3 Reasons to Keep Your Body and Wallet Healthy

Not only can many of your favorite foods and drinks pose a health risk if consumed in high proportions, but the recurring cost could leave your bank account looking very lean. This blog provides some realistic info on the amount of calories and fat in popular food choices as well as tips on how you could eat healthier for less.

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Foods That Pack on the Calories and Empty Your Wallet

If you've been trying to make healthy changes, including drinking less alcohol and coffee and opting for healthier home-cooked meals rather than greasy fast food, you probably know that doing so is going to improve your well-being. But if you think about it, these are all frugal choices as well. Making smart health decisions can actually save you money!

Alcohol: It Adds Up

Having a few beers with friends every now and then isn't necessarily a terrible idea (if you're of legal age, of course). But the frequency with which you consume alcohol can add up to huge calorie loads, not to mention the cost. Consider this: according to Calorie Count, a bottle or can of regular beer has about 153 calories. That may not sound like a lot, but just three will equal 459 calories, Other alcohol isn't much better, with a glass of wine clocking in at 85 calories and a shot of 80 proof alcohol like rum, gin or vodka at about 97 calories.

On top of that calorie burden is the obvious health burden that drinking too much makes you feel terrible. But if that's not enough to convince you to cut back on the drinking, consider the impact it may have on your wallet. Liquor is expensive, and depending on where you live, it might be heavily taxed. And if you prefer to go out to bars to do your drinking, you're probably going to end up spending even more than you would if you just stayed home. If you're finding yourself low on cash every Monday, track your spending for one weekend. Chances are you're spending a whole lot more on booze than you'd like to.

Coffee: A Spending Boost

The health and financial impacts of coffee depend pretty heavily on how you drink it. If your choice is a small cup of plain drip coffee or espresso every morning just to get you going, you're probably not spending an inordinate amount. But if you pound multiple lattes every day, you may want to rethink your strategy. Espresso drinks with foamed milk are typically made with whole milk, which packs about 136 calories and 7 grams of fat per cup. Plus, if you add sugar or lean toward drinks with syrupy additives, you're upping the calorie and fat quotient.

Even if you make careful, healthier choices, like nonfat lattes once or twice a day, you're still saddling yourself with a surprisingly hefty financial burden. Two or three dollars here or there doesn't seem like a lot, especially if you don't buy lattes every day. But let's say you pay $2.75 for a latte at your campus coffee shop twice a week. In just six months, you'll have spent $132! That's money you'd probably rather spend on something else.

Fast Food: Not Such a Great Deal

When you order a cheeseburger and fries, you're probably well aware that you're not making the healthiest choice. But you probably do think that you're making a frugal choice. Well, it turns out that fast food really adds up. Even if you're spending $5 a meal, you're still spending more in the aggregate than you could if you made yourself healthy, fresh meals at home using carefully-selected ingredients. Frozen vegetables are usually just $1 or $2 a pack, and dried beans and other bulk foods are usually available for cents a serving.

You'll be surprised how much you can save by making food at home rather than hitting up the drive through. And if you think you'll be able to make healthy choices at a fast food place, think again.

Being able to cook is just one of several skills that can save students money.

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