On How We Saved $600 a Month by Getting Healthy
Testing a Theory
In early 2017, I decided to test a theory. At that point, Erin and I had been living more active, healthy lifestyles for almost two years and I suspected that we had saved a great deal of money each month as a result of these changes. To test this theory, I took a bank statement from our account when we were at our least healthy and active. I then compared this bank statement to a recent one.
The Surprising Result
I discovered when we were at our least healthy and active, Erin and I had been spending over $500 a month on eating out and alcohol! We were also spending a lot more on groceries. The combined savings were $625 a month. To put that in context, $625 a month is $7,500 a year.
That could buy you:
- a decent used vehicle
- an amazing vacation
- over 9,000 pounds of lentils (a delicious, cheap source of protein)
- a big diamond ring
In our case, it made paying down our student loans a lot easier, we ended up paying down over $22,000 in student loans well ahead of schedule thanks to these savings. This achievement was featured in a news story, you can read more about that here. Overall, these savings made budgeting our household expenses far less stressful and has given us a lot more flexibility when unexpected or emergency expenses come up.
"the combined savings were $625 a month"
How we did it
Here are the five key ways we achieved this financial goal:
- Cooking more frequently at home
- Restricting alcohol to special occasions like Christmas and birthdays
- When we do eat out, choosing to split a meal or order off the kids menu
- Drinking more water and less soda
- Starting with small changes and building on them over time
How to Maximize Healthy Changes and Prepare for Savings
The other side of this is the investments you will make associated with getting healthy. When considering making a change to a more healthy and active lifestyle, there are some initial start up costs such as a kitchen food scale and portable food containers, but these small expenses should be viewed as investments, since they have the potential to pay huge dividends.
"these small expenses should be viewed as investments"
With regards to ongoing, recurring costs such as a gym membership or buying healthier foods, there are lots of ways to do this on a budget and we are going to be exploring these very topics in a future blog post, so stay tuned!