pick up prescriptions, or open a new medical bill. The Ideal Budget allocates 5% of your take home pay for medical expenses. Depending on a lot of factors, this is either not enough or too much.
And the reality is medical expenses are rarely limited to just doctors visits. What about overall health costs? Vitamins, gym memberships, and healthy food all add up quickly. But are arguably necessary, especially if you want to keep future healthcare costs low.
“There is an undeniable relationship between eating healthy and overall health. Same goes for exercising. Yet one of the most common excuses used to avoid eating healthy and exercising is the cost. And it’s true, eating healthy and exercising will cost you. A gym membership is upwards of $30 a month and produce, especially fresh, organic produce, can cause your grocery bill to spike. But the long term benefits of starting and maintaining these behaviors can potentially save you hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars in medical expenses.” (Courtesy of SmartyCents.com)
I highly recommend combining categories to make room for a healthier lifestyle. By combining the 5% for medical expenses, the 12% for groceries and dining out, and potentially even your 3% for miscellaneous expenses you can create a custom healthy living category.
“Combining food, fitness and medical expenses is in no way an attempt to downplay the importance of visiting a doctor and having health insurance. Instead, combining these categories gives you the freedom to spend money on your health in whatever form is important to you. If exercising at a gym is your preferred way to improve your health, then there is no reason it shouldn’t fit under the “health” umbrella. If visiting a nutritionist and developing a clean eating plan is how you plan to prevent illness, there is no reason it shouldn’t also fit under that same umbrella. There is always room for smart choices in a budget.” (Courtesy of SmaryCents.com)
Check out my column over on SmartyCents.com to see some specific examples of how this budgeting technique can help you stay healthy and on budget.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.