Generally speaking, we all want to be physically healthier, and we all want to be more financially fit. Gains in both those spheres really boost our enjoyment of life, but attaining both those goals at the same time can seem intimidating. Can you save money and stay healthy? Do the two go hand-in-hand, or do they butt heads? Read on to learn about ways that will help you improve both your bodily and fiscal fitness. Put these tips into practice and reap two-for-one benefits!
Start with Your Priorities
Before we get into physical improvements, let's start with the financial. Take some time to consider your values and what you most enjoy. Weigh what you spend money on against its worth to you. For example, if pizza makes you happy but you don't care as much about sweets, make sure to spend your calories on cheesy goodness instead of sugar. If traveling is more important to you than the car you drive, allocate your money accordingly. Obviously there are expenses in life that you don't “enjoy” per se (the utility bill, for example). However, if you find that you're buying a cup of coffee every day out of convenience, but don't enjoy it any more than a cup made at home, adjust your routine.
Harness the Power of Habit
The more ingrained an action is, the more likely it will happen. Set up an automatic savings deposit out of every paycheck and watch the account grow. Put your spare change in a jar at the end of the day. Decide on a few healthy breakfast options and stick to them religiously. Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the farthest end of the parking lot so you have to walk farther. Building that habit will make it much easier to pass on the doughnuts in the break room.
Challenge yourself to gain knowledge about managing money and health. Ask your financially savvy friend for a book recommendation and commit to listening to new episodes of the podcast your physically-fit cousin always raves about. To start you off, check out this list of personal finance podcasts, this 12-week daily training journal, and these money-saving apps.
Make Two Budgets
A budget for your money and a budget for your caloric intake can feel emotionally charged. In reality, a budget is just a plan to get you where you want to be and a way to stay there when you do arrive. A budget is a neutral tool of which you are in charge. There's no one way to budget — there are as many ways to budget as there are people. It doesn't have to be strict or complicated. However, there is no way that a budget accidentally happens. Take the first step, and take responsibility for setting budgets into motion.
Allow for Freedom
Life is full of opportunities. A discretionary fund and a regularly schedule “cheat” meal can help you stick to your plans in the long term without feeling deprived. It is possible to reach your goals and still have fun along the way!
Use the Buddy System
Accountability is another useful tool for both physical and fiscal well-being. Give some thought to a person who might be an encouragement to you in your growth. This doesn't mean you have to divulge what your paycheck is or what the scale says, but sharing about new habits you are trying to develop increases your odds of following through.
Track and Celebrate Progress
With your budgets established and your goals set, you will soon have concrete evidence of progress being made. Make sure and celebrate these achievements! Noting your accomplishments will only propel you further.
As it turns out, being physically fit and financially well share a lot of commonalities. A big key in making progress on your goals is concrete, manageable steps. Pick one of the above tips and put it into practice today. Next week, tackle another, and than another. When you implement these small changes regularly, you will get to where you want to go!