10 Ways You Can Afford Optimal Health Today

Choosing The Wants You Really Need

optimal healthFrom time to time, I share stories about meetings with friends and potential clients to discuss safer, simpler and more gentle ways to treat their serious health issues.

Sometimes, these conversations go nowhere… Many folks are so addicted to their daily routines and habits that they’re just not paying enough attention to the really important things in their lives, like good health.

For example, folks don’t think twice about indulging their sweet tooth on a fatty, delicious and expensive mocha decaf latte every day. Unfortunately, too many of these same people will balk when a naturopath like me recommends a supplement or herb that can help them get healthier more safely that isn’t covered by their health insurance plans.

Fact is, you CAN afford good, safe tools to protect your health, if you’re willing to make a fulltime commitment to make the best choices every day, for the rest of your life.

What follows is a list of things most people pay a premium to have, to own or to experience temporarily — sometimes only for a few moments — at the expense of a lifetime of good health, the true measure of a good life.

Mastering your expenses by following some or all of these 10 steps can help you afford the better things in life, not to mention the good health you need and deserve.

Books/CDs

Sorry to say this to all of you book lovers, but do you really NEED to purchase brand new books? I haven’t bought a brand new book from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble in a very long time. This is a sure-fire way to spend more money than you planned.

Honestly, except for business purposes, how often do you REALLY refer back to a book on your bookshelf? Most of us have bookshelves (and some people have three or four filled with books), but do you really read those books again?

Why not use a free service like the library? If your library doesn’t have the book you want, most of them can do an interlibrary loan from another neighboring library. Yes, it might take a week or two to get the book, but so what? If you NEED to purchase a book, look for it at a used bookstore like Half Price Books first.

Fast Foods/Snacks

It bears repeating, if you’re spending ANY money on fast food, not only are you throwing your money away, but you are ensuring a life-threatening illness will become a probability at some point later in your life.

optimal health coffeeThis is particularly true if you visit these establishments frequently (more than once or twice a month). Of course, everyone gets busy and sometimes you have no choice but to run in and grab something. But again, this should happen RARELY.

If you’re spending your money at a drive-thru or gas station, just remember that all of those foods are going to cause health problems. So if you’re serious about getting off medication or are sick of being sick, you need to quit spending money on fast foods and snacks.

Alcohol

I know this will make some people mad. Who doesn’t love a great glass of wine at the end of a crazy-busy day, or a margarita on a hot summer day? I do for sure!

And, I know a lot of you out there do also as evidenced by the Facebook posts I see from some of my friends. My issue isn’t with alcohol in and of itself. After all, in small quantities, an alcoholic beverage can actually be healthy.

My issue is with frequency. Some of you are hitting a glass of wine daily after work! This adds up, not only in dollars, but in unneeded calories and makes your liver have to work a bit harder.

Over time, this is NOT a good thing as your liver has enough to deal with. So do yourself a favor and go easy on the “sauce.”

Clothes/Accessories

Here’s a touchy subject. Once, I had a client who complained about buying a $40 bottle of herbs that would have helped her diabetes. She purchased her insulin for $5 because of insurance, but she complained about the cost of the bottle of herbs. But she was all too happy to tell me about the brand new $300 Coach purse that she had just bought herself!

So I ask you….is the Coach purse going to help her when she gets REALLY sick? She might be able to wear it in style on the way to the hospital, but it’s NOT going to improve her health. Yes, we all like nice things and there certainly isn’t anything wrong with that. But let’s get some perspective.

I have no issue whatsoever shopping in second-hand stores. I’ve gotten some great clothes (designer ones too!) for a mere fraction of what some person paid for them to begin with. So when it comes to clothes and accessories, remember to ask yourself if this purchase is really going to enhance your health.

Entertainment/Movies/Concerts

This is another hole where people end up spending a lot of money and don’t realize it. Back to my earlier comment about the library, did you know you can borrow movies for FREE from the library?

Many people don’t know this but check with your library to see their policies on renting movies. Here in South Central Texas, you can rent a movie for a week and it is 100 percent completely free.

Smoking

Although this seems obvious, I can’t tell you how often I’ve had someone tell me they can’t afford healthy food or they can’t afford a supplement to help them with their anxiety, but they are spending $6 a day on cigarettes.

This one is simple: Cigarettes kill people AND can make you go broke. Just stop already. If you need help, it’s there for the taking, but you have to ask and be willing to make lifestyle changes!

The Latte Factor

Hate to rain on all you Starbucks fans out there, but if you’re one of those people that swings by your local coffee shop to get your daily cup of joe, you’re dropping some serious cash without realizing it.

Buying a plain cup of black coffee will still set you back an average of $3 a day, $21.00 a week, $93 a month or $1,095 annually! At $93 a month, you can afford nutritional supplements to help you live a healthier life. Of course, these numbers will be significantly higher if you’re having a latte with syrups or some other kind of exotic coffee and even more if you splurge for a scone or muffin (those aren’t contributing to your good health either!).

Bank Fees

ATM fees and bank fees are some other ways that people spend money needlessly. If you bank at a “bank,” I would encourage you to switch to a credit union that typically doesn’t charge any monthly fees. If you use an ATM card, stop. Start budgeting appropriately so you have enough cash with you and whatever you do, don’t use an ATM machine that isn’t at your bank.

By the time your bank and their bank are finished with you, your fees could add up to $4-5 per transaction. That’s money thrown down the drain.

Cable

Do you really need 200-300 channels? Do you watch all of them? I have found that there really is very little on TV that is contributing to my life in a positive way. Unfortunately, most are “reality-based” TV shows and we Americans are definitely hooked on what other people are doing in their own lives, but not our own.

What about turning that focus onto ourselves instead? Over the years, I have asked many clients who claimed they didn’t have extra time to prepare proper meals, “What’s going on in your life that you want to escape into someone else’s?” Yes, it’s entertaining, but it’s also a very good escape mechanism that a lot of people are using to hide from the unhappiness in their lives.

optimal health cableAnd, whatever you do, stay away from the infomercial channels! Remember they are designed to get you to buy, so in order to successfully curb your spending, just don’t watch those channels at all or you may be dialing a toll-unfree number before the show is over.

Dining Out

We are a nation that LOVES to eat out. And, with new restaurants continually popping up everywhere, the temptation to eat out is all around you. But for a family of four, eating out can approach close to $100 for an evening, especially if appetizers, dessert and wine for the parents are involved.

Of course we all want to eat out with friends and family, but if you’re finding that you’re eating out more than you’re eating in, please know this type of behavior is not doing your health any favors.

For starters, you really don’t know what the restaurant is doing in the kitchen. I guarantee they aren’t using organic ingredients. Instead, they are most definitely using cheap meats filled with unhealthy antibiotics and hormones and too much sugar, salt and oil when cooking their foods.

Just for kicks, visit a website of a popular chain restaurant, like Chili’s, and download a PDF file of the nutritional information for their foods. Did you know their boneless wings have a whopping 1,040 calories and 67 grams of fat?!

Most of the larger chain restaurants have nutritional information published and I encourage you to look up your favorite foods. Ask yourself, “Is this really helping my health (not to mention what it’s doing to my pocketbook!)?”

I’m not suggesting you never eat out. However, if you find yourself relying on it more and more because it’s “easier” and “quicker,” if you were my client, I would tell you that you need to change some things in your lifestyle so that you can cook meals at home where you CAN control what goes in your food and save some serious dollars too.

And when you do go out, use services like Groupon and LivingSocial to save serious dollars with half-off coupons and other specials.

The Important Stuff

If you’ve reviewed this list and begun to think twice about the extra money you throw away every day for the unnecessary “wants” other people pursue versus the things you, your body, your life and your family really need every day, you’re more than ready to take the next step toward optimal health.

That journey begins by reviewing my Natural Health Services page, then filling out the Contact Me form. Then, we can schedule a free, 10-minute phone consultation to help us both learn about your health concerns, and begin to develop a plan to increase your level of health.

You CAN afford to make that journey to optimal health a top priority. The “when” is up to you…