Managing your money wisely is more than just spending less. It’s about spending less on things you don’t need, and more on things that really add value to your life. Knowing the difference is the hard part.
While this is mostly due to individual priorities and preferences, there are certain expenses that anyone can take advantage of. Here are some of the most important ones.
It is well known that the cost of health care in America is expensive, but this is not a reason to avoid signing up for health insurance. If you don’t have insurance and need to see a doctor, you could end up paying thousands or even tens of thousands of medical bills.
Even worse, you can skip checkups and screening tests just to avoid expenses. Regular physical exams and blood work can prevent minor problems from turning into major problems.
Even signing up for a high deductible plan is better than no coverage. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a benefit through the health care market.
You don’t need to turn to urgent care every time you feel a strange shock or a cold, but it is wise to be aware of your health. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, pay attention to your readings. If you have many grandparents who died of colon cancer, ask your doctor if you should start a colon exam early.
Almost every health problem is less expensive to fix in the early stages. Waiting may only exacerbate the cost — and worsen the outcome.
Investing in your mental health may seem like a luxury, but it can greatly improve your quality of life. Visiting a therapist or using prescription medications can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve your personal and professional life.
For example, if you suffer from social anxiety, you can avoid networking events or appointments. But if you find a therapist who specializes in social anxiety, you can become more comfortable in these situations.
Fortunately, mental health care does not need to break the bank. There are many ways Save money on mental health While you are still getting the care you need.
Exercise and diet
Whether you’re paying for a personal trainer or spending thousands on a peloton, investing in a regular exercise habit can pay off. You can exercise for three hours a week Reduce the death rate by 27%.
A healthy weight can also affect how much you pay for health insurance premiums. If your doctor identifies your weight as a risk factor, the health insurance company may assume that you are more likely to need more medical care — and charge you higher premiums as a result.
Weight also plays an important role in how much you pay for life insurance. Life insurance providers often order a medical exam to check your weight, blood work and other factors.
Life insurance providers divide clients into four categories based on health, ranging from most healthy to least healthy: Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard Plus and Standard According to the Genius insurance policyPreferred tier customer will pay an average of $28 per month for a $500,000 20-year policy.
A person in the standard class will pay $48.38 per month. After 20 years, that adds up to $4,891.20 paid more than the person in the Preferred Plus tier.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us realized how much we were spending to go out with our friends. As the world begins to reopen, some consumers are hesitant to reopen their wallets.
But don’t use austerity as a reason to avoid seeing your friends. Research shows that people with strong social bonds They may live longer and have fewer mental health problems From those who do not have. One study found that loneliness has an effect The same negative effect on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Put an item in your budget for social activities and think of it as an investment in your physical and mental health. If you’re feeling cash-strapped, invite your friends over for communal dining, game nights, and backyard barbecues.
There is a saying: “Always spend money on what separates you from the ground: shoes, tires, and mattresses.”
But many consumers avoid spending money on a good mattress. The reason is simple: even cheap mattresses cost hundreds of dollars. Spending $700 on a mattress when you find one for $200 seems like overkill.
But when you spend a third of your life lying on something, it makes sense to splurge a little bit when you buy it. Improving sleep quality can boost the immune system, reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function.
Some people are fortunate enough to work for companies that invest in their professional development. If that doesn’t describe your office, you will have to pay for continuing education yourself.
Going to a conference, graduate school, or seminar can be costly, but investing in your career often has a significant ROI. It can help you learn the skills you need to get promoted or find a better job at a different company. If you are trying to switch industries, attending a conference can allow you to make new connections in your field.
In some cases, you can deduct continuing education and professional development expenses from your taxes — even if your employer doesn’t require or suggest them.
After you graduate from college and start working, you realize how much time is left in the day after you get home from work. Investing in your hobbies will make you happier and more fulfilling because it provides the opportunity to build a sense of purpose outside of work.
Don’t feel pressured to monetize your hobbies or choose something related to your career. Think about what you like to do for fun and pursue that passion freely. If possible, choose hobbies that involve other people or exercise, both of which will boost your mood.
Zina Kumuk is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. A former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. Featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Read about how she paid off $28,000 of student loans in three years at Conscious Coins.