As we continue down the path of breaking down the main barriers that hold us back when it comes to getting healthy, today we make a stop at the bank and see if we can make room for fitness in our disposable income. If you missed last week, we covered time and how we can adjust the things that we do in order to free up a couple of hours a week to get our fitness on.
Although time has its own variables, finances have even more from person to person and couple to couple. Every situation is different and can drastically change from month to month (depending on how mindful you are of saving…this is a totally different story). Debt alone is such a huge variable: some people have car loans, some have student loans, maybe you just bought a house or decided to get a boat. Then, of course, there are credit cards. If you have credit card debt, this should be your number one priority…but I digress.
Children are another variable. They cost money to maintain (is that a bad way to put it?). Then you have groceries to worry about, and essentials to maintain your yard and house cleaning products. Don’t forget about the animals, they cost money, too.
Needless to say, there are a lot of things to take into account when it comes to your finances and getting healthy. However, there 3 aspects of spending that I would like to explore. This is where our true disposable income goes. And, as you’ll see, you might just be blowing more money than you thought:
How much is your cable bill each month? $60? $100 $200? And I’m assuming you have Netflix to go along with that, right? Oh, and don’t forget about Amazon Prime (Hello, this is basically the same as Netflix!!), most of us have that as well. We have smothered ourselves in entertainment possibilities, because we think we need them. How many channels do you actually watch on cable? The average person watches 3 channels from their cable package…3!! We just like to have the OPTION to watch other things. The fact is, you can get most of what you want to watch through some sort of other service, app or device, and it’s usually significantly cheaper than your $100 cable bill. Oh, or you can go outside and enjoy life!
I use the word “disposable” here because these are things that we buy, but don’t need. Items that we like to have, but don’t need to have. They’re typically cheap upfront, however, they are easy to consume and the costs accumulate quickly. These are items like soft drinks, sports drinks, snacks, cigarettes, beer, sweets, juices, cereals, and power bars. I know, I probably just named the majority of what most people buy. All of these categories are things that you don’t need to have, but make you feel good either through sugar or nicotine or alcohol or convenience. This area can easily save a family $200 a month. Evaluate your cart and decide what really needs to be there. After all, eliminating these things will only help in your health and wellness endeavor.
This is another area where there is potential for HUGE savings. The average person eats out 3 days a week. If the average meal costs $12, that’s $36 a week. You can go ahead and quadruple (at least) if you’re a family 3-5. And this doesn’t take into account the drinks that you’ll have. A soft drink at a restaurant is about $2 I believe, so go ahead and add $6 to your $36. That’s about $170 a month for one person, and this is being VERY conservative. Not to mention the bar scene. The average drink at a bar costs somewhere around $3, and if you are simply drinking casually over the course of a couple of hours, you might have 5 drinks. So we can lump another $15 (if you only hit the bars one night a week) to our weekly total, which brings our monthly total to about $230. This is your choice to make, but the numbers are what they are.
Anybody can find excuses to not do the things they know they need to do in order to achieve their goals. If you truly don’t want to do something, you’ll find an excuse not to do it. If health and wellness is something you want to improve, whether it’s extrinsically or intrinsically driven, you can find a way to do it. You may have to eliminate some things that make you comfortable or give you a short term high, but in the long run (which is what we’re shooting for here) your body will thank you.