Cost of Eating Healthy vs. Unhealthy Part 2

By: Lynn (Drew's wife) Yesterday, I posted a rather hotly debated blog post – breaking down the costs of unhealthy vs. healthy eating.  Today, I thought it would be beneficial to look at some of the “hidden” costs of being unhealthy. First, it’s important to look at some of the things we buy when we’re not necessarily looking out for our best eating habits.  These aren’t necessarily foods – they are expenses we didn’t expect, as Drew started to realize what being overweight really entailed. Items we bought when Drew was unhealthy that we don’t buy when we’re healthy:
  • Creams and powders to help with his chaffing= approximately $10 a month
  • Lotions to try and curb stretch marks (he’d hate that I put this in there)= approximately $20 a month
  • All the soda & energy drinks as explained yesterday= approximately $30-$50 a month
  • A LOT more fast food and eating out as explained above going over $130 above what we’d normally spend.
It got me thinking about some of the costs that not even Drew had to take on (since his stage of being overweight was limited to his 1-year journey).  But when you start examining how being unhealthy can affect your pocket book in other ways, the numbers start piling up.  Here are some possible additional expenses: Doctor’s bills would most likely increase.  Someone would have to pay their deductible and co-payments along with higher insurance premiums. Because Dr. Willey offered to sponsor Drew through his journey and paid for his lab work and doctor bills, we’re not able to gauge and give accurate figures as to what someone may spend on their doctor bills, but I know that if Drew had to pay for all his visits and lab/blood work it was actually a couple THOUSAND dollars…YIKES!!! Before Drew started this journey he hadn’t needed to go to a doctor in 6 years. Also, the doctors wanted Drew to go on blood pressure medication (but he didn’t). If he would have, then that would be an additional co-payment cost for his medicine and we’re not sure on what that cost would be. We assume many people that have health problems caused from being overweight may be spending quite a bit on medications and doctor visits. Then again, it’s not all just cost when you’re unhealthy.  There are some costs that we deal with in our efforts to live a healthy lifestyle:  These are two that come to mind:
  • $30 monthly membership at a gym
  • Approximately $200 monthly for supplements/vitamins (cost for a year spread over 12 months). We realize this is pretty expensive for many people and when we were both fit we spent a bit less.
When you take into account our gym membership and supplements our family does spend a little more in the healthier stage of the journey. However, if we had to pay for Drew’s medical bills there is no doubt that the cost for us would be MORE to be unhealthy then healthy. I realize many people live on a certain budget and some people say they make $75 feed their whole family for the week. I think there are ways to cut back on even the healthy grocery list to make it more affordable for those families on a budget. Some of the tips I have are:
  • Buy fruit that is in season (and therefore less expensive)
  • Buy vegetables that are in season (and therefore less expensive)
  • Price Match- I don’t know if your grocery store does this, but mine does. I look through the weekly ads and when I see chicken breast for example on sales per lb. I take it to my store and I load up on a ton of chicken and price match to save money and then freeze it to preserve it until I need it. Same goes for price matching produce or other products we often use.
  • Buy generic brands- my grocery store sells both name brands and generic brands. The generic is less expensive.
  • Make appropriate substitutions- if you can’t afford protein bars then don’t buy them. Buy a different healthy snack that is less expensive.
I think regardless of people’s opinions regarding my analysis for my family, it’s hard to debate that overall our health/life is much more important then the few extra dollars you’ll save eating unhealthy. I’m not saying people should go into debt or go broke when it’s out of their budget either, but I feel that everyone should just try to do the best they can. Part 1 of my blog post mentioned that there are a million excuses we have to not be healthy.  Hopefully, a look into our expenses shows you that being healthy isn’t impossible – even if it costs a few more bucks at the grocery store.  It’s not a reason to hold yourself back, or find the healthier you. As my husband says, “Commit to a healthier you, regardless of your circumstance”.