In the wake of the pandemic, Americans are concerned with their mental health and physical well-being. According to a recent McKinsey survey, wellness has not only become a top priority, we’re spending more than ever on products and activities that claim to help us achieve the results we want. From improving our fitness (and looking good doing it), to learning to be mindful and reducing stress, to eating healthier and sleeping better—the types of products and services available are only growing in number and cost
But will spending more on health and wellness make us feel any better? Not necessarily. We’ve gathered some simple tips to help you maintain an active and healthy post-Covid lifestyle that will have you saving money on your health and wellness expenses at the same time.
With rising costs in the fruits and vegetables aisle, planting a garden—or joining a local community garden—can help you save a bushel. Whether you decide to till your back or front yard, you’re bound to benefit from the extra social time, physical activity, and free healthy food you and your family will have to eat and enjoy almost year-round, depending on where you live. Even if you don’t have much space, you can still harvest the benefits of an indoor garden on a budget with a few potted veggies and herbs on your patio, deck, or windowsill. To cut costs even further, focus on growing what your family eats the most of, reuse egg cartons as seed starting kits, and swap seeds or get cuttings from friends and neighbors.
Do you pay a monthly membership for a gym or health club you use only a few times a month? To save money on your workout routine, ask about putting your membership on “pause” during those months when you’re on vacation, doing outdoor activities more often, or over the holidays when you’re too busy to visit often enough. If you decide to let go of an expensive gym membership entirely, you don’t have to sacrifice staying in shape. Before ditching your dues, ask if you can pay a day rate or just drop in on classes when you have time to visit. (Many gyms will accommodate former members and offer public rates for certain classes.) Don’t forget there are many other free and low–cost ways to stay in shape—local parks, rivers, hiking trails—you can tap into instead of paying for a gym membership.
Are you the type of person who needs a lot of variety to stay engaged and committed to an exercise routine? Avoid getting into a rut at the gym and save money at the same time by searching for fitness coupons, deals, and discounts online. By taking a few classes a month with different instructors or trainers at different gyms and studios, you can keep it interesting and learn new things for a home-based routine. Expand your workout options by searching for activities like indoor rock climbing, yoga studios, meditation classes, and outdoor adventures that get your body moving and working up a sweat naturally.
If working out is more than just a hobby, consider making it a side gig. Get certified to teach pilates or yoga classes, high-intensity kettlebell and dumbbell workouts, lunchtime mobility training, and more. You can earn extra money on a flexible schedule and get free memberships wherever you offer classes. Plus, the social connections you’ll make as an instructor can not only boost your confidence but also positively benefit your emotional and mental well-being. Now that’s a financial health tip we can all get behind.
If you have a stationary bike that only serves as a coat hanger, or a snowboard collecting dust in the garage, try selling those (and other items like them) to someone who could put them to better use. Start by posting a listing on a local online marketplace or have a garage sale to get money quickly. If that doesn’t move it, or you have an expensive gym-grade piece of equipment (like a jacked–up power rack or a tension machine), investigate unloading it with a commercial buyer who can refurbish and resell it for you.
When it comes to mindfulness, many of us need a little structure to get and stay engaged. Thanks to inexpensive apps and podcasts like Headspace®, Calm®, Pocket YogaTM, and Glo®, pricey in-person yoga and meditation classes are no longer your only option. Some teach traditional yoga poses, others soothe frayed nerves with calming music, nature sounds, and prompts for deep breathing. To save the most, watch for free trials and discount codes.
Your family’s weekend outings usually include meals, right? Instead of dining at a restaurant or buying those expensive snacks at the movies, why not pack a picnic, become a meal planning guru, or bake cookies for sneaking into the theatre? Not only will you reduce your spending and enjoy a healthy home cooked meal, you won’t waste time standing in a long line when you could be enjoying more of what you set out to do that day.
If you buy your own medical insurance, check your options at Healthcare.gov (also known as the Healthcare Insurance Marketplace, or Affordable Care Act health coverage). Depending on your household income and family size, your health insurance premiums could be significantly reduced or covered entirely.
Even if you’re insured, you may have gaps in your health coverage—like with drug prescriptions. Fortunately, there are many programs that can help. With pharmaceutical company programs, you typically need to apply with the company; if you’re eligible, the product is shipped to you, your pharmacy, or your doctor’s office. Some nonprofit organizations assist low-income earners get their medications, and some states offer prescription assistance programs. WebMD has compiled a list of resources to help you save on prescriptions.
Preventive and elective out-patient dental care is an important part of overall wellness, yet many Americans can’t access it due to already high and rising out-of-pocket costs, or lack of public or private insurance. One option is to look for free or low-cost dental services through dental colleges or schools of dental hygiene where student work is overseen by licensed professionals. You might just find a great new provider who can serve your family for years to come.
When you look for ways to save money on your health, it can provide peace of mind and reduce stress—and improve your financial wellness. If you need more support than finding savings through cost-cutting alone can provide, a personal loan can help you cover things like unexpected medical expenses. Not only are personal loans from LendingClub Bank fast and easy to secure, the money can be used for almost any purpose, such as making home upgrades, car repairs, and consolidating credit card debt. Personal loans provide fixed payments over a set period of time, and, depending on your credit history, you may qualify for lower rates than credit cards or other types of financing.