4 min read
Nov 02, 2020
November 02, 2020
These simple adjustments can help make your lifestyle a little (or a lot) less expensive
You know about the ripple effect: one choice here has the power to influence a dozen things over there. Same goes for your finances. Choices you may not associate with money tend to impact your day-to-day budget anyway.
So if you’re tired of constantly watching every nickel and dime, maybe it’s time to shift your focus and use the ripple effect to your financial advantage. Take a look at these simple things you can do to improve your overall well-being. The truth is, the positive effects are bound to trickle into your budget along the way.
Even if you’re what you would call “indoorsy,” there’s no better time to see what’s beyond your front door. Research suggests that spending just two hours per week in a green space, mountain, or marine environment can have a measurable positive effect on your physical and mental well-being. What’s more, it’s a boost that’s generally cost-free. After all, your taxes likely paid for that park bench or hiking trail.
While you’re at it, get a friend to join you. Did you know people who exercise with others skip their workouts less often? And nobody needs to tell you more exercise is good for you. If you buddy up on a regular basis, you may even be able to cancel that gym membership.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” You may have seen those words on an inspirational poster or your favorite Pinterest board. And while there’s some disagreement about the origin of that quote (Aristotle or a guy called Will Durrant?) there’s no disputing its wisdom.
Learning to form good habits and break bad ones will improve your life altogether. And there’s no shortage of planners, self-help gurus, and religious tenets claiming to teach you how. Whether you “put first things first,” like Stephen Covey suggests, revise your “habit loop,” a la Charles Duhigg, or follow James Clear’s advice to turn small changes into big results, fine-tuning your daily habits will pay off in the long run. Take a look at the authors mentioned here or find a different method that works for you.
Before you finish that eye roll roll, yes, people, it’s time to take advantage of the many perks offered by your local library. You can check out books, of course, but you can also borrow lots of other media. Most libraries lend audio books, movies, music, and even artwork. And some offer subscription services and streaming services for free. You can usually get a great WiFi connection and a quiet space to work, too, in case high-speed internet at your own place comes at too high a price.
According to mentalfloss.com, your library could also be a treasure trove of other lesser-known gems, like green screens, museum passes, and power tools. Some museums have a garden seed exchange and various musical instruments available to try out. Think of all the hobbies you could dabble in without ever touching your “entertainment” budget allowance.
Seasonally-grown, locally sourced produce is better for you — and the environment. Why not go ahead and plant a few things in your own backyard? You probably don’t need as much room as you think, and you just might enjoy nurturing different foods from seed to harvest. At the very least, throw a tomato plant in a pot on the patio. After all, homegrown tomatoes just taste better than store-bought.
Go a step further and learn to bottle those extra tomatoes and peppers from your garden (or the local farmers’ market). Again, it’s great for the environment. Home canning reduces food waste along with packaging and transportation costs. But home canning also has the potential to save you a few bucks in the grocery budget. And the satisfaction a couple rows of freshly-filled jars can provide is priceless. Trust us, even one batch will make you feel like a true domestic goddess (or god).
How can sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition affect your financial well-being? Turns out, in lots of ways. For one thing, people who have honed the skills to take charge of their health often use that same skill set to take charge of their finances. (See the power of good habits above.) In addition, being at your healthy best means fewer healthcare and medication costs, over time and in the short term.
And financial health requires smooth cognitive function and good decision-making skills, both of which are improved by — you guessed it — proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Getting enough sleep is so essential to brain function that a Harvard study showed naps as short at six minutes can boost your memory. There’s ample evidence to suggest that regular exercise provides a host of benefits to body and mind. And if you want still more advice from the folks at Harvard, here’s a list of foods to incorporate into your diet for better brain health.
Any way you slice it, improving your health could mean better decisions now — and more savings down the road.
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