Being healthy could boost your bank balance

Being healthy could boost your bank balance
19 April 2011

EVER thought how much extra cash you would have if you stubbed out cigarettes and cut back on alcohol, not to mention how much healthier you'd feel?

Smoking and drinking is often a social thing for expats in parts of the Arab world. The sun's out, the waves are breaking on the shore, why not grab a margarita and a Cuban?

But it's not just the cost of these items that is leaving you out-of-pocket: they may also affect your medical insurance premiums. cashy investigates…

Insurance premiums

A non-smoker will statistically live a healthier – and longer – life than a smoker. Insurance companies know this.

Although smoking and drinking are not the sole considerations for insurance premium pricing, they will definitely bump up your monthly costs. 

Cost of tobacco and alcohol

Not only do smokers and drinkers pay more for health insurance, they also have to fork out for their guilty pleasures.

Tobacco, while far cheaper in the Arab world compared with much of Europe and the US, is still an expense that most people could do without. If you smoked a 20-pack per day, you'd spend around AED 3,650 ($994) per year, based on an average pack cost of AED 10 ($2.70).

As for alcohol, it's not cheap in the UAE. Bars and clubs here charge extortionate prices. A bottle of beer costs around AED 35 ($9.50), and that’s if you’re lucky. Calculating the average expenditure on alcohol isn’t possible: it clearly depends on how much you drink. However, this is one cost that will soon mount up.

Healthy body, healthy mind

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Fruit, vegetables, fish and meat are all reasonably priced in the UAE, especially when you consider that 85% of food products here are imported.

Staying at home and cooking healthy meals, rather than eating out, will seriously help your bank balance. You could save around 50% of what you would spend if you ate the same meal at a restaurant.

Joining a gym will also boost your fitness levels. This clearly costs money, but being fit and healthy is known to increase your focus, attention span and release endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone. All of these will increase your performance at work – so if your work is commission-based you could be onto a winner.

Or for the free option, why not just running along the beach?

Reap the rewards

cashy isn't your doctor, your therapist or your lecturer. It's up to you what you do, but if you’re wondering what you could do with money you've saved from a healthier lifestyle, we have a couple of suggestions.

Why not go on holiday? The UAE is a perfect base to go anywhere in the world. It's well placed for most flight routes and is one of the main countries for transfers.

Or why not take up a water sport? Watersports are a great way to make friends, pick up a new hobby and take advantage of what the UAE has to offer.

Or – the most sensible options – save the money for your retirement or just a rainy day. Go on, get healthy!

Pic credit: photostock/

Have you recently become healthier? Has your bank balance noticed it? Tell cashy...


  • Colin

    Being healthy is certainly a good way to improve our bank balances and help us make informed choices. Sadly reports suggest that several Gulf states are in the top 10 countries globally for obesity and a new study indicates this is connected to laziness and lack of exercise. The report has also warned that a lack of exercise is causing as many deaths as smoking!

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