Tax Returns: 5 Lifestyle Changes That Will Make You Healthier!
Many people treat their payment from Uncle Sam like a forced savings account, using it to pay off a lump of debt or build up their emergency savings fund.
In a survey from TaxSlayer, 43 percent of Americans said they would save their tax refund while 42 percent plan to use it to pay off debt.
How about the rest of the people, the ones who don’t have any debts to worry about or already have a stable savings account? We believe that there are healthier ways of spending your tax returns, rather than splurging on a new wardrobe or other spontaneous buys.
In fact, JT, an alias for the founder of Just Making Cents, says that:
“Getting personally and financially fit are really similar…Your calorie intake is like your spending. Eat fewer calories than you use, and you lose weight. Spend less money than you make, and you save.”
Implementing just one or two of these lifestyle tips could make a positive difference in your physical and financial health for the long haul.
If you’re having a tough time deciding whether you want to invest or spend, here’s a start: INVEST IN YOURSELF BY SPENDING ON YOUR HEALTH!
Here are 5 ways you can invest in a healthier you, including an investment that doubles as a financial one for those people who qualify:
- Give some towards your Health Savings Account a.k.a. HSA
Consider putting a little bit of your savings unto your health savings account. This can help if you go to the doctor frequently or have health issues that need to be attended to. These HSA’s are special savings accounts you can use to pay medical costs and are available to people with high-deductible health plans (HDHP).
Fun Fact: Having an HAS can be an incentive to put money into because they grow overtime. You know, like your 401K plan? If you switch out of your high-deductible health plan in the future, you can no longer contribute to the account. However, you keep the money already contributed, and if it’s invested, the money will continue to grow.
Good news is that the money you input into the HSA is tax-free and tax-deductible, but there are limits.
- Put in to a home gym or at least equipment as a start…
Some people consider working out at home easier and more convenient than signing up for a gym. Which is good because at least this gives you a chance to start renovating that guest room you have or garage into a home gym with its own equipment!
Here are some simple costs on equipment you might want to start off with:
- If you don’t want a “Fancy Shmancy” treadmill with all the screens and extras details, you can spend less than $900 for one. Otherwise, you can find yourself spending more than $2,000 on one.
- Stationary bikes can cost less than $500 for a good enough model.
- Spinning bikes, like the ones you may see in gym classes, can be bought for less than $1,000.
Of course, everyone has their interests in the equipment that is advertised as the best of the best but we recommend getting equipment that is tried and true such as the basic ones you find in the local gym. Why? Because most likely you won’t use the fancy and complicated machines. Machines that mimic common movements (bicycles, running, etc.) have always been around and can be a great way to help you start your training in the comfort of your own home!
- Personal trainer
This might seem like a stretch in spending your tax refunds, but one thing you should remember is that having a couple of sessions with a personal trainer can get your fitness started on the right track. This is worth the investment. Professional trainers can help drive you to achieve your health goals, no matter what level of fitness you are on.
The thing is you don’t need to make it a weekly commitment. Just take a couple of sessions, learn some new moves, tips and advice. You would be surprised but just a few sessions can be enough to learn. To get your money’s worth, use a trainer who’s been certified by either the American Council on Exercise or the American College of Sports Medicine. They’re usually designated as an ACE- or ACSM-certified personal trainer.
- Invest in the right gear
Now, if you are seriously thinking about taking your fitness into your own hands spending a little more on things you already use such the right shoes, clothes, or even fitness trackers can help you increase your activity with fitness.
Did you know that running shoes are made differently for people with flat feet or high arches? If you’re using the wrong pair because of their low price, they could contribute to joint pain or just wear out faster. To find the perfect shoe go into a store and ask a specialist about what fits you perfectly!
As for fitness trackers even though they are often costly, they may be very helpful for you in achieving your exercise goals! Again, you can find models that are a little more affordable but have the same results. Either way this little gadget helps with tracking everything you need to be doing to get your goals to where you want them to be.
- Eat healthy and fresh!
Honestly, if you are looking for a healthy lifestyle change that won’t break your bank account, it’s all about making the right choices.
Cooking at home, bringing lunch to work, or making your own lunch are a few of those lifestyle changes that will save you money. The thing is that for this to have some sort of positive effect on your health benefits, it’s significant to choose the right components.
What does this mean? Staying away from one thing: PROCESSED FOODS. Instead use fresh alternatives. Just because something is organic does not mean you are going to be broke.
The thing is that you can eat nice and healthy on a budget. Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part many of the items on your grocery list can be found at the same price as a processed item. It also depends on where you choose to shop and what items are on sale at the time.
Eating fresh and tracking your calories while you’re at it, are two key lifestyle changes that will save you money and give your health a boost in life!
So think twice about how to use your tax refund this year and see if there are some ways like the above in which you could instead use it to invest in your health!