Are We Being Punished Financially for having a Desire to Be Healthy?

By MAYS Latest Reply 2012-03-19 04:03:27 -0500
Started 2011-10-19 10:12:24 -0500

Has anyone noticed that the more you attempt to live a much healthier lifestyle, the more you are pushed, and punished financially?

If you want to eat healthier, the price of the food is higher, especially if it is given a fancy tag such as; “Diabetic, Organic, Low Fat, or Fat Free.”

Healthcare, insurance, treatments, medications and supplies cost more and more each month.

Health club membership’s fees seem to be related to monthly rental fees, or mortgage payments!

Where, and when does it end?

Chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, don’t make “cost of living” adjustments to account for inflation.

We are constantly being bombarded with information concerning what we should do, and must do, to help ourselves to become healthier individuals, but at what cost, and (realistically) how?

What are you doing, or what advice do you have to offer others to help offset the current economic fiasco?


71 replies

JSJB 2012-03-09 04:11:59 -0600 Report

Yesterday I sat next to a lady who was diabetic for years. When we got to talking about testing, I told her I only did it once a day. She said she could only do it once a week because of the cost of supplies. I said in a previous post that I was lucky because of my medical coverage. It is the people without or with hardly any coverage that have to suffer. Maybe I am going to say this wrong but " Don't these drug companies realize that if it wasn't for us (people with problems) that use their products, they would be out of business. "

jayabee52 2012-03-09 10:05:34 -0600 Report

Howdy JSJB, i don't want to seem like an apologist for BIG Pharma, and I have my own issues with them, but to answer your question, I think they DO "get it". Otherwise there would not be all the help programs for those who have no resources to pay for insurance or for the medication. Yes they have to jump through "hoops" to get help with their meds, but that is to cut down on the claims of those who want to get their meds free, yet have the means to pay for them.

JSJB 2012-03-10 15:29:12 -0600 Report

I agree James but there is no free in the Land of the Free. Unless your illegal.
I do not want to sound political but that is what it is. I worked one job for over 30 years and still have to pay and I am still working. Who's getting the free health care??

jayabee52 2012-03-11 10:10:20 -0500 Report

I tend to agree with you JSJB! But saying that I think I'd better keep the rest of my opinions to myself ;-X

robertoj 2012-03-09 01:21:04 -0600 Report

With the healthcare system geared to successful profits for corporate hospitals, big pharma and the insurance industry it is illogical to subject the citizens of the US to such a viscous system. Healthcare should be universal and focused on prevention, education, research and concern over good health for all. Profits are vulgar if they mean suffering and death.

AuntieBear 2011-12-30 03:12:09 -0600 Report

Bargain shopping is a must. When I go grocery shopping, I use a notepad and pencil to make sure I keep track of each thing I put in my cart and keep a running tally on what I have spent. I do not buy things like rice-a-roni, sloppy joe sauce etc unless the sale price is really good. I buy bigger packages of meat and divide it into meal sized portions. Stuff the portions into generic ziplocs and freeze them. Then I can have just enough thawed for dinner and do not have to cook too much or waste any leftovers. I have learned to cook whole grain rice and different kinds of beans (pinto and navy mostly) because they come in almost every monthly goody box the food bank gives me. I have learned that since I do not like canned veggies it is a waste of money to buy them so I focus on buying fresh or frozen. I found that if I make my own pasta sauce, I can make it for cheaper than I can buy a jar and I do a better job with portion control and I can control the level of spicey flavour. This is what I have to do to eat reasonably healthy, so this is what I do.

JSJB 2012-03-10 15:08:31 -0600 Report

What has this got to do with drug companies who put the cost out of reach for some people even with extra financial help.

AuntieBear 2012-03-19 04:03:27 -0500 Report

Bargain shopping saves me money so that I can afford the cost of the meds. Even with the copays, meds and supplies cost add up.

Caroltoo 2011-12-29 14:59:44 -0600 Report

I don't feel like I am being punished by wanting to be healthier, but I do feel it is a tremendous challenge to find the most effective products, at the most reasonable prices, and do this on a retirement budget while living in the most expensive state in the U.S! For me, it is all about choices.

I shop in bulk when I can. Thankfully, I do have a garage in which I've installed shelving I can use to store large paper product purchases (toilet paper, tissues, cat food/litter, etc) as well as excess bottles of various foods acquired "on sale". I am careful to rotate the products and remain conscious of maturation and pull dates. I don't use much that is in cans because of the possibility of lead seepage.

I also have a small freezer and extra energy conserving refrigerator in the garage, so I can buy ahead when I find lower prices and cook/preserve/freeze products. I have 3 turkeys in the freezer right now purchased at rock bottom price at before Thanksgiving prices/giveaways (total cost $6 for the 3). This provides about 50 pounds of turkey for $6. Can't beat that!

My food sources are almost exclusively fresh organic produce (fruit and vegetables), lean range grown meat, chicken, and turkey. I am gluten intolerant, so have learned to use quinoa and some of the lesser know grains in place of those good old U.S. staples of wheat, barley, rye, and oats. This was a challenge until I learned how to do it, but is becoming easier by the day. I use tofu, mushrooms, and whey protein to increse the protein while decreasing the fat and cost.

My lanai (porch to you non-Hawaiians) is also used to raise tomatoes (have 10 ripening on the bush as I speak, despite it being December) and herbs. I am planting squash for this coming year as well as nurturing my existing plants.

I do shop and garden organically because I am sensitized to chemicals…probably because of years of living in the chemical wasteland that was Los Angeles in the 60's and 70's. For me, I'd rather spend a few dollars more on food now, and a few dollars less on health care later. It's a choice of where to put my dollars.

My diabetes has responded well to this approach and my doctor's visit yesterday included the fact that now, using NO medications, I am no longer considered "diabetic." I am now considered "at increased risk for developing diabetes". This is wonderfully encouraging for me since my past includes a number of years on oral medications for full blown D which was diagnosed in 2003.

Bamberg 2012-02-15 00:26:25 -0600 Report

I don't know if it is nation wide but in Massachusetts Planet Fitness is only 10 bucks a month.

AuntieBear 2012-02-16 02:21:08 -0600 Report

My problem with going to a gym, is the nearest gym is 25 miles away and I have no dependable transportation. If I had the transport, I would be there as much as I could manage.

Cocoa@40 2011-12-29 14:05:20 -0600 Report

I have just decided to do my best on eating as healthy as possible. I read labels and try to make a just decision on if what I wanting to purchase going to improve my health in the long run.

Wellness Niagara
Wellness Niagara 2011-10-25 21:44:29 -0500 Report

It's very sad… fruits & vegetables are produced "ready to eat" by mother nature herself yet cost so much more than products requiring research, chemicals, production lines, CEO's and shareholders… and it's the latter that are killing us. We're eating ourselves to death due to this very point.

JDCA2025 2011-10-25 20:36:34 -0500 Report

Perhaps not punished, but let's be honest: If you live in America, you still live in a country where great health is considered a priviledge, not a right. Eating healthy is generally more expensive, gym memberships are going up, the sicker you are the more money you owe, and the rich can survive ailments that would end most normal people.

*Inhales Deeply

All that said, things are changing for the better, and this thread has generated a ton of ingenious ways to save money while trying to keep yourself a little bit fitter. Gardens are a great idea, and definitely cook in bulk and save the rest for later meals. Cuts down on expenses, and quite frankly, not having to cook as much is always a pleasure.

JSJB 2012-03-10 15:14:32 -0600 Report

I agree with you on saving money to eat healty but what about getting medical and pharmacutical cost down. Some people do not have insurance because they can not afford that so what do they do????

Gwen Morten
Gwen Morten 2011-10-25 12:24:43 -0500 Report

I love all the comments! I got to learn how to grow my own veggies too! I can't even grow flowers but I must learn.

dietcherry 2011-10-25 01:11:03 -0500 Report

My suggestions would be to grow a garden all year long; take a shopping list with you every time; always shop with coupons; make your meals from scratch; dont eat out!; buy foods with a long shelf life in bulk; prepare healthy meals that dont cost much: soup, beans, eggs, oatmeal, vegetarian dishes (meat is expensive-mushrooms and tofu are a great stand-in), make your own almond milk, and cook more than you need at once to save on electricity and to freeze the leftovers. Good luck everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GabbyPA 2011-10-25 10:56:21 -0500 Report

Yep I agree 100%. In fact, I was just out today planting potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips and radishes. Tomorrow I start on broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and herbs. And on Thursday I start squash, pumpkin, peas and maybe some beans.

I have not gotten to the vegetarian stage. I keep trying. But we have cut out almost all beef and reduced pork to wild boar. (yum! My lawn guy hunts and makes his own sausage) But we pretty much stick to chicken and fish.

JSJB 2012-03-10 16:02:45 -0600 Report

I have been growing veggies for over 20 years and over that time my wife has be jarring some and freezing others. Oh, my son and me are widening the veggie garden this year. I planted grape, raspberries and fruit trees to cut costs. My wife is a coupon shopper which helps out and now with gas going up we cut down on trips.

dietcherry 2011-10-25 11:27:40 -0500 Report

Gabby thats wonderful that you are commited to a year-round garden! I admit Ive only ever grown summer vegetables :(
Im not a vegetarian either-I just hate the price of meat! I eat mainly chicken and seafood too but boy have the prices skyrocketed! I have started using beef, pork, and chicken bouillon to give dishes the flavor of meat without the price tag :)

GabbyPA 2011-10-26 14:40:22 -0500 Report

This is my first fall garden. I am excited to see how it goes. We put in Broccoli, red cabbage, brussels sprouts and I found some wonderful peppermint. We also started in trays peppers, stevia, basil, green cabbage and some others. It gets cool here in the winter, but I think with some TLC, the plants will thrive until we get into January.

JSJB 2012-03-10 16:05:05 -0600 Report

I tried growing from seeds but you have to start early to get them sturdy enough for planting season which is in May for me. My wife is thinking of a small greenhouse. Maybe???

GabbyPA 2012-03-11 10:07:45 -0500 Report

Yeah, not one of mine sprouted. I think I will purchase some more plants this year and maybe keep them potted so I can control them a little more.

JSJB 2012-03-12 03:54:34 -0500 Report

My wife suggested the same thing. We have enough pots in the shed so I will put my peppers in the pots and give me more room for the cucumbers, tomatoes and cantalopes. I should have a good crop of blue berries and grapes this year they already are budding just have to keep the critters and birds away. Good luck with you garden.

GabbyPA 2012-03-12 09:15:38 -0500 Report

Yep, the squirrels are digging up ours looking for their buried nuts. I think I am going to use some rat traps for them. They are worse than any other critter, even the caterpillars.

sheriden 2011-10-24 01:48:10 -0500 Report

My food budget is only 40.00 to 80.00 a month as I only get 674.00 a month and a 25.00 dollar extra plus 40.00 in food stamps. It depends on what my bills are if I can add another 40.00 So I do food banks and the best I can with what I have. I eat allot of homemade soup with or with out meat. I make enough for days at a time. Lot's of vegies in it not starch veg. I get bread and try and make it whole grain peanut butter is good prot, plus eggs. I try and get crackers and oats ect. I have a very limited diet. But I try and stay healthy. I do not know why people who need to watch their diet for health reasons are not afforded more FS. But you just have to do what you can. I have gained weight since my budget has gone so low. But it is what it is and I just work with what I have and spend time with the Lord knowing he knows what is up and will help me through it all. Blessings to you and yours.

buffy360 2011-10-25 00:35:11 -0500 Report

You must live in Oregon. When I qualified in CA I got much more. Wonder how they came up with dollar amount. Can't afford new car or it's insurance, entertainment is tv, no traveling. Getting groceries is being social. I know what you mean. I really must learn how to make soups. I'm a microwave cook. Be good.

RAYT721 2011-10-22 08:49:31 -0500 Report

My main tips on consumer food shopping relate to planning and pre-planning. My wife and I keep (and stick to) a weekly food budget with a few simple things that we adhere to: We have an ongoing list of favorite recipes. We find sale fliers each week, go through coupons, consider recipes with fewer ingredients, read nutritional information and labels, consider what can be shared or frozen, and shop at various places while out and about. Over the summer we had reduced our food budget having joined a community garden in which we grew (and canned) tomatoes and other produce. If it's not on our list it doesn't go in our cart unless it's an unadvertised sale and something we will use in our stockpile of staples. It also helps to shop with cash only so things do not end up in the cart on impulse, vowing to pay later.

JSJB 2012-03-10 16:09:11 -0600 Report

I agree with you Ray. It does require a lot of thinking and searching to save money.

GabbyPA 2011-10-22 09:34:31 -0500 Report

Cash is the best budget. I shop that way now and it helps keep my basket full of the things we need, not always what we want. I do shop at Sams to stock up, though our hurricane season is coming to an end. But shopping the perimeter is better for me and I do does seem like a conspiracy to keep us unhealthy. Cheap food is bad for you in general. It should be the other way around. That is why I am such an advocate of growing your own food where you can.

buffy360 2011-10-25 00:40:36 -0500 Report

I've grown tomatoes and zucchini… Next year I'll have to pay for water usage even though I live in a mobile home! There goes my garden. Makes me mad these people own property for investment. I don't have investments living on SSI. They get half my income now they want more!

JSJB 2012-03-10 16:13:20 -0600 Report

Zucchini oh how I miss my wife's zucchini bread. She use to make almose 100 loaves of the stuff and freeze what we would need and I would give the rest away just like my veggies which I sometimes overplant. My wife says that I overplant just to give away. It feels good when you see a smile on the faces of the people I give it to.

GabbyPA 2011-10-25 10:59:15 -0500 Report

Watering is not that much in a garden and if you do it in containers you can keep it down even more. You can even use some "gray" water for your plants, such as dish water (if it doesn't have a lot of grease in it) and bath water. Recycle it, and use it twice. You might be surprised. You can also put a rain catcher out in your yard and capture garden water that way. Don't give up on your garden, it is a great source of pride and health.

JSJB 2012-03-10 16:15:08 -0600 Report

I have a well so no water bill but we purchased a couple of rain barrels to water the garden in dry weather cuts down running the pump which saves on electricity

MAYS 2011-10-22 09:20:36 -0500 Report

"If it's not on our list it doesn't go in our cart unless it's an unadvertised sale and something we will use in our stockpile of staples."

I like that statement!

kdroberts 2011-10-19 22:25:58 -0500 Report

A prime reason why things labelled “Diabetic, Organic, Low Fat, or Fat Free" should be looked at with extreme skepticism because by and large they are marketing terms designed to make money. Most things labelled low fat or fat free are likely to be engineered versions of something that is worse for you than the original, most things labeled diabetic or diabetic friendly are anything but and usually most local farmers run organic or close to organic farms but can't afford the organic certification. Buy locally produced and natural and you will generally pay the same or less than the national brands and get organic or close to it quality products.

There is a CSA in my area where you can get a weeks worth of locally produced fruit and vegetables plus things like pasta, meat and dairy for a meal for 3-4 people that costs $25 a week. $25 for all the locally produced fruit and veg 3-4 people will need in a week plus meat and/or cheese and/or pasta for a meal or two is not a lot of money overall.

GabbyPA 2011-10-22 10:14:42 -0500 Report

Just as a note to this. The FDA (I think it is them) is contemplating requiring foods to list on the front in big words the good and bad of eating their product. I think that is a scam to get us to get more lazy about reading the labels. We have to read those, as there are so many loop holes to the "bold Print" labels on the front. We have to read and understand what we are reading.

MAYS 2011-10-21 09:34:06 -0500 Report

Thanks for commenting.
I also agree with you concerning CSA's, I visit a local farmer's market from time to time and have received some pretty good bargains on produce.
I have to look into locating a CSA in my area.
Once again, "thanks."

Type1Lou 2011-10-19 13:36:56 -0500 Report

Oh yes! I particularly get incensed when insurers make seemingly arbitrary and irresponsible decisions in changing doctor's orders. I recently took on Medco (See discussion titled "Medco Makes My Blood Boil") and got them to reverse a reduction in the prescribed insulin I needed. This required escalating my initial complaint and also alerting Medco's CEO of the fiasco. They can also be very penny-wise and pound-foolish in filling RX's for test strips. One way to get around that is to ask your doctor to write the RX showing the maximum number of tests you might need per day. The insurers don't seem to get the idea that if we diabetics better manage our disease, there will be fewer complications and medical expenses in the future. It becomes a win-win for everyone. I don't belong to a health club but have begun to walk 2 to 3 miles at least 4 times a week with a friend. This doesn't cost me anything but effort and results in significantly better BG control.

MAYS 2011-10-19 15:55:59 -0500 Report

Very well stated!
And I agree about the test strips, and the managing of our diabetes.
Everyone seems to know what's best for us "diabetics" yet they are not diabetic!

JSJB 2012-03-10 15:21:50 -0600 Report

I agree with that but what about the high cost of supplies?? 50 bayer test strips cost 67.00 dollars and if it wasn't for my insurance they payed half of that.

Type1Lou 2012-03-10 17:33:47 -0600 Report

Since going on the pump, I test 7 to 10 times daily. It was one of the most expensive items in handling my diabetes. I got the doctor to write the RX stating I needed to test 7 times a day (should have made it higher in retrospect). Luckily, I have insurance but the strips still cost me around $130 for 90 days. Since going on the pump last August and starting a new year, I haven't yet satisfied my insurance deductible so the 3 month supply of pump infusion sets and reservoirs are costing me around $350. After I satisfy my deductible, the 3 month cost for those supplies should be around $100. I'm still a few years away from Medicare and who knows what will happen then! I am so happy to have insurance.