Whether you are aware consciously or not, you make every decision throughout your day based on the cost to you.
Am I going to buy a product - How much does it cost?
Am I going to participate in an event - What’s the cost of my time?
Am I going to get a haircut once every 4 weeks or 5 weeks - What’s the savings of fewer yearly haircuts versus the cost of dealing with slightly longer hair for one week out of five?
The biggest cost question that is ignored is the cost of what we eat to our overall health. There is definitely a financial cost to how we eat. This is a hugely debated topic - is it cheaper to eat healthy or not eat healthy? Fast food restaurants want you to believe that it is cheaper to eat there food than it is to go to the grocery store and cook at home. That’s not true in most instances, but is it cheaper to eat at home when eating healthy food versus non-healthy foods?
This is where you have to do some research on how you eat and what it takes to eat healthy. I’ve done the research with my own family’s groceries and found that it can be cheaper to eat unhealthy when shopping at the grocery store. But it’s by less than you think. The key to remember here is that you are only comparing a small portion of the equation when you are comparing grocery bills for a month of unhealthy food to a month of healthy food.
But that expense only lasts for a short while. When you eat healthier, you have fewer cravings throughout the day. This means that you eventually eat less when eating healthy foods. While you may be paying more per pound, you’ll eat fewer pounds.
Beyond financial cost, there is also the cost of time. How we eat plays a huge role in how we spend our time and how productive we are with our time. It is estimated that the average American wastes between 1.5-2.5 hours a day being unproductive at work. This is staggering. It adds up to a whole day a week of work time wasted. That’s 50 days a year after you account for paid days off.
This is a direct reflection of the poor diet most Americans live by. The Standard American Diet (SAD diet) drains the body of energy instead of producing energy. It causes inflammation, fatigue, mental slowness, emotional instability, and illness just to name a few issues.
If you had 50 days of productivity more at work each year do you think you would get that next promotion? Do you think you would get a raise more than just the cost of living increase? Do you think your company would give you one heck of an end of year bonus?
Now if you could get a promotion, raise, or large end of year bonus would it be worth a slight increase in your grocery bill?
Then there is the cost to your overall health. Living a life where you are not deliberate in your decisions puts you on autopilot. The typical person on autopilot tends to make decisions like those around them while being highly influenced by advertising. With 70% of the American public being overweight or obese, if you start making decisions based on the majority around you what do you think will happen? You’ll end up overweight or obese, unproductive at work, searching for that quick fix to all the woes in your life.
Yes, there is a financial cost to living a healthy lifestyle today. It’s a cost most Americans are not willing to make. I’m going to urge you to change that in your life. Paying a little more now for healthy foods will dramatically reduce your healthcare costs in both the short term and long term.
This could mean savings in health insurance premiums, savings from fewer doctors visits, less time away from work due to illness, fewer prescription/medications needed, and life insurance premiums just to name a few areas you could save now.
Long term let’s look at just one disease - the most common disease in America - heart disease. There are several pieces that fall under heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, bypass surgery, etc. If you eat unhealthy foods and have a sedentary lifestyle, you have a high likelihood of developing heart disease. Bypass surgery is becoming more and more common as the years go by - not because it’s treating more symptoms or becoming a cheaper treatment plan. It’s more common because more people are needing it to save their lives.
The average bypass surgery (surgeon, medical support staff, hospital stay, lab work) can cost anywhere from $125,000 to $250,000 before you even get out of the hospital. That doesn’t include post surgery medications, rehabilitation, and the cost of lost wages due to months away from work. It can easily take 12 months or more to recover back to “normal” after bypass surgery.
You could easily be looking at a total cost of $500,000 when all said and done. Think about that the next time you choose unhealthy foods over healthy food options. You aren’t really saving any money buying cheap, non-nutritional foods now. Instead you are spending your future.