I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #BlueEssentials campaign, sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
I’m not very good at gardening. Maybe if I was, that money tree I planted in the backyard would have grown by now. Ok yes, I’m being a little bit silly but saving money (especially at the end of the year!) and being healthy don’t always go together. I also don’t think I’m the healthiest person on the planet. My budget doesn’t allow for purchases of lush organic produce and honestly it seems silly to throw those expensive fruits and veggies into the trash when my kids don’t eat them after begging for them while we’re shopping. Instead, I want to share a few simple ways to make some healthier choices without breaking the bank or completely changing your lifestyle.
Yes, I’m going to start with the most simple and obvious tip for you. The saving money part of this would be using your refillable water bottle throughout the day. I try to do that as much as I can but I also keep store bought water bottles in my car just in case I forget mine so I’m not tempted to zip through the drive through and get a soda (and if you’re already sitting in the drive through you might as well get food too...see how this is a better choice?).
Check Your Health Insurance
There’s a common misconception that health insurance can be expensive. I get it. There’s a monthly premium you’re paying on top of copays and deductibles. It can be very confusing, and I’ve had so many people tell me they’ll just go without because it is easier. I’m going to ask you to reconsider that y’all. Not having health insurance can be even more expensive and is a serious risk to your family’s financial well-being.
My kids are daredevils. They play sports. They try to do things they probably shouldn’t be doing. Chances are good that something’s going to happen to at least one of them during the year and we’ll need to go to the doctor or urgent care with them (please don’t jinx me by saying the emergency room...).
If you live in South Carolina and need an affordable health insurance option, be sure to check out BlueEssentials℠ plans from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina during open enrollment from November 1 - December 15, 2018. BlueCross makes the information easy to understand. My family’s has had BlueCross coverage for at least 10 years. For me, it brings peace of mind knowing that we’ve got the coverage if it’s needed and I don’t have to hesitate if my kids need to be seen by a doctor.
Go Play with the Kids
Y’all I need those five minutes of quiet time as much as the next person. When I tell the kids to go play outside for a few minutes, I need those moments where they’re all getting along to recharge and make it through the rest of the day. But what helps me recharge even more is getting out there and shooting hoops or playing tag. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon or hours and hours but being active is good for you and is a great example for your kids. Grab some sidewalk chalk or a simple ball to keep in the garage to play without going outside. You don’t have to have a million different options or fancy stuff. Let your kids use those imaginations of theirs.
Plus, BlueCross promotes a healthy lifestyle by offering various value adds on things like fitness trackers, weight management systems, and gym memberships through Blue365®.
Pack Your Lunch
Make sure you’ve got some healthy choices in the fridge and pantry. Those single serve bags of chips are great but they can also be pricey. Grab a box of snack size zip top bags and make your own single serve bags. And it doesn’t have to be just chips. Set yourself up a little lunch and snack center with a little prep on the weekend to be ready for the week. That way when you’re exhausted and want to fall into bed at night or hit the snooze one more time in the morning, it’ll all be done and ready for you. As for drinks, see if you can sneak in milk boxes or healthier juice box options for them. I’ve found that this is an easier place for me to make changes. They’re still getting juice but since they don’t really pay attention to the package or anything, they don’t realize it’s 100% fruit juice or better for them.
Stay on Top of Your Health
This kind of goes along with making sure your family has health insurance. Once you sign-up for BlueCross - use it! Make sure that you’re getting your annual wellness exam and flu shots to make sure everything’s on track.
Plus, BlueCross has a new program called Blue Rewards℠, where members earn up to $150 every year for completing activities that improve their health, like annual flu shots, and annual wellness exams. Reward dollars can be used by BlueEssentials℠ members towards copays, deductibles, and coinsurance based on covered medical services.
Catching something early could save you a lot of money in the long run. Having health insurance makes it a little less scary and a little easier to call the doctor when something’s up instead of self-diagnosing your symptoms.
It also means simple things like remembering to put on sunscreen before you head out, putting lotion on your dry skin to keep it from cracking, or using hand sanitizer to help keep germs at bay. With BlueCross, you can reach out to them as well when you’ve got questions or concerns. They’re local and always available and can be a valuable source of information for you. BlueCross has retail centers in Columbia, Greenville and Mount Pleasant and mobile retail units that travel throughout the state.
Take Time for You
You can’t fill your family’s buckets if yours is empty. And yes, I know - there’s no time to take care of you because little people are needing attention all. day. long. Promise me - I totally get that and used to feel the exact same way (and still do most of the time honestly). Here’s what I’ve learned: if I don’t choose to take care of me, my body’s going to shut down and make me take care of me. That’s never a good option so be proactive and make some time for yourself. It could be as simple as sitting down to read a book (and you’re being a great example for your kids by sitting down and reading). And heck no - I’m not judging you if you’ve got to sit on your bathroom floor with the door locked to mindlessly scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes to get a break. It’s ok. Start showing your family that this time is important to you so they know it’s part of your family’s routine and schedule because it *is* important.
Cut Down Screen Time
I know. I know. I just told you to lock yourself in the bathroom and scroll through Facebook. We all need that break. But I want my kids to remember the fun we had together and to know how to carry a conversation and make eye contact so I try to limit how long they’re on their phones or watching tv or whatever. Family game nights are a great way to spend time together without a ton of effort and hopefully not a ton of pushback from the rest of your family.
All of these tips might seem obvious, but they don’t always become part of our routine because we sometimes overlook the most obvious things. Schedules get busy. We’re tired at the end of a long day or week. I also fall into the “I’ve already tried that” trap. Why should I do that? I’ve already tried it (for like twelve seconds) and it didn’t work so I’m not doing it again. Now that’s just silly. Sure, sometimes things don’t work out the way you’d like them to, but rarely does it hurt to not try again - especially when you’re trying to save money and be a little healthier.
I’m challenging you to make some small changes over the coming months for you and your family’s health. And please, check out BlueEssentials℠ from BlueCross during open enrollment.
Since there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all, BlueCross offers lots of options to make sure you have the right plan for you and your family. You may qualify for a premium as low as $0 per month, based on the amount of subsidy (i.e., financial assistance toward your monthly premium) you're eligible for.
If your annual income is below the amounts shown here, you will likely qualify for a subsidy.
Open enrollment is happening now, Nov. 1-Dec. 15, 2018. To learn more about BlueEssentials℠ from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina,
- Visit www.zerobronzeplans.com
- Call 833-255-7712
- Visit a retail center in Columbia, Greenville or Mount Pleasant. Or check out the mobile retail unit.