let’s start with a quick story: back when we first got serious about saving money (back then to buy our first place), we learned about couponing as a way to save money on groceries. not the clip-a-coupon-here-and-there style, but the get-several-coupon-books-each-week-and-buy-only-items-we-could-get-both-on-sale-and-with-a-coupon approach. we never got to extreme couponing levels, but we knew which stores doubled coupons, and we shopped at multiple stores each week to get the best deals. did we save money? yes, we saved quite a lot. and were we healthy? not even close. most of the food that you can buy with coupons is the absolute worst for you, the most processed, with the most unpronounceable ingredients.
this is not a post about couponing. the coupon story illustrates a big example from our lives of what can happen when you get swept up in something that excites you or scares you. in our case, we were living in a big, expensive city, and we felt both scared that we’d never be able to buy a home without taking extreme measures, and excited that we’d found a way (coupons) to accelerate our progress toward our goal. and what we were willing to toss aside in the equation? our health. (and perhaps some dignity and sanity.)
the coupon phase lasted less than a year, both because we realized how bad we felt eating mostly processed foods, and because it was just too much work. the time we spent finding the best deals became its own drain on our life force, and the whole process became its own source of stress.
if there’s one thing we believe, it’s this: life is too short to deal with unnecessary stress.
so we ditched the coupons, and even ditched the stores where we had been shopping with the coupons. we decided it was worth spending a little more to feel good, and to protect our long-term health. and now our grocery budget is quite a bit more than it was in those couponing days (though our last post explains how we save loads of money now).
your health is the single most important thing you have. without it, you can’t enjoy anything you work for in your life, or not for long, at least. and to us, that’s become our very highest priority, so that we can enjoy our financial independence for a long, long time. that means spending a little more, and sometimes cutting back elsewhere. we’re talking here about groceries, but you could make the same argument about a gym membership or athletic gear — both of which are worthwhile expenses if they keep you active — or preventive health care.
we see bloggers across the web talking about the importance of their portfolio, and the sacrifices they are willing to make to help it grow. or we see adventure bloggers writing about how they are willing to eat ramen noodles every day to afford their world travels. not often enough do we see people talking about the importance of health, and how fundamental it is to everything we want to do and see in our lives.
let’s all decide to change that. let’s think of our health as its own portfolio that’s just as important to invest in as that S&P index fund. a portfolio that’s just as important — or more so! — as your financial portfolio. an adventure that’s just as exciting as any trip. who’s with us?