The cost of medication continues to rise at a rate that outpaces inflation and the average increase in wages. As your purchasing power shrinks and the cost of medical care increases, what can be done to help you stay healthy? Employers are working to reduce their costs for employee healthcare in some creative ways. Whether you have health insurance through an employer or yourself, there are things you can do to decrease your out-of-pocket costs.

The first thing to do, if you aren’t already, is eat healthy and exercise regularly (at least 5 minutes of stretching and a brisk 5 minute walk every day). A healthy body does not need as much care from the medical system as an unhealthy one. As an added benefit, a healthy body supports a healthy mental state which better enables you to roll with the punches life dishes out.

There are a lot of different nutritional diet trends available for you to explore such as the Mediterranean Diet. If you’d prefer to keep it simple you can follow the old rule of basic balance (5 food groups: fats and sugars/meats and beans/milk and cheese/fruits and vegetables/grains) – Breakfast: some protein (some meats like eggs cooked in olive oil), fruit, and grain (bread or cereal topped with jam or sugar), Lunch: Fruit or vegetable, nuts or cheese, Dinner: some protein (meats or beans), vegetables, potato or pasta or rice cooked with avocado or coconut oil. Yes, you will need to prepare and cook your own meals; if you’re new to cooking, a great resource book is the Joy of Cooking cookbook.

Changing your diet from unhealthy to healthier should be eased into in order to not shock your system. Eat unhealthy every meal? Start by eating healthy one meal a day for a week, then two meals a day for a week, then all meals a day beginning your third week. Remove unhealthy items such as processed foods (chips, bologna, American cheese, soft drinks, etc.) and if you need to reduce how much you eat, try using smaller plates and bowls.  It’s also important not to completely exclude foods you really really like even if they’re not healthy; just consume them less often – give yourself the okay to treat yourself once per week.

Another thing you can do to reduce your healthcare costs is increase your medical knowledge through books and websites such as WebMD and Wellness Mama. There are quite a few minor ailments you can identify yourself (or with the help of a Pharmacist) and treat with over-the-counter drugs or natural medicines.

A third way to reduce costs is to keep a fully stocked First Aid Kit at home so you can take care of those cuts, burns, sprains, etc. yourself.

All of the above can also be applied to your pets. Not only will they be happy that they don’t have to go to the Vet but you save the cost of a Vet visit that wasn’t necessary. Here are a few online sources for Pet medical information and nutrition – Cat and Dog First Aid, Animal Wellness Magazine, Vetinfo, Healthy Pets with Dr. Karen Becker, and Only Natural Pet.

Creating at least a three month stock of healthy food (canned and dried) and medicine is a good preparedness start. To keep you going over a longer period of time, you can stock seeds to grow your own vegetables, medicine, and more.

 

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” – Lord Byron

 

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