A swipe here and a swipe there — often we can’t (or even choose not to) track our expenses until we peek at credit card statements to see the unfortunate numbers. Need to rehabilitate your money management? One of the best ways to cut back on spending is to focus on your eating habits and fitness. If these could use some work, here’s how you can overhaul your lifestyle, to benefit both your physical health and your financial health.
Order Less, Eat Less, Pay Less
Eating out at a restaurant has evolved from being a rare special occasion to being a convenient way to get a good meal — and rounds of drinks, appetizers and dessert. The more eating out becomes a habit, the more ordering an item from each category becomes a ritual. Large calorie-laden portion sizes eventually become the norm. As the order and number of plates grow, so does the check and your waistline.
Cut back on calories by only ordering an entree and sticking to just water as your beverage. If you're feeling ravenous, eat a handful of almonds or piece of fruit before you arrive at the restaurant. Revamping a routine of ordering multiple items could reduce a typical bill by half (if not more), while downsizing what you consume overall.
Prevent Future Medical Expenses
Giving into pleasures in the moment often overrules long-term consequences. Indulging in a piece of cake doesn't immediately lead to heart disease or diabetes, but a prolonged lifestyle of eating sugary foods without moderation can put you on the path toward serious health complications. A poor diet of unhealthy food, especially when combined with a sedentary lifestyle, can trigger high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea or joint pain — and managing these problems late in the game can be costly. Someone with good health is more likely to spend less on co-pays for doctor visits, prescriptions and deductibles throughout their lifetime.
Turn Your Phone Into a Tracking Tool
Since your phone is always inches away from you, why not use it as your all-in-one personal trainer, fitness coach and nutritionist? Many smartphones have native apps designed to track daily activity, diet and sleep habits. But countless apps are available to download (many for free) that can record workouts, collect fitness stats, count calories, track nutrients and more (which helps with accountability and motivation as you progress). While an app like MyFitnessPal can help transform your lifestyle from the kitchen to the gym, you can also use your Samsung S Pen to jot down motivational quotes, PRs and grocery lists as you continue to work toward your goals.
Ditch the Vices
You may think a mocha here and an energy drink there are harmless pick-me-ups, but as these become daily habits, your bank account goes down and the scale goes up. Just because these smaller purchases may not leave a huge dent in your account at first, over time, they can add up to an astonishing amount.
Review past bank statements to highlight and add up frivolous purchases. Look for packaged sweet treats, fast food, vending machine snacks, fancy sodas, a six-pack of beer and other sneaky vices loaded with excess calories, sugar, trans fats and other toxic ingredients. Cutting these out completely or replacing your vices with less costly, healthier alternatives will help you stop wasting dollars as your health deteriorates.
Revamp Your Entertainment and Social Life
Heading to the movies? You can’t pass up a cold soda, popcorn and candy for a salty and sweet treat. Do plans with friends always include a boozy brunch with a huge breakfast spread and bottomless mimosas? Is happy hour the best way for you to unwind after a long day at the office? Imagine a different lifestyle in which your post-work happy hour includes a barbell, instead of going to the bar. What if your get-togethers with friends were for a hike or run outdoors, rather than meeting at a restaurant where you run your credit card up. Even cooking a homemade, healthy breakfast or dinner with your family or as a romantic date can be a fun event that saves you money. You’ll also have leftovers or extra ingredients that you can use to create another fun dish.