Save nearly five hundred pounds in just one monthand look after your health in five steps, according to health experts at Bupa:
1) Save £170 a month by kicking your cigarette habit
"This is the biggest thing you can do to improve your health and instantly save yourself hundreds of pounds", says Dr. Annabel Bentley, Bupa's assistant medical director. "Within one month you could save over £170, if you give up your 20 a day habit. Stopping smoking reduces your risk of lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes and your health starts to improve within minutes. Within ten years of stopping, your chances of having a heart attack have fallen to the same as someone who's never smoked."
2) Save £50 a month by ditching your latte and drinking tap water
Go for tap water - it's free and unlike coffee, doesn't stain your teeth or damage your waistline. By cutting out your daily latte with full fat milk, you could save around £50 and 3,652 calories in just one month. Saying no to caffeine could also help you get a good night's sleep - which is central to maintaining a healthy body and mind.
3) Save up to £80 a month by getting fit for free in the great outdoors
With gym membership costing anywhere between £40 and £80 per month, saying goodbye to the gym and exercising outside could save you money instantly. Health experts at Bupa recommend:
Walking up the stairs at work rather than taking the lift
Getting off the bus or tube a stop before your home or work and walking the remaining distance
Using local shops and carrying your groceries home
Bupa's Dr. Bentley comments: "It costs nothing to run around a park, cycle to work or do sit-ups and push-ups in your home. All you need are trainers and running kit."
4) Save as much as £150 per month by cycling to work rather than taking the tube
Over the past 20 to 30 years people's everyday activity level has fallen massively. Walking and cycling have declined by 26 percent. This has led to an increased risk of people becoming obese, as well as developing chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease and diabetes.
With a monthly tube travelcard for Zone 5 now costing £159 per month, switching to your bicycle will be good for your heart and wallet. For shorter journeys, walking is another way to save on travel fares, while car sharing can save on petrol consumption for longer journeys.
5) Save £10 a month by growing your own fruit and vegetables and digging for health
"Gardening is a great way to get healthy", continues Dr. Bentley, "and if you grow a range of fruit and vegetables, you can not only save yourself pounds each month on groceries, but you can also look after your heart. Regular gardening is a great form of moderate exercise, which can help prevent obesity and cut your risk of heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes. Just 30 minutes’ gardening may burn around 300 to 400 calories." Bupa estimates eating just two home-grown apples a day, for example, could save you over £10 a month.
Private medical insurance: News update: August 2008