How to Save Money by Living Healthy


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
You know the old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Well, someone should have reminded me about that during my senior year in high school, as well as my freshman and junior years in college. To put matters bluntly, I was a junk food-eating, sofa-loving, TV-bingeing person. I didn’t need to care about my health because I was young, right? Nothing bad ever happens to young people. Besides, if something bad did happen to me, it couldn’t be too bad, and whatever cure was needed couldn’t be too expensive. Right?

Oh, how so very wrong I was.

By my second year in college, my blood pressure shot up to 180 over 120. To make matters worse, my blood sugar was also pretty high. My joints ached all day, my mind was foggy, and I felt blah all day long. My doctor(s) gave me the diagnosis: I was hypertensive and pre-diabetic. I had to undergo some pretty radical lifestyle changes before things got way worse than they already were.

So I did just that. I changed my lifestyle. I tried to eat healthier and move more. And here’s where I got an epiphany: while I did spend a good amount of money on gym memberships and fresh, healthy foods, in a way I was saving money. Because things could have gotten way worse (and by that I meant expensive). So in a way, I was investing in my health.

During that time, I learned a few ways to save money by being healthy. Since I wasn’t super-rich, I had to adopt a frugal healthy living mindset. I learned how to economize, and maximize. I learned how to cook my own food (not the easiest thing to do for college students), and how to become more active. I even learned about a few apps that let me earn while I moved towards a more healthy lifestyle. Since I know my experiences can’t be that unique, I figured there would be a lot of people out there who could use a bit of inspiration for getting healthy the frugal way. And that’s why I’m writing this post.

In this article, I’ll be sharing some tips on how to save money by living healthy… as well as tips on how to save money while living healthy (remember, those are two different things). So, enough preamble. Let’s get to my list!

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Cut Down on Sugar

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at the amount of sugar in some of the foods we eat. I recently checked out a can of tomato soup in the grocery, and was shocked to learn that it contained more sugar than a can of soda! So sugar isn’t confined to the usual suspects like candy bars and sodas.

To effectively cut down on sugar, you’ll also have to read the labels on everything you eat. That can of beans might be innocuous, but you need to make sure it contains a reasonable amount of sugar (if at all).

Carbohydrates are also an unlikely source of sugar. Carbs are present in most of our staple foods, such as bread, pasta, and rice. So you’ll have to forego bingeing on bolognese with a side of garlic bread. It might suck having to deprive yourself of certain comfort foods, but end results will be more than worth it.

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Use SweatCoin

SweatCoin is a mobile app that rewards you for being more active. You install it on your phone, and it tracks your movements, much like a FitBit. But unlike a FitBit, you earn points on SweatCoin (called, appropriately enough, “SweatCoins”), which you can then later trade for cash or other reward options. If that isn’t a great incentive to get up and get active, I don’t know what is. It’s like having a nice carrot dangling in front of you.

A lot of people use SweatCoin, so you know it’s legit. And it’s easy to use, also. All you need to do is walk (although I also prefer to run) and the app tracks the distance you cover via GPS. The site is pretty accurate as well; as of this writing, SweatCoin members have walked exactly 1,721,548,081,103 steps – although I’m sure that number would have increased by the time you read this!

The fact that you’re being tracked by GPS is important here – you will only earn if you walk outdoors. If the SweatCoin GPS spots that you’re walking on a treadmill indoors, or on a stationary spot, you won’t earn anything. This might seem like a big imposition, but I like it. Like I said earlier, I need every push and incentive to go out and get active. This definitely fits that bill.

When you’ve earned about 50 SweatCoins (the equivalent of an average day’s worth of walking) you can convert your points to cash or gift cards.

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Use the My Achievement App

Here’s another app that rewards you for being active. My Achievement does just that, but it takes it to the next level. Instead of rewarding you for “just” walking around outdoors, My Achievement also tracks other components of your bid for healthier living. These including things like the distance you’ve run, the amount of sleep you get, and even your diet and eating habits, and the amount of time you spend meditating.

I like the My Achievement app because it’s more “holistic.” The app seems to know that trying to get healthy isn’t limited to just a handful of activities. There are a lot of things you need to do to get healthy, so why not incentivize all of them as well?

But one thing I need to mention is that My Achievement needs to work with other health tracker apps, such as Apple Health, Daily Mile, Expresso, Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and LifeFitness. (There are lots more apps you can use My Achievement with) So in effect, My Achievement is like your coach or cheerleader. It gives you rewards for all the good stuff those other apps have tracked.

Like SweatCoin, My Achievement gives you points, which you can trade for rewards later on.

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