Do you have a healthy bank account?

We all know we’re supposed to eat healthily. It’s something we hear or read on a daily basis. But it’s hard. Junk food is seen as an easier and often cheaper option. It’s a story we’re all too familiar with. Limited funds trap us in bad food habits and prices make it impossible to eat healthily. BUT the truth of the matter is that an unhealthy diet costs you far more than a healthy diet will. The silver lining of this fact is that in the long-run, a healthy diet positively impacts your finances!

Let’s talk about hidden costs….

As humans, we’re very good at thinking about life in the short-term. Not only is that box of cookies more appealing than carrots and hummus, but the immediate cost is often cheaper. Make no mistake, you will be paying the money you think you saved in other ways! The long-term costs of a poor diet come in the form of lost productivity, medications, and increased health/life insurance premiums. These hidden costs can severely impact your financial, physical and mental health. But there is hope!

Turning the wheel….

Imagine a hamster wheel. No matter what speed the hamster runs, he stays in place. You can think of how we live like a hamster wheel. Each habit is a step that moves the wheel. In Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, he explains the concept of a “habit loop.” This is a system where we associate a reward with a habit and craving for a reward becomes a craving for the habit. This is just as true for good habits as it is for bad ones. 

Relating back to the hamster wheel metaphor, each habit is a step that moves the wheel. Our habits feed each other. A poor diet can cause you to lose productivity and negatively impact your impulse control. These, in turn, make you earn less money while spending more. But the opposite is true as well! In Duhigg’s book, he refers to “keystone” habits that allow others to change or remain.  Once the “keystone” habit changes, it influences each movement of the wheel. This means you can improve your financial, mental and physical health by simply changing your diet!

Why is this post about food and not mortgages?

Buying a home is a huge challenge. There is a lot to consider when making any financial decisions of that caliber. This is why making sure that we are well-nourished is so important. A healthy mind and body enable you to make such decisions with a clearer mind. It will also save you money by way of reducing impulse purchases and increasing productivity. Saving for a down payment will be a much easier task!

How will my diet cost me more? 

Remember how we form cravings for habits in our “habit loop”? This is where your diet starts to cost you more. Ingredients found in highly processed foods like sugar and salt hijack this system, making us crave them more. This not only makes it easier to fall back on those foods but, between the cravings and the lethargy, it will also make you order in or take-away more. Eating out is crazy expensive, even at the cheaper establishments, and this will surely cut into your home funds!

The solution: Meal prep!

Two life-changing words for you: Meal prep! By prepping either full meals or ingredients, you achieve two amazing things. One, you can reduce the amount of time cooking after a long day’s work, which will eliminate the top excuse for ordering in that we are all too familiar with: “I’m tired!”. Not only is your workload reduced, but having everything ready to go will not make you feel as though you’re wasting food and money. 

The second way meal prep saves you is by allowing you to bulk-buy ingredients when they’re on sale and freezing them. This method of buying and storing ensures that you only purchase when it’s best for you, but it stops you from throwing out spoiled food and money!

If you are new to the idea of meal prep, there are many wonderful resources in blogs and on YouTube with healthy recipes that include vegan, vegetarian, keto and gluten-free! One good Canadian blog to follow for healthy budget-friendly family meals is Budget Bytes. You can check her out here.

How can I do this without eating all my money?

Eating healthy does not mean eating only raw organic foods. You should keep an eye on grocery store flyers and buy produce on sale and in season. Frozen fruits and veggies are much cheaper than fresh while still retaining its nutrient profile. Paying extra for organic takes a hit to your wallet with no real benefit to your body or the environment. Another way to ensure you are seeing to your health and save money is to buy easy to eat fruit like apples or bananas for snacks. They’re much cheaper than trendy healthy snacks such as kale chips and are often healthier. In this way, an apple a day can truly lead to a healthy bank account.

If you need some help building a healthy bank account and are considering getting a mortgage, you can give me a call at (705) 333-4338 or get in touch with me here!