People who opt to live a frugal lifestyle don’t usually cite their health as a reason that motivates them to save money. However, there are actually a lot of health benefits to choosing to live a frugal lifestyle. Those health benefits are related to stress reduction, food choices, frequency of exercise and the green living that often comes along with living frugally. You may want to save money for other reasons but it sure doesn’t hurt that it makes you healthier too!
Reduced Stress Improves Health
The main reason that a frugal life results in improved health is that people who live frugally tend to have lower stress levels than other people. This is because a leading cause of stress is debt. People who are in debt are stuck in a cycle where they have to work more to earn more to pay off their debt. Increased work loads combined with concerns about making payments result in high stress levels. People who choose to live frugally are frequently able to live debt-free. Even those frugal people who do have debt are likely to be able to take more downtime because their daily costs are low. All of this reduces stress.
There are a lot of illnesses associated with stress which are therefore less likely to happen among people who are living frugally. At a basic level, stress reduces the function of your immune system which means that you’re more likely to catch the common cold and other types of illnesses. Prolonged stress can cause heart problems, diabetes, gum disease and a number of mental health problems (such as depression). People who are able to reduce stress through frugal living may not be prone to getting these problems.
Frugal Food Choices Improve Health
Another reason that a lot of people who live frugally are living healthier lives is because they make good choices about the food that they buy. Food is frequently more affordable when it is purchased directly from farmers rather than when it is shipped. Food is also more affordable when it’s bought fresh and in-season (instead of packaged or out-of-season). And produce tends to be cheaper than meat and packaged goods. These same things that make food more affordable also make your diet a healthier one. Of course, there are some frugal eaters who choose low-cost packaged foods that are not good for them but the average frugal person today is choosing to eat in a way that improves health.
Frugal People May Get More Exercise
It is also possible that frugal people get more exercise than the average person. That’s because one of the best ways to save money is to give up your car. When you replace all of your driving with either walking or bicycling, you get a lot of exercise. Frugal people are also more likely to make choices that involve other exercise. For example, the frugal person isn’t going to call movers when it’s time to move but will instead haul those boxes himself. Again, there are some money-spending people who go to the gym and get really fit but the average frugal person is probably getting more exercise just in the course of daily living than are people who don’t care about spending money.
Frugal Living is Green Living
Some of the health benefits that frugal people experience aren’t immediate. Instead, they come from the fact that choosing a frugal life is creating a healthier environment around them. Many of the things people do to save money are also eco-friendly things that save the earth. Choosing to walk instead of driving is a good example. Others include reducing use of heating and cooling in the home, composting food for your own garden and using homemade cleaning products. All of these things reduce your costs but they also make your environment healthier.
If you were asked to decide whether improving your health or saving money was more important to you, you might have trouble making that choice. Luckily, you don’t have to choose. Living a money-saving life might just naturally make you healthier!